Call for Submissions - Blog #2

Now I get why all the magazines say “READ OUR GUIDELINES” before you submit to us.
Yeah, not all guys are reading the specs of this Call for Men’s Stories.
 
Here's some advice for all your writing submissions:
Don’t ask the editor for a critique. Don’t hound the editor.
Don’t resend a piece because you’ve edited it and it’s better now.
Do exactly what the submission details tell you to do: if it says Send it in an attachment as a .doc, or .docx, or .rtf, then do that. If you don't, you'll fall outside the editor's workflow and your work may never be read.
 
You think you have two or more pieces that meet the spec? Send Your Best Only. Too many folks are sending me kitchen sinks full of writing.
 
You may have to write something from scratch to meet the spec, for this Call for Submissions or any other.
 
Until you hear Yes, the answer is probably No.
If you never hear at all, and the book comes out and your piece is not in it, it means No.
 
Why are so many poets sad?
 
And why do poets
Break
up
sentences or

Phrases to make them more
difficult
to read? Why
in

the
world
would you do
that?
 

Non-fiction is much more compelling than fiction. Fiction usually starts with B.S. “It was a dark and stormy night.” Non-fiction starts with truth: "I was frozen to the bone."
 
Literary prose: the emphasis is on words.
Not-literary/mainstream prose: the emphasis is on the story.
Many folks are attempting literary prose and failing. It might help if they had a solid story to write, but sometimes they don’t. Most usually they fail because they are being unnecessarily wordy. They expend many words saying nuthin’. This is also known as BS.
 
Don’t describe the hat unless it’s description helps the story, and it probably doesn’t.
 
If you are submitting by e-mail, your cover e-mail should have two paragraphs of one sentence each:
 
1. Something about the work you are enclosing: “Up in the Air” is a fictional story about memory loss.

2. And one sentence about your writing credits, or if you have none, a one-sentence vita. Don't tell the editor about you family or your dog, or your time in the military. It doesn't matter to him/her.
 
And on the topic of taking rejection. It really is true when the rejection slip says “It is not right for our publication.” That’s all the editor really cares about. “Good” writing, “bad” writing, smart, dumb writing, ... that’s not the foremost issue for the editor. He/she must discern if the piece is right, or might be right, for the publication.
 
Don’t bother the editor w/ a “Did you receive my work?” or, “Have you read my submission yet?” He/she HAS received it and has or will read it. That’s his/her job. And please don't ask for a critique: that's not the editor's job, and your asking makes you look a) insecure and b) unprofessional.
 
There are three kinds of responses to an submission:
 
YES!
No!
Maybe. Needs work.
 
If you get a response of “this needs work,” or “try again” or some such encouragement, take heart, you’ve been noticed. Your work has merit and needs a little work to be right for the publication. Jump on it! Do the work. Then get the editor’s feedback again, and re-write until you’ve got the piece where they want it. If they edit your work, or ask to edit your work, go with it.  They like your work. They want to publish you!