Sunday, July 10, 2011

Miss Sommer's Etiquette For New Writers


I don’t consider myself an expert. I don’t consider myself an anything at all if you must know beyond a busy working writer. But I do consider myself to have manners. And manners are manners are manners, my friend, regardless of venue. So imagine my dismay at finding that about 50% of the submissions that are coming in for my newbie writer call are coming in sans an introductory note.

No note. No nothing. Just info and a document attached.

Hunh.

I might take this chance to point out that one of the first ones to arrive with a note was from a writer I had already established a rapport with, so that person would have been forgiven more than others. And yet, there it was—a nice note.

So newbies, let me take this chance to say, if you are going to submit anything…anywhere…at ANY time, have some manners. Show good breeding and at the very least have something like this:


Dear Editor (use the name if possible!),

Attached is my story titled “STORYNAME”. It’s approximately 1,000,000 words in length.

HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN ADD SOME CREDITS IF YOU HAVE THEM. IF NOT, DO NOT WORRY. SKIP THIS PART.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best,

YOUR NAME HERE


That is a bare bones note. And you should always add it. Otherwise you are doing the written equivalent of going on a job interview, walking past your interviewer, not shaking his or her hand and sitting down in his or her guest chair and slapping your resume on his or her desk without ever having the courtesy of saying hi. Would you hire you if you did that?

The goal of this antho was to help new authors get a leg up. That also includes pointers and tips on getting published often. Tip #1…use your manners.

If you passed along my call, I’d kindly ask you to pass along a link to this blog also. :)

XOXO

Sommer

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I had no idea, especially newbies would pull that. Even after knowing Desdmona and submitting several stories to Ruthie's, every story had greetings what I was submitting, especially why if it was for a special theme entry and always, always ended with thank you for your time and consideration.

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  2. Yep, that's why I figured I'd post it. I think there's been such an explosion in publishing, especially e, that people aren't getting the 'education' they once did when submissions were mainly snail mail. I see people send in in a way they'd never email a resume. So, I figured, if the call is centered around new writers, let's give them some tips. Like use a cover letter and take the time to be polite. It makes you stand out. :)

    XOXO
    S
    P.S. I did the same thing. Note with EVERY sub. Even when I was up in the multiple dozens of published stories for them. Always a hi, a line about the story and a thanks for your time. Yep. :)

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  3. I'm stunned at that. Even when I was a newb, especially when I was a newb, I wanted to give the editor an idea who I was, let them know I knew a little about them...

    Otherwise you are doing the written equivalent of going on a job interview, walking past your interviewer, not shaking his or her hand and sitting down in his or her guest chair and slapping your resume on his or her desk without ever having the courtesy of saying hi.

    Exactly.

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  4. Thank you v. much, CJ. I appreciate it. :)

    I was stunned too, Craig. I could not imagine. But I guess if you don't read it or no one tells you, folks don't know. That's why I blogged it. sometimes all you need is someone to inform you. right? :)

    XOXO
    S

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  5. Oh my! I'm sure the person I forwarded your call to would include a note. But! Just in case! I am forwarding her this blog entry as well.

    I bet in a lot of cases, it really is a matter of just having no idea what to do. After all, we're told both that "a cover letter is a must" and "nobody reads cover letters."

    I remember once offering someone who wanted to hire me for a project either my one-page resume, or the full 6-page version. She thought for a moment, then ripped a middle page out of the long one (the page with my publications on it), copied my email address onto it, and handed the rest back to me. I don't think she'd have wanted a cover letter, lol. (I still work for her, incidentally.)

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