Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 29, 2012

OOPS! Do As I Say, Not As I Do/Contest

When working with editors, our goal always is to mail an error-free manuscript and cover letter. In this electronic age when a simple press of the “send” key flings our work into cyberspace, it’s easy to overlook an error. Some publishing houses are now accepting manuscripts by electronic submission. The good news is two-fold: they accept manuscripts and emailing is free. So what’s the downside? Sometimes, we tend to ship out precious manuscript cargo without printing a hard copy. Catching our own mistakes is difficult because we read the work as we intend it to be rather than the way it is actually written and finding mistakes is more difficult when reading a computer screen. I made this mistake as recently as last week’s blog article in which I wrote “road” and it should have been “rode.”

I reread the article two or three times but overlooked the mistake with each reading. Had that been a cover letter, an editor probably would not have read further. Cover letters MUST be error-free and so should picture book manuscripts. Overlooking a grammatical error of longer manuscripts for middle grade and young adult manuscripts would probably not be a major problem for an editor if the mistakes are few and far between, but errors are totally unacceptable in cover letters and short manuscripts.

Happy writing and double-check, make that triple-check, your work. Even better, have a critique partner or two read it. Their eyes are fresh since they’re reading the work for the first time.

Stories for beginning readers in 500 words or fewer. We welcome stories of any genre (mystery, historical fiction, sports, humor, holiday, friendship, etc.) as long as the stories are intended for kids ages 6–8.

Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for any Highlights Foundation Founders Workshop. (For a complete list of workshops, visit
All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2013.
No entry form or fee is required.
Entrants must be at least 16 years old at the time of submission.
We welcome work from both published and unpublished authors. All submissions must be previously unpublished.

Stories may be any length up to 500 words. Indicate the word count in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of your manuscript.
Include your name and the title of your story on your manuscript.
No crime, violence, or derogatory humor.
Entries not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned.
Manuscripts or envelopes should be clearly marked FICTION CONTEST. Those not marked in this way will be considered as regular submissions to Highlights.
Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
The three winning entries will be purchased by Highlights and announced on in June 2013. All other submissions will be considered for purchase by Highlights.

Check out more contests on my blog:

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