Terry W. Ervin II, author of FLANK HAWK
Over the years communication has evolved, from hand-written letters, to typed, and then word-processed and printed, all delivered by the postal system. Then there was the changeover to faxing and email, followed by texting and twittering. At each stage the tendency toward less formal, more rushed wording and spelling, seems to have grown.
The submission process has similarly evolved, from typed letters and manuscripts to word processed and printed manuscripts, from mailed printouts to emailed files. And now many markets have gone to online forms where an author inputs information and uploads one or more files.
With the new submission process becoming increasingly more common with magazines, ezines, and even some novel-length markets, following instructions remains important.
- Fill in all required fields (name, genre, length, email address, etc.)
- Upload properly formatted files (rtf vs. doc, for example)
- Proper file naming (sometimes without spaces in the name, for example)
As an editor with a small ezine where my duties include reading slush, an uploading process is used. One of the trends I have seen over time is the tendency of authors to be less formal when filling in the sections. Not the title, author name and email address, but what is equivalent to the contents in a cover letter. While the format lends itself to brevity and even a sense of informality, an author should remain professional at all times because it looks different on the other end. For an editor it is listed as ‘cover’ and is not box in a compact, on-screen form. It appears as part of the submission file, much like a formatted Word document on the screen. Lack of proof reading before submitting, as evidenced by increasing numbers of grammar and punctuation, and spelling errors, appears more frequently. Use of texting abbreviations sometimes creeps in. Even a sense of the author texting an old buddy, although rare, sometimes shows up.
I don’t know if it is only younger authors that present this face to editors, but it is generally not the first impression an author would want to make with an editor working through a large number of submissions in the queue, each awaiting its shot. Editors from other markets that I have had contact with have expressed with similar observations.
So, to the point. In addition to filling in all the required data and information fields, and sending the properly formatted file containing the best work one is able to produce, don’t let up on that professionalism until the job is finished. Even if it means typing out a standard cover letter, including proofing, and then cutting and pasting it into the submission form’s information field, take the time to do it. Don’t create the wording on the spot, almost as an afterthought. The extra time and effort just might pay off, giving a hopeful writer an edge in a competitive market.
About the author:
Terry W. Ervin II is an English teacher who enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy. He is an editor for the speculative fiction magazine MindFlights and a guest contributor to Fiction Factor, an ezine for writers. His short fiction has appeared in a number of places, including Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and Fear and Trembling. Gryphonwood Press released his debut novel FLANK HAWK in October of 2009.
To contact Terry or learn more about his writing endeavors visit his website at: http://www.ervin-author.com/.
FLANK HAWK Book Blurb:
“A curious blend of epic fantasy, modern techno-thriller and non-stop action-adventure, FLANK HAWK is a compelling and original tale of a brave young mercenary pitched in deadly magical combat against the undead techno-armies of the Necromancer King. Whether you like swashbuckling wizardry, fierce dragon battles, modern military hardware or sword-slashing zombie mayhem, FLANK HAWK has it all.” --Erica Hayes, author of the SHADOWFAE CHRONICLES