Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Formatting a Manuscript, Part IV, Call for Submisions

This article is the last of the series, Formatting a Manuscript. 

1.      Do not staple the pages together. Place the pages in an envelope. If the manuscript is just a few pages, you may paperclip them together. I do this for picture books. If your manuscript is too large for an envelope, a box works well. Special boxes can be purchased. 

Before submitting a manuscript to any publisher, check their webpage for the guidelines. Some publishers have specific guidelines that must be followed and may vary from these tips. The tips I’ve listed are acceptable with many publishers, but there is no single, correct manuscript format. 

2.      This tip goes beyond formatting a manuscript but is an important tip to know. Mail the package as Media Mail, a special, discounted type of shipping that is allowed for manuscripts. Do NOT use any type of mailing that requires an editor to sign for the delivery. That is a major hassle editors do not want. 

My goal with an editor is to follow the Standard Manuscript Format so my work will be the primary focus, not the formatting. Make the format “transparent” so your work will stand out.

 Call for submissions for adult writers:

Writing in Dialogue Competition. Hosted by Pen and Keyboard Writers (an affiliate of OWFI – Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) Rules:
1.     
Only one entry per person
2.     Entry must consist of only dialogue or internal monologue (thoughts in italics).
3.     Entry should be a short story with conflict and resolution.
4.     Entry must not exceed 750 words.
5.     Include word count after the end of the story, 3-4 empty lines after last line.
6.     Entry must be double spaced1” margins all around, typed in Times New Roman 12 font or equivalent.
7.     Contestant’s name, full address, phone number, and preferred email address needed in upper right hand corner of first page. This part can be single spaced.
8.     Title, name of contestant, and page number needed in one line on top of pages after first page.
9.     Entry is to be sent as a Word document attachment to 
pen.keyboard@gmail.com. Only electronic entries accepted.
NOTE: Grammar, spelling, and correct punctuation are absolutely essential for top rated stories. This contest is about craftsmanship. As a side note, your judges are patently biased towards stories with some kind of conflict and some kind of resolution.
Deadline:  August 15, midnight CDT.

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Formatting a Manuscript, Part III, Call for Submisions

More tips on formatting a manuscript: 

1.      A chapter heading can be placed from one to six double-spaced lines down from the top of the page, and the headings can be either centered or left-justified. Drop down two double-spaced lines to begin your story. Each chapter should begin on a new page. Use the same formatting for each chapter. If you drop down four double-spaced lines for the chapter heading in Chapter 1, follow that format for subsequent chapters. 

2.      Left justify each paragraph. The right margins will be “ragged.” 

3.      Double-space the text, and put one space, not two, after a period. When I first started writing professionally, two spaces were accepted, but today the general rule is one space. 

4.      Indent the first line of each paragraph about 1/2 inch.  

5.      Some writers type “End” or The end” at the conclusion of the text. Some do not. It’s a matter of personal choice, unless the publisher’s guidelines state otherwise. 

Next week, I’ll list more tips on formatting a manuscript.           

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Today's Parent. Pays $1/word. Monthly magazine for parents of children up to age 12. Articles are 1,800 to 2,500 words. Canadian slanted. Several smaller columns open to freelancers:
Profile – 250 words
Your Turn (personal experiences) – 800 words
Beyond Motherhood (not related to parenting) – 700 words
Education – 1,200 words
Health Behavior – 1,200 words
Slice of Life (lighter side of parenting) – 750 words
Please send letters, freelance submissions or queries to: editors@todaysparent.com
Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Formatting a Manuscript, Part II/Call for Submissions

This article is the second of the series, Formatting a Manuscript.

1.      Use a one-inch margin on all sides. A manuscript should look neat and be easy to read.

2.      Create a title page, but don’t number it. At the top left, write your name and address, phone number and e-mail address, single spaced, left-justified. On top right, place the word count. Half-way down the page write the title in ALL CAPS, centered. Write “by” centered and one double-spaced line beneath the title and your name or pen name centered and one double-spaced line beneath the word “by." A cover page is not necessary for short stories and picture books.
 
