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Friday, May 14, 2010

Before You Submit - Part IV - Sending and Stamping

Okay, you have edited and polished your work to the point where it shines like a full moon on the prairie. Now it's time to take a deep breath and propel your "baby" out of your house and into the hands of an editor.

Most magazines accept electronic submissions. Be sure to check the guidelines for the magazine you are submitting to in order to verify that this is an acceptable means of presenting your work. Guidelines should also tell you if the work should be sent as an attachment or if the editor prefers the work to be included in the body of an email.

Just a reminder to address the email to the appropriate editor and be sure to spell their name right! Introduce yourself in the body of the email and give a brief description of your work. For example, are you offering a poem, short story, or piece of artwork? For a short story, you might mention word count.

For the markets that still accept hard copy manuscripts through the mail, be sure, as mentioned before, to address your envelope to the appropriate editor with name correctly spelled. Be sure to affix enough postage to cover the cost of the content. If you wish to have your work returned to you, you must send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (known as an SASE) with your submission. Remember to apply the required amount of postage to the return envelope. Work that is sent without an SASE will seldom be returned.

Now that you have dropped your submission in the mail box or hit "send" on your computer, what's next?

You wait!

Most magazines guidelines will address the length of time it takes for them to respond. An electronic submission publication will sometimes send an automatic email informing you that the submission was received. Response time can vary from 4-6 weeks to 6-8 months, depending on the publication.

If a long period of time elapses after the expected response date and you have not heard from the publication, it is appropriate to send a follow-up email or letter inquiring about your submission. Be polite! A rude and demanding attitude will destroy your chances of having your work accepted.

In the meantime, while you wait, stay busy! Keep writing and keep submitting. It is all right to submit the same work to different publications. This is called simultaneous submission. Again, consult guidelines, as some magazines object to this practice. Also, show courtesy and inform the editor that the work you are sending is a simultaneous submission.

Happy writing!

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