Friday, March 18, 2016

Use is the premier, most-used submissions website for most professional magazines, contests, and awards for prose/poetry submissions, whether for print or online outlets.

Submittable keeps track of all your submissions online. It is not a site where you will find writing contests or requests. Use Yahoo Groups CRWOPPS and Poets & Writers et al for that. If there's a cost to submit, you do it on Submittable with a credit card.

First, it's FREE to register.

Second, it shows a professional organization has a good handle on all submissions if it's using Sumittable. Remember, it's only an online vehicle to direct your pieces to the proper organization/requester. Part of your fee goes to Submittable, but that's transparent.

Third, it's electronic and very easy to use. It keeps track of all of your submissions.

Fourth, in 90% of cases you'll upload a PDF, so ensure there are no typing errors: no typos, misspellings, incorrect punctuation or missing capitals etc.

Fifth, use a standard font, usually 12 point . Use Times New Roman or thick font, but never use a fancy font like Gothic unless for a special effect, and in short doses. Don't use a thin font like Garamond for even though it saves ink, it's compressed. You want your words to stand out on the page. Use BOLD sparingly, but do for Titles. In EVERY CASE use the font they tell you to use.

Sixth, only submit what the contest or magazine guidelines tell you to and how. If they want a PDF, submit a PDF, or Word doc etc. That goes for font, length, number or words, everything.

Seventh, it's secure. Add your credit card info when you submit. As a rule of thumb I won't submit if the fee is over $15. Even then it must accept three poems or more, for example, in return for my payment. Always print your receipt.

Eighth, submit to premier publications like Glimmertrain often. Never give up. If you happen to succeed first time out, congratulations.

Follow the requester's submission Guidelines

Every contest, award or request will have Submission Guidelines. Follow them to the "T" or you will be rejected and passed over. You'll have a lot of competition, don't screw up.

Some organizations want it single-spaced, others double-spaced. Most tell you the type and font size to use. All say clearly either how many pieces to submit, and poetry is usually in single-column. All say how many words if applicable as in chapbooks and short stories, and especially manuscripts. 

Submit before the deadline. Many good sites will send you an acknowledgement, but remember, the fact you used Submittable is concrete proof you submitted, so most won't. Most sites will not tell you your piece(s) was rejected or not used, and will only announce the winners, or in most cases, simply publish the winners without telling you. So keep track of their stated publication dates. This is important, because if you weren't accepted this means you can submit the same piece(s) elsewhere.

Most contests or requests allow for "Simultaneous submissions," which means you can submit the same piece to multiple outlets at the same time. (I stay away from ones that are exclusive) However, if a piece is accepted by one, you must immediately inform the other sites that you are withdrawing the pieces you submitted to them. A few orgs will request that you submit a DOC like MS-Word docx, so be sure to follow their requirements.

Submittable allows a space on their Submission Page for your Short Bio. Never print your bio info, your name, your contact information etc within the documents you upload, unless they say to do so. Submittable will forward the contact info you registered with to the contest organisers for you. 

Remember that the judges will never see your name, only the organizers will know.

If you are chosen, some orgs may ask you to edit or fix your document. Do so quickly without complaint or argument. It's not a negotiation. If a winning fee or monetary prize is involved, it's usually paid to you within 30-days of publication. 

Now go Submit!

Opinion Copyright 2016 Rodney Richards

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