23 October 2006

Submission Guidelines, Translated

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

So, as you may have guessed, my WIP is still on the submission train to nowhere.

I do find many of the submission guidelines interesting, though, and have found a nifty little program that translates them into author-ese.

1. Do not submit work electronically or on any kind of electronic media. In fact, don't submit it at all. That makes our slush readers' jobs a lot easier all around.

2. Address your submissions to XXXX. This won't be the person who reads your submission, but it makes you feel better. If you knew who was really reading your submission, it would only depress you, and the last thing we want to deal with is a depressed author.

3. No simultaneous submissions. No, we don't know what it really means either. But it gives us another good reason to reject your piece.

6. Send a cover letter. There's no standard for this cover letter, but we know everyone out there will have their own opinions on what should be in it. This is one of the few joys we have in this business, watching people fall all over themselves telling each other how it should be done.

(You'll notice that we skipped requirements #4 and #5. These are our super-secret requirements that would assure your publication, which is why we can't show you.)

7. We can't be held responsible for any lost manuscripts. We'll blame the Post Office, because we can. If we can't, then we'll blame it on the fact you didn't put your personal information on every page of the manuscript, cover letter, query, and any other assorted documents. If we can't do that, then we'll blame it on an intern and ask you to send us your query again.

8. Allow at least six months to hear back from us. This gives us a better rationalization for any excuses we may come up with per requirement #7.

9. Print your manuscript on an actual printer. Crayon, magic marker, and other assorted writing utensils will be accepted, but only so we can hang it on the bathroom walls for folks to laugh at.

10. Don't use any fancy formatting, even if you really want it or think it needs to be there. We're going to have the whole thing re-edited anyway, even if we do accept your work. The same holds true for the title - don't stress about it, because we're going to completely change it.


  1. Oh how absolutely hilarious, and probably totally true, your comments are. That new translation software of yours is a must have. Might I suggest that the super-secret guidelines 4 and 5 specify that you must be a published writer the equal in sales of Stephen King; a beltway politician telling all about your fetishes or lurid affairs; or a woman married to a famous entertainer bent on trashing his life before they will stoop to reading your submission?

  2. I should market the translator to the masses. I imagine I'd probably make more money doing that versus this writing gig...


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