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Author Topic: I'm about to start getting rejected
Captain of my Sheep
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(Yeah, I just can't be too optimistic about submitting.)

I don't live in the US, but the magazines I plan to submit to do. What address do I put in the "address" part of the manuscript?

Same thing with my telephone. Do I put my cellphone in, plus a long international code so they can reach me, if the wanted to? They won't, but I still want to provide accurate data that doesn't require anybody to lift a finger to contact me if they wanted to. Which they won't.

I am very nervous about this. My chances are low already. I don't want to be one of those people that fudges up on the format of something like an address.

Thanks!

I check the submission guidelines of each market, but sometimes they don't state their preferences about italics or other minor details. As a general rule, is this manuscript formatting guide accurate?

[ December 18, 2015, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: Captain of my Sheep ]

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Robert Nowall
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Well, in the traditional printed format, you put your mailing address in the upper right corner of Page One of your manuscript.

Line One: Your Real Name
Line Two: Your Street Address (or P. O. Box)
Line Three: City, State, Country (if you're mailing it to someone out of), Zip Code (or equivalent).

I guess nowadays it's de rigeur to add your e-mail address below the above: make that Line Four if you so choose.

I wouldn't put a phone number on it. They can write you (or e-mail you), probably easier, and if they need a phone number you can give it to them then.

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Captain of my Sheep
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quote:
I wouldn't put a phone number on it. They can write you (or e-mail you), probably easier, and if they need a phone number you can give it to them then.
Yes, a phone number seemed a bit weird to me. I just wonder if it's safe to leave it out.

Would an editor outright reject me for not including my telephone number?

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Robert Nowall
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If he does, you're better off.
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extrinsic
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A manuscript, or typescript, actually, submission conforms to a standard with body paragraph indent business block format and is akin to a letter of introduction; that is, cover page if a house's submission guidelines request one, first page address block top left, top right is for page headers. And so on as the Shunn format guidelines suggest, though dated guidelines. No call at this time to rehash the typeface discussion, except to advise pay close attention to a house's submission guidelines, many of which are less than comprehensive. Of note, two grammar errors in the Shunn guidelines, fractions take a hyphen, one-third, one-half, etc.

Inclusion of a phone number is a requisite item for a cover page or first page. An e-mail address now as well is requisite and postal address. These items serve for future needs, in case a house wants a later inquiry, say, after reflection, the house decides to accept after a rejection, say, if an offer goes out, an invitation to submit for a special edition, etc.

Yes, include international calling codes, and full e-mail address and mailing address with Zip Code as formatted for copy and paste into correspondence and on envelope. For example, say from Papua New Guinea:

Janet Glow
1206 Laua Ct
Waigani, N.C.D Papua
New Guinea 131
00 675 Local Number (-six digits, no spaces)
server@public.com.pg

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Captain of my Sheep
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Thanks, extrinsic. [Smile] I'm going to err on the side of caution here and add a phone number. I'm a bit of a stickler for rules anyway.

I'm going to use Courier, 12 pt, by the way. The market I'm going to submit to doesn't specify a font. Courier is still the standard, right? (Is this "font topic" a sensitive one here?)

I read the reasons why that is the preferred font and it makes perfect sense to me. I have to admit I hated Courier until I formatted my first story like Shunn indicates. It is a nice way to read a story, especially if you have to read a lot of them.

Plus, my eyesight is not what it used to be. Times New Roman can get tricky at times.

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extrinsic
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A monospaced typeface like Courier New seems dated to routine readers of Times New Roman, though is as Shunn notes less eyestraining and suitable for hand editing and typesetter markup. Times New Roman is thought an economical typeface because it crams more glyphs onto a page, saves paper though not ink, as much as twice as many glyphs as Courier though average a quarter more. That's the thought behind using Courier, more readable, more consistent, and easier to gauge content space for publication real estate.

Note that Times New Roman is designed for space-conscious journalism serials, crammed together compared to book typefaces, which Courier is a typewriter typeface, not a book or serials typeface. Courier signals typescript format and is a hallmark of a professional submission presentation. Many houses, though, are modernities; Courier is old and therefore worthless, when in actuality the houses simply aren't accustomed to reading Courier because they never have.

Digital editing and layout makeready are another area where Courier is preferred, less eyestrain and fewer missed format glitches: extraneous spaces and punctuation, proprietary format codes and glyphs that resist translation to other applications, notably, publication applications like InDesign, the preeminent publication software currently, and obvious format issues like spaces for indents instead of tabbed indents, line breaks, hard and soft returns, Word's clunky default layout template, matters of italics and bold decoration, etc., plus ease of search and replace selection and all.

