Yes, this is a rant! A big, fat rant!
Some editors are too polite to rant about this particular topic, but I’m not known to be a polite fellow, so I’ll go ahead and say what we all feel.
There’s this problem, see: a big damn mistake that keeps getting made, and not just by aspiring noobs, but also by published writers who should know better. To be honest, this particular mistake makes me sometimes wonder how the hell they even got published in the first damn place!
The problem? Improper formatting!
No. Not just improper. PISS POOR formatting!
Not only do they SUCK at following guidelines (y’know, 12 point font, New Courier or Times New Roman, as a .doc or .rtf only), the dummies can’t even do basic formatting right! It’s like none of them have ever read Vonda N. McIntyre’s Manuscript Preparation; before. The only time that article shouldn’t be followed with religious zeal is when the editor specifically says something different in his guidelines, like “single spaced, no indents, space between paragraphs.” If he asks for that, then that’s what you give him. If he doesn’t specify, than standard format is what you do. Seriously, how damn hard is that to understand?
But I decided I’d be a nice editor and not get all tricky with you. I kept it simple. Standard formatting, 12 point font, Courier or Roman. And I was perfectly fine with people getting “creative” with the formatting so long as they kept it readable. But some, it appears, can’t even do that!
Okay, not all seem to fail at it, but a lot do. So much so, that I give up wasting time to ask folk to “Please follow correct formatting. After all, you wouldn’t go to a job interview without looking your best, so why would you do the equivalent to your manuscript?”
Instead, from henceforth, I shall reply with the following term: F.I.R.I.! Which stands for: Format It Right, Idiot!
So repeat after me: “Vonda N. McIntyre is God, and her ‘Manuscript Preparation’ article is Law.” Now repeat that over and over until you finally get that in your head.
Now repeat: “The Editor is God, and his/her guidelines are Law.”
And for the love of all that is holy! If you submit a story to a faery-themed anthology, the least you can do is have a damn faery or two in the damn story! Sheesh!
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