When submitting your work, it is important to read the Guidelines.
Editor’s Note: When submitting your work, it is super-very-important to read the Guidelines.
Always remember that you are competing with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other writers. And that means someone is trying to process hundreds, sometimes thousands, of poems, stories, and images. So read the guidelines, because the first cull happens right when you click send.
Some Guidelines are really strict. The always-lovely online journal One, for instance, says:
Submit only one poem per issue via email. In the ‘subject’ field put your last name and the word Submit (ex. Krawiec Submit).
Do not attach your poem as a separate file. Copy your poem into the body of the email, followed by a 50 word Bio.
And the guys there are really strict with that. If you don’t follow it to the T, you’ll be asked to resubmit, which is very polite, as most places will just toss your submission in the junk folder.
Southword, for instance, asks you to submit separate files to their Submitable page.
The Stinging Fly, right up until just recently, only accepted entries through Snail Mail! Although that’s now, finally, changed.
It might be annoying to go through the Guidelines and find out exactly what each magazine is looking for, but if you actually want to get published then you better start paying attention. Because you are one in hundreds, sometimes thousands, and that intern needs to cut the submissions in half before sending them to the editor. This is just the harsh truth in the world of writing.
So if that’s Submission Guidelines, what are House Rules?
Well, let’s say you submit a poem (properly!) and it gets accepted (wohoo!). Now the magazine is going to format the piece for their website and print editions, and they’re going to want the whole piece to have a cohesive feel to it. So they have a specific font they’ll use, a size they’ll fit everything to, they’ll know what they want to italicise, when they want to indent, and whether they can live with the oxford comma or not.
Possibly the most famous House Rule is the New Yorker’s use of the Diaeresis. When you get published in the New Yorker, if you write the word Co-ordination, or coordination, they will change it to coördination. You have no choice in this. That’s just the way they do things ’round there.
The only time you should really challenge a magazine’s House Rule is if the change interferes with the meaning of your piece. If an italics or a comma messes with what you’re trying to say.
And so, for reference, here are Stanzas’ Guidelines and House Rules, active as of right now, June 2017.
- Email your entries to email@example.com
- In the Subject Line, add your name, the month of submission, and the Theme. (ie, Shane Vaughan – May, Tension)
- Attach each piece in a separate document.
- Clearly label each piece with your name and the name of the piece (ie, Shane Vaughan – My Poemy Womey)
- Poetry can be of any length (though preferably 40 lines or less)
- Prose can be of any length (though preferably of 3,000 words or less)
- Flash Fiction can be Up To 1,000 words.
- Images Must be in Black and White unless otherwise stated.
- Images must be JPEG or PNG.
- Simultaneous Submissions are allowed, but discouraged. Please notify us if someone else takes your work.
- We write predominantly in Garamond.
- We use the En Dash (and more rarely the Em Dash)
- We do not capitalise new lines unless proceeded by a full stop.
- We use single quote marks for dialogue, or italicise the quote.
- If a line in your poem runs out of space, we will put it on a new line and indent it slightly.
You may not agree with all that, and that’s fine, we’re not saying any of it is right, we’re just saying… that’s how we do things ‘round here.
This blog post was written by Shane ‘Come Here And I Tell You’ Vaughan. If you have something to say and nowhere to say it, why not send it to us? If we like it, we’ll put it up!