Next Please

Here’s how you submit your story (again).

  • Pick the first market on your list that you haven’t submitted your story to.
  • Study their submission guidelines like they’re the Bible, and you’re a proud citizen of the Belt. Or like they’re the Quran and you’re a fundamentalist Muslim. Or like they’re the Origin, and you’re one of those evolution-crazed biologist fellows.
  • Submit your story, in religious compliance with the guidelines.
  • Start waiting for their response.

Now there are several ideas that you may have to deviate in a noticeable way from their guidelines.

  • Their guidelines are really long and tedious, and I want to send my story now. Can’t I just skim to the mailing information?
  • Their guidelines want me to print my story in single-sided, double-spaced Courier 12pt, but that would cost me a lot of paper. Why don’t I send them single-spaced, double-sided, 9pt TImes New Roman?
  • I think Courier is boring anyway, and Bradley Hand 7pt looks really, really like my handwriting. Why don’t I use that font instead?
  • I have this neat scented mint-green paper. That would get me noticed, wouldn’t it?
  • I have another perfectly polished story that they might like as well. Why don’t I go and send both?
  • While I wait for their response, why don’t I send my story to the next couple of markets on my list as well, to hedge my bets?

The answer to all of these reasonable questions is:


You never, ever, ever deviate from the guidelines. Ever. Not even once. Not even for an excellent reason that makes utter sense to you, and should make utter sense to the editor.