The dual hyphen format to represent an em dash, for example: easier search and replace according to a house's style. Post--no, uh, bills. A house might format that for publication by replace all two hyphens with an em dash or long dash and space brackets or no space brackets.

Not to mention, three hyphens means em dash, interruption, two hyphens means en dash, marks ranges. The en dash is uncommon for prose, though for technical composition and citation attribution is essential. Date ranges listed in bibliographies, for example, ranges generally, one--six, blue--red, infrared--ultraviolet, Welsh--Scots, and means "to" or "through." Spelled out in text body, though hyphens or en dash, respectively, in bibliography attribution, tables, and figures. Plus, four hyphens means "ditto" for multiple listings of a same writer's different cited publications in a bibliography. One hyphen, by the way, means "and" as opposed to a back slash means "or." Four and two hyphens like so:

Adams, Mark. Bent and Struck Typology. Random House. New York: 2017. Print.
---- "The Coming of Age: Standardized Online Style and Formats." Publisher's Weekly. July 2016: pgs 36--48. Print.

[ December 18, 2015, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Captain of my Sheep
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Thanks, extrinsic. I just have one question.

Janet Glow (Name Last Name)
1206 Laua Ct (Street number, Street Name.) (I had to add my apartment number, even though I don't know if it´s necessary.)
Waigani, N.C.D Papua (?, ?)
New Guinea 131 (Country, ?)
00 675 Local Number (-six digits, no spaces) (Country and area codes, Telephone number.)
server@public.com.pg (Email.)

Can you clarify what the parts with "?" are, extrinsic? I'm at a bit of a loss. I live in Montevideo, Uruguay, if that will make it easier to explain all this to me. [Smile]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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The first line you have ? in is what would be required in New Guinea to identify the city (Papua) - I am guessing the stuff before "Papua" is necessary to indicate the part of the city.

The number after the country (New Guinea) would be like a postal code (or zipcode in the US).

With Montevideo, you may not need separate lines for Montevideo and Uruguay. So don't use them.

Give your address as needed for someone mailing you from another country.

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extrinsic
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International mail address format for Uruguay is as follows:

RECIPIENT
[STREET_TYPE] STREET_NAME HOUSE_NUMBER [FLOOR]
[APARTMENT]
POSTAL_CODE LOCALITY
URUGUAY

Brackets mark items if part of address; underscores connect words of individual items.

Alba Metforey
Avenida Uruguay 12007
Apt 21-A
11801 Montevideo
Uruguay

The Papua New Guinea address is a little different because I used a domestic address format from a government office for the example. The Papua New Guinea international mail format is similar to the Uruguay one.

RECIPIENT
P.O. Box OFFICE_BOX_NUMBER
LOCALITY POSTAL_CODE PROVINCE
PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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extrinsic
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This topic raises a matter of audience appeal, subtle though: Make submissions as easy on a house's staff resources as possible.

The address and phone number content format, for example. A diligent house captures every contact information item that comes their way. Ease of recordation curries favor with staff and house.

I inherited a 2,000 individual contact list when I worked at one house. I was business bookkeeper, editor, designer, address list manager, and a bunch of hats. The address spreadsheet, one jumbled spreadsheet, contained every contact the house had had: subscribers, contributors, business contacts, partners, sponsors, advertisers, prospects, "friends," special handling notes, some disparaging, etc., all in one unmanageable document.

The contact list was a mess, to say the least, from dozens of haphazard enterers will-nilly plugging in whatever, wherever, with no rhyme or reason. Problem was subscriptions went out as haphazardly as the list was organized. Several hundred mailed copies came back undeliverable each published edition, dozens of unordered copies went out, too, and cost $$$ in extra postage charges, extra printing costs, and misentered Customs declaration forms. Don't get me started on Customs snafus.

Eighty tedious hours later, the list was manageable. I also designed a database form, a special application with its own shortcut on the business desktop, click to open and enter data, to capture addresses in future such that each could be easily added where it fit in the order of things.

The list was then compartmentalized, searchable, filterable, and ready for any and every use: mail, e-mail, phone call, place cards, pecking order, etc., mass mail, mass e-mail, solicitations, requests for use licenses, release forms, reports, etc.

I also included a journal document for methods and rationales thereof so future address list managers had procedures to follow. Professional. They asked me back on a paid consulting basis once my contract term expired so that I could coach my replacements on the more steep learning curve methods.

