Do you write and submit short stories to anthologies and magazines? If so, you really need to read this, from the award-winning editor, Amanda Pillar. Thanks, Amanda!
I’ve worked on seven anthologies over the past six or so years. I’m onto the eighth, the Bloodlines* anthology to be published by Ticonderoga Publications. I’ve also judged a couple short story and flash fiction competitions. Over the last six years, I’ve noticed reoccurring issues with authors’ submissions. While I will not reject someone outright for forgetting to use standard manuscript format, or for misspelling my name, there are editors who will. So it’s these basic mistakes that may be hindering authors from getting published. There are other issues as well – the quality of writing, willingness of an author to be edited, attitude of an author (if you’re rude, people won’t want to work with you) and so on.
But to help, I’ve compiled a list of 22 common problems associated with short story submissions, shown below in no particular order:
1. Proof read* your work. More than one or two typos (on the first 2 pages) are not your friend. In fact, it looks like the author rushed the submission or that they cannot proof read their work. The latter can leave an editor worried about the entire editing process to come.
*Publetariat Editor’s Note – here in the U.S. we’d use one word, “proofread,” but this author is from Australia and spellings are sometimes regional.
2. Read the submission guidelines properly. If it asks for fantasy, don’t send science fiction and vice versa. If I say I want urban fantasy, do not send stories that are set in the future, or contain aliens, etc.
3. Send your manuscript in standard format unless otherwise asked for. This is an example http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html. (I tend to ask for Times New Roman font, because I hate Courier New. So check the guidelines to make sure!)