Thinking ahead

Every editor, publisher and agent has a 'slush pile', a pile of unsolicited submissions which have to be read.

In order to ensure that your manuscript finds it way fairly quickly to the top of the pile, here are a few simple tips:

1. Include a brief covering letter and front sheet with each manuscript as shown in Figures 12 and 13.

2. Number each page consecutively.

3. Head each page with your name and the title of the manuscript.

4. Finish each page with 'm/f...' or 'cont/d.' to indicate more is to come.

5. End the final sheet with the word 'End' or a line of asterisks.

6. Manuscripts should be posted, unfolded in a large envelope.

7. Place book manuscripts unbound in a card folder or box.

8. Never fasten your manuscript with pins or staples.

9. Always attach sufficient postage to cover the full cost of returning your manuscript.

10. Attach a return envelope for the editor's reply but do not insist on having rejected articles, features or short story manuscripts returned to you. Editors will appreciate the fact that you are content to run off further copies from your PC.

ADDRESS,Tel/Fax/Email date

A Smith Fiction Editor The Magazine LondonW1

Dear Mr Smith

Please find enclosed a short story of approximately 1,000 words entitled Acceptance' which I hope you will find suitable for publication in The Magazine.

I have enclosed return postage for your convenience and look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely

AWriter

Fig. 12. Sample covering letter.

REAL NAME, ADDRESS, Tel/Fax/Email

ACCEPTANCE A short story of approximately 1,000 words by

AWriter (or pseudonym)

Fig. 13. Sample front sheet.

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