From the Mouths of Editors Tips

Read these 11 From the Mouths of Editors Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Writer tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Should I make parts of my manuscript in different fonts?

Type Face/Fonts

Whenever possible, use standard type face. Do not italicize words, put them in bold, simulate handwriting, or submit a children's piece in child-like font.

Make your submissions as easy to read as possible. If something is to be in a different font, underline it rather than putting it into that font in the manuscript. Never put full words in capital letters, unless the publication recommends it.

Can I wait and submit on the last day ?

Don't Wait until the Last Minute

Editors and contest judges have deadlines to work under. If you want your work read carefully, and with timely consideration, submit early. Most people wait to submit manuscripts until the last possible moment. This gives the author more time for rewrites. However, for editors this means they need to look over many articles or stories quickly, making decisions based on quick reads or summaries.

Give yourself a better chance. Submit when editors are not hassled and harried. Submit early.

Should I submit at the end of the year?

Submitting at the end of the year

In some publishing companies, before the holidays is the time when they clear out their desks, reading and sending back manuscripts. The new year is the time to make new plans and get organized for the upcoming year.

What do I need to do when I submit?

Treat this as a Business

Whether submitting in paper or with e-mail, treat submissions professionally. Spellcheck your work, include a cover letter, keep it short and simple, and read over what you have written. Read guidelines and follow them to a T. They are not included so that you can ignore them. They help to make the submission process easier for editors, and if you follow the rules, easier to be accepted.

What do I need to write in a query/cover letter?

What are you submitting to?

Many editors of e-zines write for several publications. If you are submitting to an e-zine, be specific in the query letter. Tell her/him what e-zine you are submitting to. Also be sure to include some tidbit about what you think of their work. Independent editors are proud of their e-zines and love to hear what readers like in them as well.

Why do I need to read what they´ve already published?

Read the Publications First

Before submitting to an editor, be it traditional publishing or on the web, read what they've published. Nothing is more frustrating than to publish only science books and to have submissions about talking pigs that lose their eggs at the market. E-zines are even more specific, with science fantasy being completely separated from horror and writer's e-zines completely different from literary magazines. Do your homework before submitting anything.

Do I need to send a bio, even if I haven´t been accepted yet?

Remember the Bio

When submitting an article, poem or fiction to an e-zine, don't forget to include a bio. The deadlines for e-zines are very quick, and it takes time to track down each submitting writer to find their information. Be sure it is up to date. Sending a bio at the end of every submission (even if you've used bios before for that magazine) helps to save the editors time and effort.

Do I need to send an SASE?


Most editors receive many, many submissions each month. They cannot afford to mail back rejections to everyone who has submitted to them. Do yourselves and the editors a favor. Submit a SASE, Self-Addressed-Stamped-Envelope whenever submitting through regular mail.

And when submitting through e-mail, be sure that the e-mail you are using will not bounce. Nothing is more irritating than to want to publish an article, and to have an e-mail bounce back.

Do I need to double space my work?

Double Space for room to read

Nothing says that you are a novice more than submitting a manuscript that is not double spaced. Single spaced manuscripts are difficult to read. Editors may not even try to read them, as they did not follow this basic submission rule.

Be sure your manuscript is as easy to read as possible. Double space, leaving a wide margin around all the edges. This leaves room for your eye as well as room for comments should the editor wish to publish your piece.

What do I do when it seems that everything has already been written?

Looking for Details

"In practical nonfiction, there are almost no subjects on which books haven't been written. So I look for writers who can provide freshness in detail or perspective to subjects of common interest."
David Sobel, Senior Editor, Owl Books/Henry Holt.@ Co.

What do I need to check on my manuscripts?

Manuscript Submissions

Do not staple pages together. Editors want to look through pages quickly without dealing with staples and locked in edges. If necessary, put a paper clip over one corner, but never a binder clip.

Be sure your first page includes all your contact information. Editors need to know your name, address, e-mail address and phone number.

Put page numbers on all your manuscript pages. Next to the numbers, put your last name and a brief form of the title. You don't want to lose a sale because the editor dropped your papers and couldn't get them back in the right order to read them.

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Jerry Mayo