How To Submit Written Work To An Editor

Guest post by Janice Gillgren

If you have written an article or story for a magazine, be sure it is prepared professionally so it stands the best possible chance of acceptance.

It is tempting, in these days of easy communication across the world's internet networks, to become slack and send your work any old way. However, laziness will reflect poorly on you; and damage your credibility.

First of all, do some research. Find out in what form the editor likes to receive submissions, digitally, or by conventional post. Don't just assume that, because most of the world is going digital, all editors want to follow suit. There's no point telling them they should 'get with it'; it is their choice.

There are a few ways to find this out: (1) on the publication's webpage (if they have one), on their 'writer's guidelines' page (again, if the publication issues these), (2) sending for guidelines by post' or (3) phoning the publication and asking them directly.

If the editor does want them sent electronically, you should then check to see if your submission should be sent as an attachment, or copied onto an e-mail. Attachments are easier for editors to write from, but they have also been more prone to internet viruses.

There are still editors (mainly of the smaller publications) who like to receive hard copy by post. If so, take note of these requirements:

· Type double spaced on A4 white paper.

· Text should be on one side only

· Use black ink and a plain font.

· Use normal weight photocopy paper (80gms)

· Make sure you include an SASE for their reply to you.

· If you have only a few pages they can be neatly folded, once only. Otherwise, use an A4 envelope.

Regardless of whether or not you are sending your writing electronically or by snail-mail, however, there are some things that are the same.

The usual format includes:

· Lines should be double-spaced

· Text should be unjustified; i.e. ragged-edged on the right.

· There should be at least 25mm of margin on the left, head (top) and foot (bottom) of each page, which allows for editor's comments if or when it's printed.

· Pages should be numbered consecutively (although the 'headers' and 'footers' disappear on the e-mail format)

· Copying and pasting your ms onto the body of the e-m will change some formatting, so check it and reformat if necessary before sending.

· Each page should also have your name, and title (in brief, if you wish), and chapter if relevant, preferably as a 'header'.

· The final page should have: 'the end' or 'copy ends' at the bottom.

· Quotations should be indented, italicised, in smaller point size, or identified as such in some consistent manner.

· Be consistent with use of double and single speech marks.

· Be consistent with such things as bibliographic references.

· Pins or staples should not be used to hold pages together.

· The whole ms should arrive on the editor's desk at the same time - not in sections.

· If you are sending photos, make sure they are named clearly, with captions included for each one. (I write on a sticker, and then place it on the back of the photo, to avoid damaging the photo). Note clearly on a separate page how many photos you have and the name of each one.

If you are sending your item by e-mail; draft and complete it on a Word (or similar) document first, making sure it is properly formatted, then copy from it.

Whatever you do, always make sure you save and back-up your work! This is best in both printed and electronic versions, regardless of whether you send your article or story by post or internet.

Do you need help to write better? Do you want some inspiration to put your thoughts into words? Could you do with some encouragement to develop your writing skills?

Click here to visit by Janice Gillgren

The blog on this site offers inspiration, encouragement and useful tips to writers at all levels.

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Anonymous said...

Great information. Bookmarking this information for future use.

Karen Cioffi said...

Susanne, it really is a detailed and informative article on submitting a manuscript. The Janice did a great job.

Thanks for stopping by!