Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beyond the Amateur Look (Part 1 of 6)

Unless you have established a relationship with an editor, you won't send a manuscript without permission.

"We look for a reason to reject manuscripts," an editor-friend said.

I understood what she meant. Editors are overwhelmed and their staffs are smaller these days. More people now try to write, and many of them send multiple submissions for the same article. Instead of getting 300 manuscripts a month as book publishers might have 20 years ago, those same publishers receive 300 a week.

Good editors easily eliminate a high percentage of the manuscripts without reading a word. They need only to look at the layout. "Amateurs won't take time to learn to submit a manuscript properly," another editor complained.

Most publishers provide guidelines on their website. Despite that, a large number of articles and books come to publishers that show the writers haven't looked at the guidelines. Think of it this way: If you send in a manuscript that deviates from the standard look, it's enough to cause an editor to blink. The blink causes the editor to put the pages in the reject basket.

I want to offer a few guidelines to help you get your manuscript read. This will avoid the initial rejection and the editors might actually buy what you've submitted. The guidelines are easy to follow and simple to learn.

Do everything you can to prejudice editors in your favor
by making your manuscript look professional.


  1. As one who's sat on both sides of the editing desk, I agree. Follow directions AKA writer's guidelines and your work will stand out in the professional way you desire--not the way that causes editors to blink.

  2. Cec,
    I'm glad you are discussing this. I always feel uneasy when submitting via email which, as you know, is the new norm. I am a techno-dummy of the first degree! When given the opportunity for snail mail, I could hold my work, review my work one last time - I could SEE it more clearly before sealing that envelope! My confidence level seemed higher. Any suggestions?



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