Online services offer standardized mail address and phone number formats. The directory folder where the above content was saved, filed, contained shortcuts to those and other sites, address validation, for example, which the bulk mail service required. Plus a site calculator for postage costs. My postage and handling estimates came in on budget, exact, by the way, to the penny.

The tedium paid off, saved thousands of dollars, and resulted in performance bonuses per moi.

In other words, this is an area where writers are advised to do their best to ease a house's workload such that the house favors writers who know and respect the business end.

I won't go into the tediums of publication preparation and the haphazard mess each submission was. Never mind the publication setup tediums that are common: widow and orphan lines, typefaces that lack special character entities, the ligatures of foreign languages, proprietary ligatures like ellipsis points, en dash, em dash, hyphen, brackets to signal inserted content, misuse of quote marks for emphasis, misused italics and bold, foot note and end note formats, header, footer, chapter, and section title format, body content typeface size, page format, publication design overall, bibliography, and a gamut of format needs, etc. The easiest way to manage the whole is defined style formats per each item type, in InDesign or CorelDraw or PDF, a structure per each type of dozens of defined format specifications. Six months work needed done in four or less and accomplished.

Make a publisher and staff's setup job easier: curry favor.

[ December 21, 2015, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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Oh, I'm willing to make a submission readable, legible, and I generally avoid odd characters and typographic tricks. I try to have my name, story title, and page number on every page. (In the olden days you were supposed to underline to indicate where italics should be used. How that works in this electronic age of e-mail submissions, I don't know and can't say---I've decided to stick with printing it out and mailing it in, at least right now.)

But in a number of ways it's come to seem to me that the markets are often very demanding over petty and pointless issues. Some of you older guys may have heard me sing the song of Woe to Times New Roman---a perfectly readable typeface, which, reportedly, some markets don't like.

Good will is one thing---but what about mine? I'm willing to accommodate a market if I find it defined---but I can't abide a market where a rejection comes 'cause some slushpile reader takes the attitude that "I'm rejecting this for manuscript format problems---but I won't tell you what they are."

I get enough grief like that in my job---ever been threatened with disciplinary action for doing something exactly the way you were told to? I have, many times---and I won't put up with it trying to sell a story to a market. If I think a market is doing that...well, I'll stop submitting to it.

*****

Addendum: I heard today that Tor-dot-com is closing to unsolicited submissions as of January 7th next year. Things like that make the markets look more and more like a closed-shop racket...

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Captain of my Sheep
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Thanks Kathleen, and extrinsic for the help. I was really puzzled.

quote:
Alba Metforey
Avenida Uruguay 12007
Apt 21-A
11801 Montevideo
Uruguay

Thank you a lot for taking the time to give me this example, extrinsic. I appreciate it. [Smile]

quote:
Eighty tedious hours later, the list was manageable.
Oh dear God that story. [Eek!] I work as a QA Tester so the idea of turning a messy list of whatever into a neat, filterable list warms my heart.


quote:
Addendum: I heard today that Tor-dot-com is closing to unsolicited submissions as of January 7th next year. Things like that make the markets look more and more like a closed-shop racket...
I heard about that. It was a bit sad but, to be honest, I'm so far away from being decent enough to submit there that nothing's really changed for me.

I have a somewhat related question: Does anybody know of a short story anthology made by Thor that has authors who didn't have novels out when the anthology was published?

I'm reading an Urban Fantasy one (this one) right now and all of the authors there are longtime novelists. I like reading the stories but as a learning tool they're a bit lacking, in a way.

Patricia Briggs only has to fall asleep on her keyboard and her story will be published. Same with Charles de Lint and Niel Gaiman. I'm not complaining about this at all, just stating a fact. It doesn't bother me and it makes business sense for the publishers. However, I'd like to know what type of story survives the culling when the author is unknown.

But I digress.

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pdblake
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quote:
Originally posted by Captain of my Sheep:
However, I'd like to know what type of story survives the culling when the author is unknown.

They were all unknown once too. So the answer is probably the best one they could write, which is all you should be submitting anyway [Wink]
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Captain of my Sheep
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quote:
They were all unknown once too. So the answer is probably the best one they could write, which is all you should be submitting anyway
I will always submit my best work, of course.

It seems you think all I should care about is doing the best I can. I kind of disagree with that. [Smile] Writing the best you can is fundamental, with that I agree. But writing in a vacuum of ideas that are just my own is boring to me. After I write the best that I can, I try to make the next story better by incorporating elements from other stories.

