Q is for Quality Submissions

When submitting to an editor of a magazine or a book publisher, it is important to produce quality submissions to avoid an immediate rejection. When sending your manuscript, after ensuring it is ready, be sure to prepare a cover letter – even if you are submitting through electronic communication. The cover letter maintains a professional quality to your submission. Be sure it includes the title, what it’s about, and how it fits in with the publication.

When writing the manuscript, keep the publishing company’s guidelines in mind. What is the suggested age level? Word count?Topic or theme? No matter how well written the manuscript is, it will be rejected if it doesn’t meet the guidelines.

Before submitting your work, it should have gone through several rounds in a critique group. This helps catch spelling, grammar and syntax errors. If an editor has to correct too much,he or she will pass on the manuscript.

Keeping all these tips in mind will help you produce a quality manuscript – one that is hopefully on its way to publication.

Ending the Story

What should be one of the most important parts of a story or book you’re working on? The ending. Many times, we can overlook the ending or not give it as much thought as the the plotting, editing or revising. But a good, solid ending may make or break your sale. You want that editor who is considering your manuscript to practically hear the “good ending” music playing in her head. It should be the big “pop” of your work.

Your ending shouldn’t just be a “happy ending” but it should be a satisfying ending. We bring our characters through a long, life changing journey in which they should have learned something. We should have a strong sense of what they learned and why. Why was that lesson important? Does it make them a better person? Friend? Does it teach us something about ourselves or others? Can the readers relate to the story ¬†and connect to it?

In addittion, all or most loose ends should be tied up. We should be able to say, “That’s why this happened in the beginning of the story.” We should see everything in the story come together full circle.

This seems like a tall order, but if we’re careful and plan our story out well, the ending will highlight the story. Like the rest of the manuscript, it takes time, determination and hard work. Then maybe the story will have that “pop” that an editor is looking for. It could just get you that acceptance.

Jen’s Writing Tips #2 – Come in With a Bang!

NO! Don’t do it!

Okay, now that I have your attention, what were you thinking when you read that line above?
No, what? Don’t do what? Why? What does that have to do with the title?

When you approach an editor with your manuscript you want it to stand out above the others. Open with a bang to grab that editor’s attention. Remember the key is to get their attention so they’ll want to read more. A great way to do this is opening with lines filled with emotion, as done above. Maybe the line you use is suspenseful. Maybe it asks a curious science question. All these should grab the editor’s attention and they will want to read more.

Once you’ve gotten that far, it’s up to you to follow through. Keep that story interesting. Make that article answer fun questions or provide amazing facts. If you make your manuscript stand out, you have a good chance of keeping the editor’s attention. And that is definitely a great start.

Jen’s Writing Tips #1 Is the Manuscript Ready?

You finished that wonderful manuscript, the story you’ve been working relentlessly on for months. Before wrapping it up with a cover letter and submission package, be sure it’s really ready to be submitted to editors. Is it free from spelling and grammar errors? Is the format correct? Does it follow the Writer Guidelines? Is the piece age-appropriate for your audience?

As editor of My Light Magazine, I’ve come across promising manuscripts, yet had to reject them based on the above criteria. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste. Be sure it’s ready to meet an editor and an editor’s expectations.

Happy Writing!