Your mama was right. First impressions do matter. Here are a few hints that will help you make a good first impression on your editor:
When you send a proposal or manuscript file to your editor, identify yourself and your work in the document name. If Mary Smith’s book was Birds of the South, she might use:
Your proposal can open doors to publication. Consider writing it before you write your book. Put as much effort into editing and proofreading your proposal as you do your manuscript. Dave Fessenden’s upcoming book, Concept to Contract, has an excellent chapter on crafting proposals.
Be familiar with the correct way to format scripture in your manuscript. Scripture that is run-in with the text is punctuated differently from blocked scripture. A style guide, such as The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing, by Leonard Goss, or The Christian Writers Manual of Style, by Robert Hudson, is an essential reference tool not only for scripture formatting, but also for spelling and capitalization issues particular to a Christian manuscript.
(Hints: Most editors want WORD attachments; never paste a full manuscript in your e-mail unless directed to do so. If you must forward a file, remove the “FW:” in the subject line, and certainly remove the name of the original recipient. In the days of snail mail, this would be similar to addressing your submission to one publisher, then scratching through the address and writing a different publisher’s name there.)