I'm not chasing trends because I'm convinced I will "crack" a market, I'm chasing inspiration. You still read, do you not? I bet what you read somewhat influences your future work. This is all I'm doing. And I recommend it to all new writers. I'm not obsessed, I just read with things with a bit of an analytical mind, making notes when what I read gives me joy, or when what I read makes me want to rip my hair out.

I asked for anthologies by Thor that featured unknown authors because, I think, reading those is just like studying debut novels. The yardstick for unknowns is different than the one for established authors. If I read a short story that I end up loving, then compare it to my own and see that mine is lacking in, say, depth, then I know I should try to dig a bit deeper. I might not have decided to dig deeper than I already was had I not read this hypothetical story that I fell in love with.

Shorts by established authors give me similar insight, but I always have to keep in mind that what a pro might get away with, I might not. And that's just fine by me.

[ December 26, 2015, 10:22 AM: Message edited by: Captain of my Sheep ]

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Robert Nowall
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quote:
They were all unknown once too.
Well, there are a couple of ones I know of who are, as they say, "son of." You can see my suspicion that it's a "closed shop"---sometimes I think I have to add "hereditary guild" to that, too...
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extrinsic
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Track writers back through their published work, is one way to discover their heuristics -- trial and error.

Another, their short story collections include unpublished works, usually stories they couldn't place as well as ones that made their career.

On the other hand, the market and especially readers crave novelty and originality within a hand span out of contemporary reach, like, reach for the sky. What's new and upcoming that fits that criteria is hard to scratch at the edges of.

I can say that a vivid and lively voice is one feature. Another, a strong attitude, what's known as tone, toward a subject, topic, current and timeless human condition event, value, belief, etc. Another, and this is tricky, is expression that is indirect, slanted, intangible, though interpretable by a targeted readership, suited to the audience's aptitude and comprehension ease. Engage intellect and other engagements follow. In other words, irony, of one of its many flavors.

Sarcasm is the easier of irony forms. However, sarcasm by itself comes across as juvenile -- the age of sarcasm's mockery and ridicule expression. Ironic criticism and ironic compliment ridicule and mock though intend the opposite. For example, praise through criticism or criticism through praise -- courtly irony in particular, though verbal irony generally. One constant of irony is a targeted victim, not per se a person, a moral human condition, that and dissimulation.

Classic Greek comedy stock archetypes illustrate: the eiron, the alazon, and the bomolochus; respectively, an eiron persona is more than he, she, or it seems, is a patient and clever dissimulator; an alazon persona is less than he, she, or it seems, is boastful; a bomolochus is exactly what he, she, or it seems, is a buffoon though clued in and makes only non-illusory commentary -- direct and unabashed commentary.

For example, Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat: Jimmy Digriz is the eiron, whoever his boss is is the alazon, whoever or whatever he contends against, the bomolochus. Keith Laumer's Retief, likewise. The Seinfeld show: Jerry closely resembles the eiron, George the alazon, Kramer the bomolochus, except no direct addresses to the audience, which are seen in reality TV's "confession" clips. Elaine shifts through the three though emphasizes the eiron. And the overall irony of the franchise is dissimulation of the social vice of self-absorption's expressions as pride, envy, greed, gluttony, sloth, and lust. Wrath, too, sometimes. A show about nothing, my rosy, bright backside. Yet the moral "lecture" is misdirected and intangible and as well generally misapprehended -- missed. The sarcasm drips like toxic waste though is lively and pointed irony.

Not to mention practical irony's subtler dissimulation; that is, attitude commentary withheld though strongly and clearly signaled. Like above, my sarcastic comment, "My rosy, bright backside." My backside is neither rosy nor bright, is a scab of scar tissue from rejection and chewing out and more than a few falling and fallings on it. Practical irony is the dissimulation of understatement, more is meant than is overtly expressed, like the eiron's mode. The practical irony intended by that sarcastic comment is that the show is about much many more than nothing though left unsaid.

Use irony appropriate to a target audience's aptitude, and Bubba's your plumber.

[ December 23, 2015, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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Ah, but would any of these writers put it that way? I sure wouldn't. It's all Greek to me, and, I suspect, is all Greek to them, too...
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extrinsic
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Possibly, most writers don't know the labels; experienced writers know the methods though, some by instinct and intuition discovery, some by hard study and practice, probably a lot by osmosis -- methods absorbed.

[ December 23, 2015, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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