- Check your work before submitting. Read it out loud, have a friend read it, and then read it once more. This helps find any issues grammatically and stylistically.
- Read any submission page closely before sending your work. Sometimes a page will include something to do that was hard to see the first time.
- Make sure that your piece can be easily transferred to an email and still look alright. This can be done by copying and pasting it into a blank email or basic word processor (rich text is a good test document).
- Run a spell check just to be sure.
- When reading your work look to see if the work has a beginning, middle and end. If you do not have a strong character and all the basic parts of a story it could get tossed out.
- Try to consider who you are sending your work to. If it is to a small publication it may be alright to send stories in one massive file, but to larger publications they may take one look at your first story and reject you before giving you a good chance.
- Look at your first paragraph. Does it catch your eye? Does it get you into the story? With online publishing it is all about this first paragraph. If the first words aren't interesting then they won't catch the eye of an editor and you may get rejected even if your story is amazing.
- Use basic formatting or at the very least an easy formatting to read.
- This means a 12 pt font
- An easy to read font; Courier, Times, and Aerial are all favorites
- with 1'' margins
- tabs (or little intentions at the start of a paragraph).
- Also don't worry about justifying a piece--having a manuscript being left aligned is just fine.
- For online publications (especially for Blogger ran magazines) it is generally good to put a hard return after each section break. That means after a paragraph you press the 'Enter' button twice to leave a space. Some magazines will ask you not to if they care--and just to clarify when submitting a book manuscript you usually don't do this and you just set your line spacing to double spaced.
- When you start writing an email never put the address in the "TO:" line before putting your story into the email. If you accidentally send it off before you put the story into the email you may be cutting yourself short.
- Always check to be sure you have worded everything correctly--this is the first thing an editor will read before your story. So your letter to the editor and bio are actually part of getting accepted.
- Think about voice and your audience. If you are addressing your letter to a paying market it may serve you well to be formal but to some non-paying markets an informal voice may be more or as appropriate.
- If sending multiple works as attachments you may want to consider making a separate file for each work This ensures that the editor doesn't pass over something that you wrote without giving it a shot.
- When you go to write your bio pay attention to who your audience is. What were they looking for and how long.
- Try to keep the bio short without selling yourself short. Try to list previously published works if any, but it may help to list only a few major or recent publications.
- Try to add something personal or special that will make you stand out in one sentence. Saying you have a cat is good, saying you are a mother or father could be great--this is your chance to connect with your audience and editor one-on-one.
- Try to write a new bio for every submission. From the back cover of your first novel to the 50 word blurt on an online magazine--writing a new bio will keep it fresh and you may think of something new to add each time.
Daniel J. "Kiddy" Pool