Writing Style Guide
Rules for submitting print and email submissions to publishers.
- Always read “Submission Guidelines” carefully.
- Always put “name, address, phone number, email, and title” at the top on the front page of your submission.
- Always use a standard font like “Times New Roman” throughout submission. Select a standard font size such as “12pt” only change font size for title and contact information. We all know there are literally thousands of fonts in internet land, they look great for personal and website use, they DO NOT belong in your submission. Editors are very busy and read a lot of submissions daily, beautiful and strange fonts make a submission hard to: read, give attention to story, and can be really annoying to read.
- DO NOT use “tab” at the beginning of the new paragraph to indent. Learn how to use the “First Line Indent” feature on your writing software.
- Always check the submission for grammar and spelling errors. Your writing software will have a “spell check” and probably a “grammar check” feature.
- Always use black font on white back ground. Color is great but not in submissions unless it is in a photography, artwork, or cartoon.
- This should be common sense but NEVER EVER submit the only copy of your work.
- Editors ALWAYS have a backlog of submissions. Unsolicited submissions are usually the last thing an editor will read during the day/week, always give them time (usually listed in submission guidelines) before you contact them. Don’t be concerned about your submission before then, after that deadline in your haven’t heard anything in a week or two then contact them.
- A rejection letter to your submission does not mean they will never publish any of your work, it means that submission isn’t what they are currently looking to publish. If you really want to be a published writer, always expect a rejection and NEVER EVER stop submitting work.
For in addition for Print Submissions:
- Never staple submissions.
- Use 2.0 (double) line spacing when printing work. This in important for print submissions as it gives the editor a place to note changes.
- Always use the “header” or “footer” feature on your writing software to add page numbers, title and/or last name . Never submit print work without this added to your submission.
- If you want entire submission returned use an envelope and postage the same size and amount you sent the work in for submission. If you only want the “acceptance” or “rejection” letter then use a SASE. If you do not provide a way to send your work or letter back to you do NOT expect the editor to waste time and money contacting you unless they REALLY want your work.
For in addition for Electronics Submissions:
- Always use a file format listed in the “Submission Guidelines”.
- Use only 1.0 (single) line spacing or 2.0 (double) line spacing.
- Put a blank line space between each paragraph.
- NEVER put submission into the “body” of the email, always add it as an attachment.
Common Writing Mistakes:
- Word usage: While you probably learned word usage in junior high English class. When editing work for submission give close attention to word usage. For example, learn the usage of “to”, “too”, and “two” or when you should be using “their” and “there”. Usually editors will reject a submission if they find more than 2-3 of these error without reading the rest of your work.
- When writing fiction always use correct grammar and spelling except in the case of dialogue. Dialogue is the only place where it is acceptable since it give more depth and realistic tone to a character. In the real world people speak in broken sentences, do not pronounce words correctly, make up words, and such. Outside the dialogue of the characters NEVER use bad grammar. A good way to think about it is, “bad grammar” goes inside the quotation marks and good grammar goes outside the quotation marks.
- A good book all writers should own is: The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition.
Below you will find recommended books for fiction writers. These books are a great resource for fiction writers :
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