Applying to a book festival: submission tips

It can be scary to think of sending your book to a book festival, but it is important to follow a dream where it may lead. There are some things to consider before you put that book into an envelope and send it on its way. These considerations will put you in the best possible position to have your book accepted.

Think of the book festival submission as you would a job interview. You want to ensure everything is on point with your appearance and outfit before you greet your future employer, and that same care should be given to your book. You want to ensure that

  • Your book is professionally bound; not in a folder or binder. Your book should be professionally prepared and printed. (Yes, we have received pages in folders- we need to see the book!)
  • Your book has been professionally edited. Even the best writers have proofreaders and editors to catch their mistakes. Great writing does not replace great editing! Connect to a writing community so you can be sure to have resources for jobs like these at your fingertips.
  • Your graphics on the cover are solid. Show your book to several people to ensure the fonts are readable, the colors don’t clash, and your images aren’t blurry. You also need to be sure to get feedback on your cover and any images you use to ensure that your images “translate” well to others. If there is anything on your book cover that cannot be read that will almost certainly lead to your book not being accepted.

Once your book is ready, pay close attention to the submission requirements. Some book festivals request that authors send in two copies of the featured book. Some festivals will allow you to sell your latest book only, while some will allow you to bring your entire backlist. Make sure you have researched the genres that the festival will accept. You will be frustrated if you send in two copies of your book only to find out the festival doesn’t accept the type of book you wrote.

It will help to think about applying to a book festival in the same way you think about applying for a job. Address every issue possible before you submit your work for review.

Every festival is different. It will not help you to argue with the festival organizers about the guidelines they have carefully put in place. There are so many festivals of so many kinds that your time may be better spent looking for the festivals that are right for you. Know the difference between book festivals and fairs or markets where anyone can pay a fee, set up a table, and sell any item they wish. The latter is not a book festival.

We’ll be offering more suggestions for writers looking to spread the word about their books! Keep following our socials and our website for further updates, announcements, and tips.

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