Give that stinking publisher what they want, DERNIT! The Basics #1 – Contact Information

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)


Last week, we discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.

This week, we’re going to dig through “the basics” to get your foot in the door, even if you don’t have their requirements right in front of you.

The Basics #1

Contact information. No matter who you are sending your work to or how many times you have sent them work before, you always—let me repeat that—ALWAYS include your full contact information in the upper left hand of the page. (The editor could be your brother, and you should still follow this rule, if nothing else but because it is common courtesy and shows you respect the relationship between hopeful author and potential publisher.)

If you aren’t sure what is considered full contact information, here it goes: legal name, mailing address, email address, and optionally, phone number. I can’t tell you how many times I have received manuscripts without this information. Usually from an author I’ve worked with before, but not always. See, we fall into a trap of informality thanks to the internet. With so many manuscripts being submitted electronically we don’t always consider that the email might become disassociated with the manuscript file, thus leaving the publisher no way to contact the author. Bad enough when what is forthcoming is a rejection. An absolute tragedy when they want to send you an acceptance. Face it…they have to know where to send the contract…or the check!

Next week we’ll talk about the basics #2:  IDENTIFIERS

Be there or be square, or, ummm… rejected?

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of a single-author collection of science fiction stories called A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and Mermaid 13.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DAckley-McPhail). To learn more about her work, visit,, or

Website and/or blog,,



Amazon author page



5 responses to “Give that stinking publisher what they want, DERNIT! The Basics #1 – Contact Information

  1. Pingback: Give that Publisher What They Want, Dernit! Finale | Jennifer M Eaton

  2. Lovin’ this series and looking forward to the next installment. 🙂

  3. Thank you both, I’m glad you found the information useful.


    Danielle Ackley-McPhail

  4. I was talking with a publisher the other day and apparently it’s amazing how many writers forget to put their contact info on their manuscript.
    Great post.

  5. Writers in the Storm thanks you for the blog love for our contributing blogger, Susan Spann. And personally, thanks for introducing me to your site! Good info and links here.
    -Fae Rowen