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The next Children's Writer's World post will be on June 15th.

July 15, 2015

Oh, those writers’ guidelines

I've written about following the writers’ guidelines many times on this blog, but the topic is important enough to share again with readers.  

Writers' guidelines help you learn what an editor wants in terms of a submission. They can be usually found on the homepage of a publication. Sometimes, you will have to look in the subheadings labeled "About us" or "Contact."  

Guidelines spell out the specific requirements for fiction or nonfiction.  You will find the expected word count and the specifications for formatting a manuscript. You may also discover the requirements for a bibliography.  Guidelines may even point out the types of stories that are suitable for submission.  Sometimes, you will learn how an editor wants the subject of an email worded. 

Contact information:
Remember to include your contact information (usually email and snail mail) on the first page of a submission.  This is fairly standard even if it's not mentioned in the guidelines. Even though this seems over-the-top, omitting this simple step may result in a rejection.   Keep in mind that editors do not have time trying to search emails for contact information.  

Multiple submissions:  
Multiple submissions are two or more pieces submitted at the same time, whether sent together in a letter by snail mail, or by sending several in one email.  This also includes staggering submissions over a short period of time (like less than a week apart). If the guidelines state that multiple submission are not accepted, don't even think about sending more than one submission to an editor.  While you might think this may increase your chances that one of your pieces will be accepted, this tactic will always backfire.

Cover letter:
As cruel as it might seem, failing to include a cover letter may earn you a rejection.  It's common courtesy to write one when submitting.  Always include a short letter with your submission that describes your work and presents your biography.  It's also nice to close the letter by thanking the editor for her time.

You want to get published, right?  Then, always check the writer's guidelines before writing and once again before submitting.  Sometimes, the requirements have been changed.  Make every effort to adhere to the rules.  I guarantee you that following the writers' guidelines improves your chances of publication.






July 1, 2015

The Five Senses at S & S

Once a week, I take a French class at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.  However one February morning on my way to class, I only made it halfway up my street.  A car alarm flashed on.  I stopped to have a look and found a flat tire.  My husband left work, came home, and put on a spare tire (bless his sweet soul) in time for me to make it for most of the class.

The next day, I drove to a repair shop to get a new tire.  Knowing I would have some time on my hands, I brought several pieces to edit.

Here are the five senses as I sat down (and tried) to write at S & S Tire:

I smell:
tire rubber—lots of it
strong, bitter-smelling coffee at the help-yourself station

I feel:
smooth leather chairs
a cold breeze as customers entered the shop
a blast warm air from a space heater

I hear:
a sports channel on the television
men chatting about business
the telephone ringing
cars rumbling down the road
zip, zip (lug nuts being tightened)

I see:
an disorderly stack of magazines
a calla lily with a cream-colored bloom
a bucket of toys
lollipops for sale
a candy dispenser machine
two other customers:  one chatting a cell phone, the other going for the coffee

I taste:
cinnamon gum
(I'll have a fresh cup of coffee when I get home)