Writer's Guidelines

Once you have done some market study and have chosen a handful of magazines or publishers that you are interested in, it's time to get specific. Each magazine or publisher handles submissions differently. It is up to you to find out what they expect in a manuscript submission. You can find this information by consulting the writer's guidelines. Many magazines or publishers will have this available on their website. If not, you can send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with a request for their writer's guidelines.

Writer's guidelines tell you specifically what is expected of your manuscript. They give you detailed information on what format your manuscript should be in, how to send it, where to send it, how long is should be, what your story should and shouldn't do, etc. No matter your opinion, FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES! A manuscript that does not adhere to guidelines is tossed into the trash without a second glance.

Not only are they essential in helping you to know how to submit your story, but guidelines also save you from wasting time submitting your story to the wrong magazines. For example, if your story is 1,500-words long and the magazine you're interested in only accepts stories up to 800-words long, don't waste your time, money, and effort with that magazine. They won't accept your story. Instead, look for a magazine that does accept fiction work in that word count range. Writer's guidelines help you to determine the best place to send your story. By the way, book publishers have guidelines as well, but they aren't usually as detailed.

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