July 9th, 2008

spring

Ten Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Manuscript's Chances

1. Read and follow the magazine or market's guidelines. Do not send things that are over/under length without querying first. If they say they do not take vampire stories, do not send vampire stories. If they are currently closed, make a note on your calender as to when they open and then submit somewhere else that is open.
2. Look up the current editor(s) and use their name. Do not make assumptions about their gender, for we all know what assumptions lead to. If you say "Dear Editors" or "To Whom it May Concern", the message below the greeting is "I didn't care enough to go do my homework."
3. Make your cover letter brief and to the point, and list only really notable stuff, like major publications or awards. Do NOT involve a synopsis or summation of your writing style, particularly one with words such as "gripping", "enthralling," or "delightful".
4. Get things right. Don't misspell names of editors or magazines. Do not let cut and paste lead you astray and make you mention their market and then supply the wrong name. Double-check your letter. Make sure you got their address correct as well as your own.
5. Check your title. Is it "The" plus a noun? Is that noun an interesting one? Rethink titles like "The Bowl", "The Pudding" or "The Proof". Make the title an interesting one, one that promises a cool and entertaining story.

Tomorrow: Five more things you can do - besides the ULTIMATE SECRET.