Submission Guidelines are the bylaws, the holy scrolls, the Three Laws of Specotics. In them, the editor specifies not only what he or she wants—humorous SF, horror but without vampires or zombies, Mythos stories set in modern-day Egypt—but also, and most importantly, how he or she wants it.
These guidelines are there to make your life easier. By being so specific about them, the editor takes a lot of irrelevant choices away from you. Your content is what matters; the editor specifies the bits that don’t affect the content, so you don’t have to fret about them. Also, the guidelines specify how the editor wants to read your manuscript. So one, your life is made easier through following the guidelines, and two, by following them you help the editor make his job easier.
Not following the guidelines in any aspect ensures that the editor notices you, but not in a good way. Apart from leading to instant rejection, any deviation from the guidelines on your part gives the impression that A. you’re not a professional and B. you don’t want to put in any effort to adhere to a few very simple instructions.
There are 6 important parts to the guidelines.
- Manuscript formatting
- Cover Letter
- Synchronicity and Multiplicity
- Cold, hard cash
- The long goodbye