By Guest Blogger Sandy Whelchel, Executive Director of The National Writers Association
Are you wondering why that piece you wrote just came back from another publisher? Maybe you’re making the same mistakes over and over. Those mistakes can act as a barrier to success. See if perhaps you’re making some of these fatal errors:
1. Is your manuscript double-spaced on one side of clean paper? Is the paper wrinkle and smudge free? No editor wants to feel like they are receiving a shopworn submission.
2. Is your manuscript free of typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings?
3. Is the submission well edited?
4. Did you research the publication to make certain it publishes the type of work you are sending? Surprise! Popular Mechanics doesn’t take recipes.
5. Is your query letter, if you’ve included one, addressed to the correct person? Editors move around; you need make sure you are addressing your query to the right editor.
6. Is your query letter one page or less?
7. Did you make sure the publication hasn’t recently printed a piece similar to yours? Check the library and research at least six back issues.
8. Does your piece have an outstanding hook or lead? Editors receive hundreds of submissions per week. You need to hook them and keep them reading. They are the toughest readers you will encounter.
9. Is the piece presented in a logical sequence? Or if it is a fiction piece, does it have a beginning, middle, and an end?
10. Did you include your contact information so the publisher can contact you if they have questions?
All writers make mistakes, but presenting your work to the publisher as error free as possible means it will have a greater chance for publication.