We interrupt this post to announce that USA Today is featuring my anthology “For the Love of Christmas” in a blurb in their “Life” Section. Can I hear an “Oh Yeah!” Click here to see it!
Eh-hem — now back to our regularly scheduled program.
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)
So far, we’ve discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.
Last week, we discussed remembering your contact information.
This week, we’re going to dig through the second basics to get your foot in the door… How to identify yourself, and your manuscript.
The Basics #2
Identifiers. To simplify I’m grouping several things under this heading, so bear with me.
Title – you would be amazed how many people neglect to put titles on their manuscripts (coincidentally enough, more than a few of them are the ones who forgot contact information as well).
Name – your pen name or your legal name, whichever one you write under. Editors like to know whose work they are reading and what should appear on a published work (should you be fortunate enough to make a sale.) The problem is that if the contact information is missing and there is no title or author name, the publisher has absolutely no way of cross-referencing to try and determine what story goes with which submission email (assuming they will even try).
Page Numbers – now you might be thinking “But manuscripts are electronic, how can the pages get out of order?” Well first, you can’t assume that whoever receives the manuscript won’t prefer to review a hardcopy. Second, even if they are reviewing something electronically it is easier for them to make notes or track back if there are page numbers to reference.
Running Heads – This is the space at the top of the page (starting with page 2) where you put the story/book title, the page number, and your legal last name. This is so no pages go missing and the editor knows what they are reading.
Author Bio – Optional, but a good thing to include, particularly if you have a few sales under your belt, but only if they are professional sales of note, not a piece of flash fiction you sold to a fanzine. What this tells the editor is that you are already established.
Besides the more practical reasons for not omitting any of the above information, consider that it is just plain sloppy and unprofessional. This isn’t a matter of wanting to impress the editor, it is showing them that you are not an amateur without a clue. Professionalism will do much to smooth over any other short fallings you have, in the editor’s eye.
Next week we’ll talk about FORMAT
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 http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.
Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1