Friday, December 21, 2007

Submitting electronically

Alicia says:
I not only edit fiction, I also teach writing at two colleges. And I have terrible handwriting, so I tell everyone to email me submissions and papers for grading.
A semester spent trying to figure out who went with what paper or submission has inspired me to write this post.

Electronic submission is still a submission. So format your submission appropriately.
There's nothing as frustrating as reading a submission and wanting to ask for a complete manuscript and finding nowhere, nowhere, on the submission anything with the author's name or email address. Yes, I can go search back through my Red Sage Submission folder, but if you're submitting to me, why do you want me to work so hard?

If you sent this by regular mail, all printed out, you'd have a cover page with your name and contact info, not to mention a header with your name and page number, right? You wouldn't expect me to go looking for your envelope to find out your address, would you?
I didn't think so.

So here's how to format an electronic submission (of course, other editors might want it a different way-- ask!):

1. Prepare the manuscript in Word or .rtf just as if you were going to print it out for submission.

2. Make sure the headers on each page proudly proclaim your first and last name-- not your penname, but your legal name. That's the name we'd prepare a contract with, remember. :)

3. Also on the first page of the submission, put your name and email address.

4. Create a coverpage with all the usual information: Title, word count, your name, your address and phone number-- and this is essential-- your email address. If you submitted electronically, I'm going to email you back. Also if you're going to use a penname, put it under your real name, with "Writing as" in front of it: Writing as Petra Peterson. This coverpage should be the first page in the file. Your word processor has a way to start numbering on the first page of text (so no page number on the coverpage). But if you can't figure this out, be assured I've never rejected anyone for having a page number on the coverpage. :)

5. Save the file with your name and the title and the date of submission (no dashes or slashes in the date-- for example, Tiresias All-Night Charlie 121207
. That makes it easier for me to find it on my hard drive.

6. Same thing for the synopsis if you're sending that, only put Synopsis after every mention of the title : Tiresias All-Night Charlie Synopsis 121207

7. Attach these files to the email. The query should be the text of the email. Make it a regular query, with all the info you'd put in a print query.

8. Send!
Just consider what I need to know-- and I do need to get easy access to your name and email address as I read your submission.



Anonymous said...

Hi, Alicia. Your posting about submissions is quite timely for us. It's the 'us' part that I have a question about.

Two of our projects are co-written by three people. We have signed agreements for how to handle the business relationship with agent or publisher. But we've always been a bit concerned that co-authored works are less well received than single author under pseudonym.

What do you think and how should multi-coauthored works be presented in a submission?

Jan [Kirsty, Julie and Justus]

Anonymous said...

My publisher recently went to electronic editing, where they send the Word doc back to me with comments to be accepted or rejected. I recommend making yourself familiar with Track Changes if you're not already.

Love this blog, ladies. I recommended it to all my critique partners.

Ann Macela

Edittorrent said...

JanW, I'd say appoint one person to be the contact with the publisher/editor, and the others stay in the background. No editor actually wants to deal with three writers in one, so make sure the one who queries is the contact all the way through. I'd say do be upfront about the trio arrangement, but also be clear that "I" will be the one you're in contact with, etc. Make it very clear that you will minimize the hassle for the editor. :)

Would work for me, anyway. I'm presuming you already have chosen a single penname?


Anonymous said...

Ann, yeah, the tracking/comment function is very helpful!