Megan Martin is my guest today. She’s an editor, novelist, avid reader and mum, er, uh, mom. Megan edits with Breathless Press and can be contacted for freelance editing as well. Megan, welcome:
Thanks for having me! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this post because I really want to express to authors/readers what I find most important to me when opening up a submission to read. There are a lot of things that factor in on my decision to accept, but today I want to talk about something that a lot of writers often overlook and/or devalue.
This is the first thing I notice when I open up a sub—whether or not it has been formatted according to the Breathless Press Submission Guidelines. A lot of authors don’t realize that this is the first test on whether or not they can follow directions.
Opening a properly formatted ms says a lot to me about an author and their drive to be published. You would be surprised at how rarely I receive a sub that has correctly followed all of the set guidelines. The thought crosses my mind—if this person can’t follow directions now, when they’re trying to win me over, who is to say they will later?
As a writer, do you really want a potential editor/agent to question your work ethic before they even start reading your manuscript? I think it’s safe to say the answer would be no.
The publisher I work for, Breathless Press, is really cracking down on submissions that aren’t properly formatted. Every publisher is different as far as their guidelines go, and I know this is annoying, having to change your margins and spacing around for every separate sub you send in. Keep in mind how important it is—this is, on all accounts, the editor’s first impression of you. Don’t hurt your chances because you didn’t take the extra five minutes to follow directions.
Of course, with all of this being said, I never accept a sub based on formatting alone. There are obviously a lot of other things that I look at when reviewing an ms. Just don’t forget how important the little things are!
Megan D. Martin is a multi-published author, mother, student and editor. In her spare time she enjoys decorating her house with strange things that do not match, playing her old school Nintendo Entertainment System, and buying fish for her many fish tanks.