I think the best closing for a query letter is a simple, thank you for your time and consideration. Send out and get back to work writing and reading. How to receive a rejection, a standard rejection slip will have a wording that was worked out, sometimes long ago, to let people down and move. It is in no way personal. Do not brood over. Note the rejection in your records. If you have established a pecking order of magazines, you sent the submission to one high on your list.
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If you have credentials include them, but be simple and succinct. . Many magazines are interested in discovering people, so there is no shame in saying, If you select this story, it would be my first publication. I think it is better not to list things that almost happened. Its fine to cite winning a contest, but 12th place just says 11 were birthday ahead of you. Dont assume the letter is a sales pitch. Upon arrival, your information may be read by someone opening the mail or logging files. That somebody may flag a previous contributor, a person whose submission has been solicited, or someone who has been asked to send again. But you cannot expect the editor will definitely see the letter, nor will a letter make the editor read the story differently than other work in the pile. What you send should not be full of explanations, plot summaries, testimonials (my friends love it) and pleas (Even if you must reject, please send me comments.). Put your creativity, humor, and sensibility into the work you submit. You are writing a business letter to a busy person.
Make sure your submission is done in the format asked for on the magazines website, and pay attention to the reading period. If a cover letter is part of the set-up, use the right name for the editor you are approaching, spelled correctly. You can include one sincere sentence about the magazine to show that you have really read. I especially enjoyed so-and-sos story or poem in your Spring issue, because of: say something specific here. You have no idea how ridiculously rare this. (Note, if you do not like any work in a magazine, you should not be sending there. You and the editor are not going to be on a wavelength.). Other than demonstrating that you have done your homework, essentially a cover letter or uploaded statement conveys information about what about genre your submission is in and who you are.
How unified, inventive, and polished does a story have to be to be published? Which editors like what? Odds are you spondylolisthesis have read the work of your classmates, and the work of masters. Now you want to see the work of the people who are just maybe a step or three ahead of you. Read the contributors notes, which can lead you to find where those whose work you like are publishing and so follow trails through the literary world. Identify magazines you love, ones where the work excites you and speaks to what you want. Start to create a list, making pecking orders of ones you are interested in, based on their visibility, circulation, reputation, pay, attractiveness, or whatever factors matter to you. Then you are ready to begin degenerative sending your work out. Submission, keep good records of what you send where, when.
I told my questioners, if they didnt believe me, to look. Dan Chaons interview in, the review review, and read the reviews there, to look. New m, awp chronicle, poets writers, and, facebook (where journals have community pages which will send you helpful reminders of when they are reading and start to make a list of magazines to investigate. Then, i repeated, choose some to read. If they are on-line and free, its easy. If theyre print journals, you may see a sample on the website, but you should go ahead and order the magazines whose samples intrigue you. A good tip: go in together with four other people and each subscribe to a couple of journals, and then share them. Then you can discuss the work that was chosen, which can be a great amplification of your usual workshopping. What do these pieces have (or not have) compared to the work you and your friends are writing?
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Yes, those were ancient times. Its easier now, but you still need to read magazines and I still advocate having a set time to do this research, keeping it apart from your writing. . And then youll be ready to send your work out. Three out of three went on to say, but does anybody ever read these magazines? . (Implying that because they havent, no one does.).
Yes, i said, people. Writers who want to learn what kind of writing gets published where, what it takes to break. Writers who want to learn their craft. Youll see things that you dont like and things that stun you and teach you. In addition, other business editors, agents, and even some people who just like to read, read magazines. Gulf Stream, a couple of smart agents and more than one editor wrote to ask for the contact information for contributors whose work they liked.
Am i an idiot? Will my parents stop suggesting other jobs I could do given my education? Will strangers want to sleep with me because of my prose? None of this is of interest to the editor. Remember the editors deepest wish: Send something perfect for us, please. So your job is to help the editor by sending work that is developed, complete, thoroughly revised, and—of great importance—appropriate for the magazine.
To do that last part of your job well, you have to read the magazines. Not long ago, within a few days, three aspiring writers stopped me (in the office, in the parking lot, and at an airport gate) to ask: Where should I send my story which is over 20,000 words long? Where should I send my work where it will be accepted as fast as possible? The agent i approached about my novel says I have to have a track record. What magazine likes grown-up fables that are a little weird? They were asking for a shortcut. Its natural to want one, when you feel small in a big unknown world, and impatient, wanting results immediately. . But I said, to each: you cant expect to be a professional if you dont do your own homework. When I was starting out, i told my questioners, i spent at least one day each month in a library, reading literary magazines and taking notes on index cards.
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Your Job, you, of course, are a writer. Lets say you are just starting to send out. You are thinking, Am i any good? Will this make people i love believe im worthwhile? Is that third paragraph unnecessary as R said in workshop, statement but I still like it, and if i keep it, and my story gets published then that will show r, but what if r is right after all? Is this my first step to fame and glory? Am i a genius? Am i in fact too good for this magazine Im sending summary to or not good enough? .
One pleasure is sending out the acceptances, and knowing somebody is made happy. At the same time, the editor sends out flotillas of form rejections. This is a job to delegate, if possible, its so depressing. Those who think the editor is rejecting with some pleasure in hurting are resume entirely wrong. The editor, with an eye to the long run and a pang for those who come close, may send a few rejections that contain a word or two of encouragement, or even a longer letter. (see below for how to handle each of these possibilities.). Yes, the editor is a gate-keeper, controlling entrée to something you want, but that is really of more importance to you than to the editor. . The editors eye is on the magazine.
again, resolving not to give in to the temptation to say no as fast as possible in order to shrink the pile on the table, or the long. The editor knows that because of the accumulation of negative thoughts, it is possible to miss something wonderful and make a mistake. The editor, despite this, notices some good pieces, puts them aside to reread, sees in the light of second reading what holds up, and then passes the work along and meets with the other editor, or four, or eleven, and listens to their views, argues. The editor then moves on to overseeing the production of the issue (online, downloadable pdf, broadside, stapled, perfect bound, whatever it may be, this is hard, detailed work while at the same time commencing to read for the next, trying to get together the money. Unless the magazine is a big commercial enterprise, the editor is continuously reading, selecting, working on production and lay-out, trying to get money or workers or both, and trying to get the magazine seen. The editor is tired and busy. Much of the editors work is invisible. What gets published may, possibly, go on to win awards or be anthologized, which helps to cast some reflected glory back on the magazine, but recognitions for an editor are few.
Instead the editor, having read 17 things this morning, keeps going, thinking: A run-on sentence in the first line! Oh no, another story with the character waking up hung-over and getting a phone call. . Why must they flash back before anything interesting happens? That isnt really funny. We dont publish slogan travel articles. Does no one read the guidelines? This one gets good in the middle, but then the character just sits down and thinks about stuff.
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Featured Article, thanks to all authors for creating a slogan page that has been read 360,650 times. Did this article help you? By lynne barrett, the Editors Job, a magazine editor is a person who enjoys bringing new writing to the world in a publication that will be seen, read, appreciated, and talked about. This is the first fact anyone submitting to a magazine should understand. There may be two editors, or five, or a rotating group of a dozen student-editors on a board, but for purposes of this essay, lets consider one who, if not totally in charge, has a large say in what goes. This editor is committed to the magazine, to it reaching a readership, to its identity and survival. The editor wants nothing more than to read something so fresh and powerful and polished there is no question it must be in the journal.