3.      First page of manuscript—a header should be in the upper right-hand corner, followed by page 1. Microsoft Word will automatically number the pages in consecutive order. The header should include last name, title, page number. I don't usually use a header for page 1. The same information is on the top of that page, so I start with page 2. Microsoft Word has the option of beginning headers on page 2. The header is an important feature for the editor. If the pages fall off a desk, they can be reassembled more easily and not mixed with another manuscript when the author's name, story title, and page numbers are listed. It's convenient for this writer, too, who has been known to drop pages while in the process of preparing a manuscript for submission. Convenience, that's always a plus.
 
Next week, I’ll list more tips on formatting a manuscript. 

Call for submissions for adult writers:
Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize. Free contest gives $500 and 25 copies for a poetry chapbook, 20-40 single-spaced pages. The $500 prize is actually an advance against royalties. Should the book earn well enough to pay out more than the initial $500, you will continue to earn royalties while the book is still in print. Those specificities will be in the contract. Enter online only. Sponsored by Casey Shay Press, an independent publishing company based in Austin, Texas.
 
Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

 

 

 


 






 
 
 

 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

 

 







 




 
 
 

 

 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Formatting a Manuscript, Part I/Call for Submissions

By request, this blog is the first in a series based on formatting a manuscript. [Thank you, Charles F. for the suggestion.]

According to an old British saying, If you don’t go to the fair, you can’t win the coconut. In writing terms I interpret this to mean If you don’t submit a manuscript, you can’t win a contract. Sometimes when you check a publisher’s submission guidelines, the “standard manuscript format” (or “SMF”) is listed. Let’s look at what SMF means.

1.      Always type the manuscript. Never send a handwritten document. (I’m sure everyone knows this. I’m just covering all bases.)

2.      Many publishers prefer a 12-point font size. Times New Roman is what I use, but Courier is okay, too.

3.      The ink should always be black and the paper white. Black ink for the envelopes, too. I handwrite the publisher’s address and use a label for the return address. If you prefer a printed label for the publisher’s address, that will work. I use a manila envelope so I don’t have to fold the manuscript, even it is only 2-3 pages. I buy these envelopes in packages of 100 because they are much cheaper when purchased in large quantity. They can be stored easily. For the self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) I use a white business envelope for the editor’s response and state that I want the manuscript recycled. This saves paper, plus it also saves on the return postage. A business envelop is much cheaper to mail than a larger manila version. Over time, this can prove to be a huge savings.
 
4.      Print the manuscript on one side of the paper, not front and back.

Next week, I’ll list more tips on formatting a manuscript.      

Call for submissions for adult writers: 

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Stories about Dogs
We love stories about our dogs and the amazing things they do. They are part of our families. We include them in our celebrations and even buy them gifts for special occasions. They have a special place in our lives and in our hearts. What do you do to make your dog feel special? What does your dog expect from you? How has your dog changed your life? We know you'll have many great stories for us about how you pamper your pooch and how your pooch is included in your family. Stories can be serious or humorous... or both. The deadline for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2013.

Details at http://www.chickensoup.com/form.asp?cid=submit_story

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Word Choice /Call for Submissions

More tips on Word Choice.

1.      Be aware of the overuse of adverbs. Instead, focus on action verbs to tell the tale. She ran paints a generalized picture. Try hurried, sprinted, or loped for a specific movement. 

2.      Read the story aloud to see if the words flow naturally. If the tongue trips over some, try rewriting for more natural prose. If you read aloud to an audience, such as a critique group or reading club, you’ll also reap the benefits of constructive criticism. The feedback can point out the parts that work and those that need more revision.
 
3.      Trim the word count. If every word is not necessary, cut it. In revision, I usually delete several words and sentences. Redundancy bores the reader and bogs down the story. 

The right words can bring a story to life as if creating a movie in the reader’s mind. Words are the basic building blocks for writers. Razzle-dazzle your writing with choices that surprise and delight the readers.            

Call for submissions for adult writers:
 
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Stories about Cats We love stories about our cats. They are part of our families or perhaps it might be better to say that they allow us to think of them as family! We include them in our celebrations and buy them gifts for special occasions. They have a special place in our lives and in our hearts. What do you do to make your cat feel special? What does your cat expect from you? How has having a cat changed your life? We know you'll have many great stories for us about how you cater to your cat and how your cat is included in your family. Stories can be serious or humorous... or both. The deadline for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2013. 

 
Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/