Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Uncertainty of Submitting

I was going to discuss commas again today, but I sent off two queries last night, and I'm filled with worry. Did I follow the instructions well enough? Hard to tell.

Some markets have definite expectations of your submission, and they spell them out in great detail: double-spaced, 1-inch margins, font should be 12-point Times New Roman, scene divider should be…

And other market guidelines are less clear. Like I said, I submitted to two last night, but the guidelines were not the clearest.

The first was for an anthology I had heard about from one of my newsletters. The description in that newsletter was so 'complete', I started to write the story without checking out the original call for submissions. Silly me. I do find, in my notes, comments from the editors that I added later, so I must have checked out the website, right? Strangely, when I went to submit that story last night, the website I had in my notes took me to a sign-in page for a blog. I had to go to Ralan's List, find the listing for the anthology, get the e-address for the editors, and send my submission that way. So, I'm not filled with confidence that I've fulfilled their expectations for submitting a story.

The second was a novelette I've been looking to place for some time. It had made it to the 'finals' for another anthology, but otherwise, it's difficult to find a home for this length of work. I had begun to look at e-book publishers, since they don't always need as many words as hard-copy publishers. Somehow, I found my way to the website of a small hard-copy publisher, who had several anthologies in the works. That looked promising, so I began to look for submission guidelines. All their guidelines were for books. There were no guidelines for submitting to one of the anthologies. So, once again, I took a wild guess what would do the trick, and I sent it in. Lack of confidence overwhelmed me.

Editors keep telling us writers we should 'follow the guidelines.' I want to. I try to. I want to do whatever will help them find my work worthy of their time. I just wish they'd meet me half way and not leave me guessing what their guidelines are. If they have 3 or 4 screen-lengths of information on how to submit a novel, but they also have anthologies they are trying to fill, couldn't they at least include 2 lines on how to query or submit for those anthologies?

Well, I did what I could. All I can do now – for those 2 pieces – is to sit tight and hope I came close enough to what the editors wanted that they will at least consider my work. Time to move on to a new short. Have to keep busy!

See you next week. Trudy

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