August 5, 2013

Homework

As editor of the Kid's Imagination Train, I receive a good amount of stories, but very few poems.  So when a poetry submission awaited in the inbox, I was thrilled.  This piece might make a nice addition to KIT. 

But after reading the poem, I found that it wasn't quite right for KIT.  This writer failed to do her homework.  Homework is easy and consists of the following three "assignments."

1.  Study the magazine.  Get a feel for the kind of pieces that are published.  KIT leans to whimsical, funny, or sweet poems that tell a story and have the potential for illustration. 

2.  Edit your work.  Read it out loud.  Poetry must have perfect rhyme and spot-on meter or beats—not just matching the number of syllables in each line, but having the correct emphasis on those syllables. 

3.  Read the writer's guidelines.  Learn how submissions should be formatted in terms of font and spacing.  Discover what is expected in the subject of your email.

Most editors will tell you that these three homework assignments are expected to be completed before submitting.  This includes nonfiction as well as writers of fiction and poetry.  However, when writers fail to do their homework, they are not only wasting their time, they are wasting the time of an editor.  

When writers read the guidelines, study the magazine, and edit their pieces, they show editors that they care about their work.  They want their submissions to be seriously considered. And because of their efforts, they'll have a better chance of seeing their work in print. Editors know these writers have done their homework well.

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