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The Power of Presentation
by Shaunna Privratsky
The debate rages on, to send submissions via
e-mail or the traditional paper and postage way, otherwise known as snail mail.
For the most part, editors have moved into the 21st Century and accept or even
encourage e-mail submissions. However, there are still some holdouts who prefer
or demand postal mail.
The key for every writer is to determine from
the guidelines the proper format to send your precious manuscript. Send it
incorrectly and you can count on a quick Delete or a fast trip to FILE
When I first became a writer, I had very limited
access to computers. All of my submissions were through the postal service. I
spent a small fortune on paper, ink, envelopes, paperclips, mailing labels and
of course, postage.
The clerks at our local Post Office came to know
me by name. I had an annoying habit of requesting IRC's. [International Reply
Coupons] For some reason, the Fargo, North Dakota Post Office was flummoxed by
such an "unusual request." In ten years I was only the second person to ask for
The postal service earned its nickname "snail
mail" for a reason. After I mailed something I would wait. And wait, and wait
some more. Sometimes I'd wait forever and never receive a reply, even though I
faithfully enclosed return postage and a SASE.
Nowadays, I craft a query or send a submission
with the click of the Send key. Sometimes the reply is within minutes, or the
following day. Regardless, the response time is remarkably faster.
I rarely send anything by mail anymore. I've
saved quite a bit on postage, but also on all the paper and supplies. Ink tanks
alone were costing me about $30-$40 a month. Now one $10 tank lasts me 3-4
months. Think of the resources that are saved by using e-mail! No more
sacrificed trees or overflowing landfills.
Why are some editors reluctant to accept e-mail
submissions? It could be because many writers don't format their work properly.
Their submissions come through full of weird symbols and strange spacing, or
Just like the traditional postal mail, you
should carefully follow the submission guidelines when sending by e-mail. If
they only want RTF [Rich Text Format] send it that way. If only MS Word will do,
comply or be Deleted. The guidelines are set for a reason, not to make your life
You have a unique opportunity with e-mail
submissions: the subject line. Some markets require a strict adherence to a set
subject line. Writing for Dollars wants the subject line to WFD,
submission, or article to ensure your submission makes it through the
Please don't be cutesy or mysterious. Your
e-mail will end up in the TRASH file or will be filtered out before an editor
even sees it. There is so much unsolicited sp*m out there that you don't want to
be mistaken for an enlargement ad. Use your eye-catching title or key words from
your article or story. For example: Story submission: Boy, cat, ice.
The subject line is your chance to pique the
editor's interest, to get him or her to open your e-mail and reach your
submission, which is all we can ask. Get your literary foot in the door, then
wow everyone with your scintillating submission.
For any submission, stick to the standard,
professional letter form. Even though e-mail is easier and quicker, a casual
"Hiya, editor" will not go down too smoothly. Be courteous and include all
contact information in both e-mail and postal correspondence.
It is up to every writer to decide if you'll go
snail mail or e-mail. You will find the right combination that works for your
flourishing freelance career. Whatever you decide, get out there and start
© Copyright 2004, Shaunna Privratsky
Shaunna Privratsky writes fulltime from North Dakota, in between shoveling snow. Please visit The Writer Within at http://shaunna67.tripod.com. We are looking for new writers and we are a paying market.
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