Edward Greaves (temporus) wrote,
Edward Greaves

Advice from the slushpile

Folks, there's nothing wrong with using software features such as Track Changes in Microsoft Word when you are writing the manuscript.   However, when it comes time to submit to a magazine or book publisher, if you send in a copy that has all of those markups turned on...it looks bad.  Kind of like showing up for your job interview in a T-shirt and shorts.  

Would I personally reject someone based solely upon an oversight like that?  No. But it starts you off in a hole that you're going to have to climb your way out of to get me to pass that submission on up the chain.  And for heaven's sake, don't make that hole deeper by not adhering to the guidelines which state standard manuscript format. 

My advice?  Please open up your attachments, and look them over carefully before you attach them to that email and send them off.  Look at it this way, would you print out a document, and stick it in an envelope without giving it a once over if you were submitting to a paper only magazine?  No?  Then do the electronic equivalent.  To put it plainly, just because a market accepts electronic submissions does not abrogate your responsibility to make your submission meet the formatting standards set forth by that publication.  If you can't be bothered to check the file before you send it to make sure it's in the right format, and that your actually sending the right version, it says to the receiving editors that you don't care about your work.  That isn't the message you want coming across.   Because there are markets that would reject you out hand for that kind of error.  

This all falls under the part of things that are under your control as a writer.  No, you can't control whether I'll connect with your story or not.  You can't control whether or not I just got a story with a similar theme or idea as yours, and it was so awesome that it makes yours look pale in comparison, and anyway, I sent that on up and Gerard and Hildy loved that one so much they bought it immediately.  But you can control how your words are presented on the page.  You can control whether you want to take the extra time to double and triple check everything you are sending is correct before hitting the send button.  Why make it harder on yourself than you need to?

Tags: editing, slush, space and time
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