It’s strange to return to blogging after taking a month off. November was crazy, filled with family, birthdays, and Thanksgiving. My goal for finishing a complete edit of my manuscript changed to finishing the first 50,000 words worth, then changed again to solving a plotting issue that I unwittingly created when I consolidated two characters into one.
Where it stands now… well, I did manage to edit the first 20,000 words – 13,000 of the original text and about 7,000 that I ended up adding. I’m pleased that I’ve made some progress, I would have loved to have met that 50,000 word goal but sometimes we have to accept whatever progress we can make. That said, when I got stuck with the plot I ended up taking a small break and making some lovely crochet slippers and a hat for myself.
I also finished up and put the final polish on a sci-fi short story I’ve been working on. It’s now in route to a literary magazine, my first professional market submission. That’s where this weeks focus comes from – getting a story submitted to a market. I’m no pro, but I can share what I learned along the way.
First and foremost, the story must be ready and awesome as it can be. Finding another set of eyes to look it over is a great way of making sure that you haven’t forgotten anything important. Also, do a double-check on your grammar. There are websites that will do an intensive grammar check that is far beyond what a word processor will do. I tried PaperRater and was happy with the results. Just know that if you copy paste into and then out of it that you will lose all of your formatting.
Secondly, prepare your manuscript according to the directions given by the specific magazine you are submitting to. If they are asking for double spaced 12 pt Courier, give it to them. If they are asking for Standard Manuscript Format, be sure you know what that means. For an excellent tutorial you can check out the Manuscript Preparation article over at the SFWA website.
Last of all, you will need a cover letter. If you are submitting the old-fashioned way this is even more important to get right. There are several great examples you can find on the web, this article covers all the bases. Nowadays, most submissions are done online and will have a form that you can fill out that serves the same purpose as a cover letter.
If you have everything ready, submit! Your work can’t be read if you hide it in your computer, and having your work read is the reason you write, right?
As always, happy writing!