Crafting a Great Submission Email

Writing submission emails

Now that Sexy Little Pages is six months old, I thought I would pull together some of the things I’ve noticed in my capacity as editor. By the way, if you read this and think “argh, she’s talking about me…” these are all things I’ve seen on multiple occasions!

My big bug bear is with submission emails! You’ve spent hours writing and honing your story, so please give it the best possible chance when entrusting it to an editor or publisher. Remember that we will receive lots of emails and files, so keep it simple.

  1. Spelling mistakes: Okay, so we’re all human but if you don’t pay much attention to your email and it’s riddled with typos, it’s not a great first impression. I’m going to assume that your story needs a bit of work too and thankfully for you, that’s where the blind panel readings could save you.
  2. Lack of politeness: I hate receiving emails from someone I don’t know, where the author hasn’t used a salutation. Even “Hi” is enough, but launching straight in seems a little… presumptuous. And don’t forget to sign the email off!
  3. Not reading the requirements:
    1. Subject line: If you’re told to use a particular subject line, please don’t use something different. We usually setup filters to make sure we catch all emails for a particular story and if you use a different subject line, we may miss your story.
    2. Details: If you’re only asked for your pen name, title and word count, sending us your full bio is (a) overkill and (b) really irritating if we have lots of emails to work through.
    3. Fonts: Please do not use lots of bold, italics and font sizes and colours. It hurts to read.
    4. Recipient: In the submission call itself, there’ll be the email address to send the submission to. If you send it elsewhere – to us directly, if there’s an external editor for example – it increases the chances of your story falling between the gaps.
    5. File contents: If you’re not asked to put your personal details inside the file, don’t. Equally, please don’t use headers and footers, funky fonts, colours, weird formatting and stick to keeping the file as simple as possible. No editor wants to have to change the file first, just to read your story.
    6. File type: Again, doc or docx is standard. Please don’t send ODF, PDF, RTF, TXT etc… unless otherwise requested.
    7. File name: Please remember that your file is not the only one we’ll receive. A great filename will contain your story title, author surname and the anthology – make it easy for us! And use either dots (periods), underscores or dashes instead of spaces. For example, if I were submitting to Goodbye Moderation: Lust, I might use: story_title.lust.anna_sky
    8. You have ONE chance: If you send us your file, that’s it. Don’t send us further revisions. If we like your story enough, we can suggest changes or work with you on it later.
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So, please double-check your email before sending and make an editor happy!

View our current calls for submissions or choose your next sexy read.

3 thoughts on “Crafting a Great Submission Email

  1. Apology.lust.cece_marsh

    Hi, Anna,

    I believe I’m speaking for more submitters than myself when I say I’ll do better next time…I promise!

    Thanks for this information. It helps newbies. It’s not that we don’t want to please our editors and publishers. Sometimes we just don’t know our derriere from a hole in the ground. Sometimes we get confused. But we’re learning–honest, we are. And, once we’ve made the person whom we hope will be our editor apoplectic, we are beyond-words grateful for blind panels, who don’t know what total imbeciles we have been.

  2. Whoops! Wish I’d read this before I submitted. Will try to do better next time.

    Question: Upon receiving acknowledgement of one’s submission, is it polite to send a brief thank-you, or is that only more email clutter for editors to wade through?

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