Bookaholic asked last week, "How do you approach a publisher to print your story? Before sending your stories (like what you mentioned), do you send a manuscript first? Next question, what exactly is a 'manuscript'? What should it include?"
I'll answer the first two questions today, and the other two next week.
First, publishers in the UK or USA usually only deal with agents. If you want to talk to one of the few who do lower themselves to talk to scrubby authors, the best thing is to hit the Net.
Check the publisher's web pages and look for a tab that says Contact, Submissions, Manuscripts, Authors or similar to find a suitable email or postal address.
At this place you will also find information on how they want you to send in your manuscript. Some want the whole thing via email, some want the first three chapters by snail mail, some want a mere outline first. Just follow instructions.
NOTE: These people are busy! If you don't submit your work just as they like it, they'll delete it without even looking at it. There are millions of wanna-be writers, and a limited amount of publishers, so they hold the whip hand. If you want to play, you have to follow their rules.
Singapore's Book Council is useful because it has a list of local publishers, many of whom also work in Malaysia.
If there is no information, or no web site, for the people you want to talk to, you'll need to hit the books.
In Malaysia you can check the Media Planning Guide Malaysia from Perception Media. It sells at RM60 in big bookshops.
For international listings, you'll have to buy something like Writer's Market (from the US) or the Writer's Handbook (from the UK). These are available in big bookshops and from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I think I paid about RM200 for each.
There are other titles you might want to check out, especially for China and other markets but as I haven't used these, I can't comment.
Now, agents often don't bother to respond but in my experience publishers always do. If you approach a publisher abroad, you should hear back within 6 to 8 months. With local publishers you can expect an answer in 2 or 3 months tops.
Next week: top tips for top proposals and manuscripts.