You Had Me At Generous Margins

28 Jul

At some point every writer has to bite the bullet and start down the submissions trail. It’s not easy taking that last leap – and nor should it be – but it’s something every writer needs to do if they wish to be taken seriously in the industry. After all, you can’t really call yourself a writer if you never put your work out there, cross your fingers and hope, can you?

This is where I’m at right now. I’ve put the novel on the backburner for today (or at least for the morning) while I work on a submission for a short story I wrote a few months ago. It’s been sitting in my “completed works” folder on my Mac for a while now, just waiting for the right competition to come by so I can send it away and wish it luck in the world. I think I’ve found the right comp for my story – but how do you ever really know?

The submission guidelines were easier to understand than I thought. If they’d simply said “industry standard,” I would have been freaking out, because who in the amateur world knows what “industry standard” really means? Thankfully they’ve made it easy for me: 1.5 line spacing, typed, white A4 sheet, one-sided, generous margins.

Oh, the generous margins conundrum! How wide is too wide? What is considered “too thin” in the world of margins? I don’t really know. But I’ve been told that editors love a good 3cm margin, so that’s what I’ll be using from now on… or until an editor tells me otherwise. So if you’re an editor reading my blog and you don’t like 3cm margins, please speak now or forever hold your peace!

Soon, “Heart” will be released into the cutthroat world of acceptance and rejection. How do I know the story is ready? I don’t. I’m just going to cross my fingers, close my eyes, give the envelope a little kiss and let it go. And hope for the best. It’s all any writer can ever do.


14 Responses to “You Had Me At Generous Margins”

  1. Angela 28/07/2010 at 9:14 am #

    Wishing your story all the luck in the world as it flies out into the world on it’s newfound wings!!

  2. denise 28/07/2010 at 9:17 am #

    Hello there. Good post. Don’t let me confuse you but I put up a post on the Wet Ink Short Story comp. yesterday. Up to 5000 words. They’re quite literary, but the prize is $3000 and publication in their mag etc.

    I’m about at the same stage as you, but it is hard to know when to stop polishing and send off your ms.

    The best!!! Denise ..:)

    • thewritingant 28/07/2010 at 9:22 am #

      Thanks, Denise. 🙂 I hadn’t seen the WetInk comp – I’ll go take a look at it, as that’s a pretty big cash prize and you don’t see it often in short story comps.

      All the best with your entry, too! xx a

  3. Carol Ann Hoel 28/07/2010 at 9:22 am #

    I wish you well. I will soon be writing query letters for my novel. Thank you for the good advice.

    • thewritingant 28/07/2010 at 9:27 am #

      Thanks, Carol.

      I’m not at the novel-querying stage yet, but I’m hoping to be doing that come December. Best of luck with your novel! xx a

  4. Fleur McDonald 28/07/2010 at 9:38 am #

    Oh, scary times! I remember the first rejection letter I got, I hugged it to my chest and jumpped up and down! Why? I thought, ‘Now I’m a real author, I’ve got my first rejection letter!’

    Wishing you all the luck in the world!

    • thewritingant 28/07/2010 at 9:46 am #

      Thank you, Fleur! That’s such a positive spin on rejection letters. I’d never thought of it that way before, but I’ll remember that for when I get my first rejection letter. It’s certainly a nice way of looking at it.

      Thank you for the luck. xx a

  5. John S. Duffy 28/07/2010 at 10:11 am #

    I’ve gotten so many rejections letters my “Inbox” subject line reads, “You know you suck.” on a regular basis. Though an errant visitor here I agree with Fleur McDonald. Rejection is a sign you’re heading somewhere…

    Pay close attention to the submission requirements.
    Editors/Publishers hate feeling as if you’ve ignored their wishes. Send it out as many times as possible and let them know (via a cover letter) you are in fact sending it out to as many as possible.

    It’s fun being rejected a few times. Every writer you admire and love has been rejected. Every single one of them.

    Enjoy the burn, accept the fringe.


    • thewritingant 29/07/2010 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, John, and thanks for the tips re: submission. I don’t think being rejected will have the same stigma for me now after reading yours and Fleur’s comments. In fact, I think I might be a little excited just to join the “rejection” club. 🙂

  6. Karen Tyrrell 29/07/2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Amber, I wish you the very best of luck with this competition. Hope you hear good news soon:))

  7. miss ali 30/07/2010 at 8:32 am #

    fabulous post amber, i loved it! and what wonderful comments from everybody! xxx

    • thewritingant 30/07/2010 at 8:35 am #

      Thank you, sweetie! Yes, everybody is super-kind. I love my blog readers (and you). Mwah! xxx

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