Remember 2 weeks ago when I mentioned I’d written a short story? I submitted it to a magazine!
I looked around for a good place to submit and found that the best place to offer it was a magazine I’d enjoyed as a kid. Looking over the requirements, I decided that middle grade (ages 8-12) was my target audience.
So, next, I edited the language and implied violence for that level. I tweaked the word count so it was under their maximum, 1,800 words. (They accept longer, but only as installments, but the story is one scene with a lot of banter, so that didn’t make sense. Then, I sent it to a friend to read over and see what tweaks he’d suggest. We chatted back and forth a bit. I made adjustments until we were happy.
Then, I let it sit a week.
Last Thursday, I reread it, made a few final tweaks, and then began the submission process.
I work in GoogleDocs, so I saved it off as a MS Word file and sent it to a friend to make sure it opened properly (with the right header info on every page). They wanted my address and contact info centered on the top of each page, with the word count in the upper right on the first page. I tried opening it in OpenOffice and it was header-less. I wasn’t sure if I could fix it! Then, my friend got back to me. *Whew* It looked right.
Did you know that short stories typically just have cover letters instead of query letters? So, I researched cover letters. They’re MUCH shorter and briefer and don’t necessarily even include a hook. Because the entire story is sent with the query. It makes sense, because of the word count. My novel I’ve been working on for 3 years? Hovers around 100,000 words. 7 pages versus 400? No wonder they can read it.
The version of cover letter I opted for includes the intro line, where you state the novel name and exact word count. Actually, it was like a business printed letter, so it started with my address and contact info, followed by their address and contact info. The editor’s name is never mentioned, and resisted my google attempts, and they have “first readers” that help filter, so I ended up addressing it, as they asked the submissions address be done, plus the readers: “Dear Submissions Editor and First Readers,”
Then, a 1 line bio. WHAT? How can I describe myself in 1 line? Also, I have no writing credits, so what do I put there? I ended up with something along the lines of: “When I’m not writing in my own dragon’s lair, I can be found coding in Northern Virginia.” Because RAWR!
The final line, you say why you picked them to submit. I admitted that I loved them from when I started reading to myself and that I hoped I’d be a good fit!
So, I filled out their online form, copy/pasted my drafted cover letter where they asked for it and hit SUBMIT.
Minutes later, I got the confirmation email.
Their turn around time is 3-6 months.
Wish me luck!!