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Sunday

Chapter 10 Manuscript Preparation

Chapter ten contents
  • Magazine closing dates
  • Chapter ten contents
  • Magazine Closing Dates
  • Preparing Your Manuscripts
  • Formatting Your Manuscript in .pdf
  • From Word Processor to e-mail
  • Submitting Electronically
  • Words to Beware of Using
  • Citing the Bibliography
  • Critique Services
  • Proof Reader
  • Web Design
  • Web Writing
  • Computer Publishing
Magazine closing dates
The magazine closing date is an important date for writers to keep in mind. Advertising is locked in and stories are decided on and assigned in staff meetings by this closing date.

Final manuscripts for assigned stories have to be in by the 'due date.' Knowing these dates can guide your decisions about when to send your query. Target a certain issue (month published) and query several weeks BEFORE the closing date for that month's issue ~~ but not right on the closing date for the previous issue because things get pretty hectic in the office on closing dates.

Make up a calendar of the following magazine closing dates and post it where you'll see it every day!
  • Jan/Feb 2010 issue closes November 10 (copy due by November 30 2009)
  • March/April 2010 issue closes January 1 (copy due by January 30, 2010)
  • May/June 2010 issue closes March 1 (copy due by March 30, 2010)
  • July/August 2010 issue closes May 1 (copy due by May 30, 2010)
  • Sept/Oct 2010 issue closes July 1 (copy due by July 30, 2010)
  • Nov/Dec 2010 issue closes September 1 (copy due by September 30, 2010)
  • Jan/Feb 2011 issue closes November 10 copy due by November 30 2010)
Preparing your manuscripts
When you type your manuscript in a word processor to be printed out and sent by US Postal Service (snail mail) you must double space. It's acceptable to use five-space paragraph indents.

Your name and address go in the upper left hand corner. Do not include your social security number. Tell it to the editor over the phone after the article is assigned and a contract is signed.

Put the rights you are offering and the word count in the upper right hand corner of the manuscript; If you include side bars, give the word count for them separately.

Center the title about 1/3 down the first page. On the next line put the copyright symbol © and the name the manuscript is to be published under (either your name or your pseudonym.)

Be sure to include a header at the top with the manuscript name, your last name, and page numbers on one line. Use a smaller font if necessary.

If you convert a manuscript created in a word processor to e-mail, be sure to change the line-spacing to single space and remove all indents and do a two-space correction.

Since the advent of computers the standard number of spaces following a period should only be one, in either email or print (paper) submissions.

After your manuscript is done, use your word processor's search and replace function. (Generally it pops up when you press Ctrl key and the f key simultaneously.) In the search or find section, press the space bar twice (or type .) In the replace field, press the space bar once (or type .) That will search your document for two spaces and convert the double spaces to a single space.

Wordcounter, http://www.wordcounter.com/, ranks the most frequently used words in any given body of text. Use this to see what words you overuse (is everything a "solution" for you?) or maybe use it to just find some keywords from a document.

This is a good time to use the find function to check your manuscript for word repeats; you know, those words and phrases that we unconsciously use without thinking. Repeats result in redundancy, or worse.

Use two lines between paragraphs. And save the document in ASCII text before copy\pasting into an e-mail.

*Note: A few editors specify they want manuscripts submitted via e-mail to be double spaced. Tip: See
How to Double-space e-mail, http://tinyurl.com/39stcnq.

Address the editor properly.
If you can't get the editor's name from a current magazine call the magazine office and ask for the correct spelling of the appropriate acquisitions editor for your article, or for the Editor-in-Chief.

From word processor to e-mail
The guidelines may request that stories be submitted in Rich Text Format. What does that mean?

Word processors generally allow you to select which format to save as a document before saving (there's a drop down list beneath the space where you type the document's file name.)

Rich Text Format is one, or it may have Ascii format or Text or Plain text. Each saves a file in Ascii -- which is the file format you need to paste into your e-mail, or save on the diskette your editor specifies as a means of getting it to him\her.

Basic drill
Here are my simplified steps for getting articles from the word processor to the e-mail program.
  1. Open the word document
  2. Chose File
  3. SaveAs
In the drop down box that lets you choose how to save your file, select plain text (or ASCII text). When it says, this file exists shall I overwrite it? Answer Yes.
  1. Scroll, pressing Left mouse button and highlight the entire file.
  2. Right mouse click and copy it.
  3. Close the document without saving changesOpen your e-mail program and open a new message
  4. Put mouse pointer in the message and Right mouse click to paste a copy of your article
  5. Address the e-mail to the editor who asked to see it.
Before you send the e-mail, read the message through carefully.

Correct anything that needs it. WYSIWEG! (what you see is what editor gets.)

Now it's ready to send to the editor, and will arrive formatted the same way it left your e-mailer.

Submitting electronically
  • Electronic submission requirements differ with each e-zine, but a few general rules (and some experience) will help you master writing for them.
  • Get e-Zine guides, or query the editor of an e-Zine, electronically.
  • If the magazine's website doesn't offer writers guidelines, find the editor's e-mail address (on the e-Zine site) and send an e-mail asking for guidelines.
  • By following them to the letter you'll learn how the editor wants your story submitted.
  • Some editors will tell you what goes in bold, or to never use italics, etc.
  • Some want the story sent in the body of a regular e-mail, no italics or bold of any kind -- straight text all the way.Other magazines want the story sent in rich text format (RTF) attachment to an e-mail.
Write your e-query letters and e-articles in your word processor where it's easy to edit and polish them until they're impressive. Single space your story, double space between paragraphs.

