Article: Submitting to Literary Magazines 101: Professionalism

Topic discussing a blog post: Submitting to Literary Magazines 101: Professionalism.

http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/submitting-to-literary-magazines-101-professionalism/

I came across this link on Facebook, and followed it out of curiosity to see what they had to say about the “rules” of submitting to literary magazines. Interestingly, what Pat Bertram claims are the rules of the submitting to literary violate what is common knowledge for speculative fiction magazines. Listed below I listed the major differences I noticed. “Literary” refers to the comments entered by Vince Gotera (though he may not speak for the entire genre, he speaks as though he does).

1. Cover letter
Literary: The cover letter should be entertaining and chatty–no publication history. This one surprises me. After all, editors have a lot of work to do, right? Wouldn’t they rather get down to business instead of reading a chatty cover letter that has no bearing on the submission itself?
Spec Fic: Bare bones, only what’s useful, publication history if you have one, otherwise just a title and word count.

2. Font
Literary: Use Times New Roman because it’s easier to read. Do NOT use typewriter fonts like Courier.
Spec Fic: The industry standard manuscript format is Courier. The reasoning I’ve heard is that it’s easier to estimate the space require to print the story with a monospaced font.

3. Pen names
Literary: frowned-upon, though the reasoning seemed more opinion than based on any sound reasoning.
Spec Fic: use them if you want, why should the editor care?

This raises a couple questions for me:
1. what do you do when you submit to a magazine that considers itself both literary and spec fic?
2. Does this guy actually speak for the whole industry?

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David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David also writes articles here and edits the fiction. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on Twitter for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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