Once your article is written, you want to submit it. Before you do, make sure you use proper article manuscript format.
In publishing, first impressions matter. An editor who receives a badly formatted, sloppy manuscript won't even give it the time of day. It will be sent back or thrown away. Period.
To stay out of the round file (the trash), make a positive first impression.
At a minimum, use 8.5 x 11 inch, 20 pound bond white paper. This is your standard copy paper sold by the ream at office supply stores.
Anything less will smudge, fade and be too delicate to withstand being handled by multiple editors, secretaries, and the postal service.
Only three fonts are commonly accepted for manuscripts. These three are:
The font should be 12 point size. Again, this is easier to read than smaller fonts and uses less paper than larger ones.
Standard manuscript margins are 1.25 inches all around.
This provides ample room for editorial notes. It also provides place for the many hands to hold the pages without touching the print.
Dot matrix printers are no longer the norm, and they are unacceptable for printing manuscripts.
Use normal printing on an inkjet or laser printer.
Always, always use only black ink. Colored inks are the sign of an amateur.
While you may not yet be a professional, you should do everything in your power to look like one.
Your article will need a cover page. This page will have your name and contact information in the top right corner. In the center of the page will be the title of the piece with your name beneath it.
Your contact information will be the only single-spaced part of the document. Everything else must be double-spaced.
Indent your paragraphs. Do not justify the right margin.
Beginning on the top right corner of the second page of the article, the page number should be a combination of the title and the page number.
This format is in case the pages of the story get separated. It will be easier for the editor or assistant to figure out which pages go with which story.
When you mail your manuscript, keep in mind these two points:
Once you submit your article, you want to know whether it is accepted. It is on you to make sure the editor has a way to let you know.
An SASE - Self Addressed Stamped Envelope - is the most common method for this. Using an SASE allows the editor to send the manuscript back to you if they aren't interested.
Another method for this is the SASP - Self Addressed Stamped Postcard. On the postcard, you put something like this:
Please check the response that applies:
___ Not Accepted
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