Remember that nothing on the web is underscored except a web site address (URL); web site addresses are the only things in your manuscript that should ever be underscored.

To let the editor know that you envision certain words emphasized, you can use an asterick (*) before a word. The editor will decide whether to print it bold or italic.

Generally, if it's a title, or something you want underlined, here's how you can do it:
_Kids Master E-Zine Writing Quickly_.

You can make sure the editor knows you're using italics by writing it like the following example:
my laughline.
Another way to indicate italics is by using the HTML marks for Italics. (*Note, there's more about html later.) Example:
"I am thrilled to share with you what I know about writing for e-zines."
If you are uncertain about how the editor wants your submission, send an e-mail to ask for instructions; editors never mind answering those kinds of questions.
Formatting your manuscript in .pdf
When you format your manuscript it's often wise to save it as a .pdf file. If you want a free version of a software to do that you may want to look into Open Office (a free open source word processing program), which converts to .pdf. PDF reDirect Freeware v2.5.0 is now available at EXP Systems, http://tinyurl.com/37guwq4. There are also other .pdf converters that you may want to try.
Some authors claim that laying out a book in Word is never recommended (most publishers use either Quark or InDesign), but you really have to make sure your layout is correct in Word.
You can save as .pdf from most recent versions of Word. The .pdf option is an option when printing, not when saving. Look for the .pdf menu at the bottom of the print box. Most versions offer a number of .pdf options. If you're on a Mac, you can save any document from any application as .pdf from the print box.
Aaron Shepard's book, Perfect Pages, talks about book layout using Word.
Words to beware of using
If you use any of the following words. Ferret them out using the Find function and do your utmost to write them out wherever possible:
  • be
  • been
  • being
  • had
  • have
  • has
  • is
  • was
  • were
Citing the bibliography
Do all necessary research and interviews. Access a library database from your desktop computer (if possible) and print out a whole bibliography on whatever subject, as required. Study this, http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/. Be sure to follow the rules of the Fair Use Guide
 http://tinyurl.com/29lzwj4.

American Psychological Association, Citing Internet Resources APA Style, http://www.apastyle.org/apa-style-help.aspx.

Critique services
Prices vary widely at commercial critique services. Check The Christian Communicator, http://www.christiancommunicator.com/%20to get an idea. However, you can read good free information there at Susan Titus Osborn's blog.

Find others services by using a search engine and typing in "critique service".

There are many great, groups available online and the members all donated critiquing. You're bound to come across many professional writers on some of the lists. These folks have been published, and nothing beats being accepted by paying publications for equipping a writer to offer pertinent and comprehensive critique. Of course, you'll also receive some critiques that are worthless.

Just remember that you're the one in control of what advice you choose to follow, whether you pay for critiques or whether they are free.

Internet Writing Workshop, http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/ is one of the best, interactive free writing groups where members submit their work and critique the writing others submit.

Receiving a wide range of critiques helps a writer revise and polish material. IWW is cost-free and includes critiquing in the following lists:
  • Fiction
  • Lovestory
  • Nonfiction
  • Novels
  • Poetry
  • Practice
  • Prose/Flash- Fiction
  • Script-writing
  • Children &- Young Adult
For information about joining any of the above lists, and for all the other great opportunities available at IWW, visit and follow instructions.

Proof reader
Proofreading services: Find by using a search engine and typing in "proof reader".

Be aware of whether the site is offering free help, or paid for services. Editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques. Additionally, before submitting a book manuscript to agents or editors many authors prefer to engage the services of a book doctor ( not to be confused with editing or proof reading.) While it is not cheap, a good book doctor's service can be invaluable.

Web design
You'll find HTML instruction at an Earthweb.com site called HTML Goodies -- http://www.htmlgoodies.com/

Or study at these sites:
HTML Code Tutorial, http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com/

w3Schools.com, http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp

internet.com, http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/html/

An Introduction To HTML and Web Pages, by P.J. LaBrocca, is available at HTMLementary, http://labrocca.com/htmlementary/. The only restriction is that HTMLementary is for online use only. It may not be downloaded to permanent storage.

In http://www.dogpile.com/ type 'An Introduction To HTML and Web Pages' and it returns multiple links to explore.

Arachnophilia, copyright by P. Lutus, offers a tutorial with visuals, HTML for the Conceptually Challenged, >http://www.arachnoid.com/lutusp/html_tutor.html

Web writing
Writing for the web is different, and it is not web design. Learn about it at Useit.com, Writing For The Web, http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

To find a wealth of information, type web+writing into the search engine, http://www.dogpile.com/

Computer publishing
Learn more at Online Publishers Association, http://www.online-publishers.org/. Their biweekly e-mail newsletter featuring the latest news and research for the online publishing industry offers samples, and can be subscribed to, also.

Exercises,
  1. Write a story, addressing it to an editor at one of the magazines you picked
  2. Convert your story to ASCII and paste a copy into an e-mail.Convert your story to double lines and past a copy into an e-mail.
Tip: Refer to, How to Double-space e-mail: http://tinyurl.com/39stcnq.

Advice From The Pros: http://writerinsidertips.blogspot.com/

5-1, Essay Cover Letters: http://tinyurl.com/2c9axa9

5-2, Expedient Word Processor Functions: http://tinyurl.com/2ao7faw

Next. Chapter 11 - Greeting Card Business: http://tinyurl.com/3xta55u

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