Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript


Featuring more than 100 example query letters, proposals, and synopses, the 3rd edition of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript gives you more detailed and concrete instruction than ever before! This new edition features expanded instruction for e-mail submissions, updated formatting and submitting guidelines, insider tips from agents and editors, and much more. Increase your chances of publication by submitting your manuscript the right way--let this book be your guide.


There will always be a demand for articles in the writing market. Content that once went in newspapers is now going online. As one magazine folds, another prints its first issue. Articles can be on any topic—investigative pieces, features, interviews, travel writing, columns, sports, home & garden, lifestyle, art & music— there is a market for it all. Regardless of what type of article you want to write, you have to know how to properly submit to an editor or publisher, and how to format your work.


The process of submitting articles begins with sending a query to an editor, continues through getting acceptance to write the article, and ends with submitting the article text itself. Barring some bumps along the way, the process is that simple.

Take note of the sequence: Query, acceptance, then writing. Before you write an article, you should sell it. That may sound backwards, but it is really how the publishing world works. You can submit finished articles, but this is usually a recipe for disappointment. Most editors want queries before assigning articles. Even if an editor likes the idea for an article, he usually wants to provide some guidance before it is written. That can't happen if the article is already completed. Or it means major rewrites, and major headaches. Working on spec—meaning, submitting completed articles rather than simply the ideas for different stories—is usually an unprofitable habit for freelancers.

The query letter is the time-honored traditional method for selling an article. And that method is the one that editors and publishers prefer to use. As e-mail is quickly replacing snail mail as the main form of communication, the method of delivery and the average response time from an editor may be changing, but the overall process is not.

Another thing that hasn't changed: The query is your first impression with an editor. As you start to develop relationships with editors, pitching article ideas will get measurably easier. Correspondence becomes more informal. Your story pitches become less fleshed out. You're battle-tested, so assignments come easier. But if you have no established relationship with an editor, remember to fall back on two things: professionalism and a darn good query letter.

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