Not that long ago, I received a fiction submission for my new blog the Kid’s Imagination Train http://kidsimaginationtrain.blogspot.com/. When I glanced at the word count, I cringed. It was not just a little over the word limit, it was grossly over the word count. The submission was 2800 words. KIT requires a 500-word count for stories and articles. Now, I don’t get me wrong. I don't get bent out of shape if a story or article exceeds word count and runs to about 600 words or so, but anything longer will probably earn a rejection. This author either failed to read the guidelines or chose to ignore them.
Kid's Imagination Train guidelines are in place for a reason: we respect our young audience. Since the age group for KIT is for children ages 5 -12, this article would be too long to hold their attention.
Writer's guidelines are not a set of rules open to interpretation. They are policies a publication expects you to follow. So, my husband and trusted adviser offered me a suggestion—change the "writers and illustrators guidelines" to "writers and illustrators requirements." Perfect! I made the necessary change to KIT's home page. This should clear up any ambiguities concerning word count and other submission rules. But only time will tell. Hopefully, writers will submit as required. And if they do, I will most likely strike pet peeve number 2 off the pet peeve list.