|May Submit-O-Rama: Behind Enemy Lines|
know your enemy
First, you need to really carefully and closely read the editorial mission, masthead, and submission guidelines. Remember: the editors wrote these. You're literally reading both what they want ... and how they write. Seriously. It's time to stop restricting our reading to jotting down notes about word lengths and document formats. It's time to start reading letters from the editors, blog posts from the editorial staff, and more, for their hidden messages. This is the code breaking section of your journey. Read the editors' sentence structure. Watch for jokes. Look at the questions they ask. Tune into their eyes for detail. Use this to get a first sense of who your editors are.
read between (enemy) lines
Many of us go into the submission process primarily focused on finding the right journal that matches our work, and that focus leads us primarily to the Submission Guidelines page. The farthest many of us go is looking at the journal's blog and interviews with the editor. But have you ever cyberstalked your editors? I mean it: it's time to take to the net and start stalking the heck out of the editors to whom you're considering sending your work. I don't mean trying to track down their birthdays. But put their names into Google and try to find them elsewhere online. Look at their blogs. Read their own writing that's been published. Hit up GoodReads and see if they have book lists, reviews, or groups they're active in. Find them on Facebook and see what they're posting. Follow them on Twitter. It may sound extreme, but really ... the more you know your editor (in the least creepy way possible), the better you'll understand what they really like ... and what they'll be drawn to in your writing.
Your Turn: How well do you "get to know" your editors before submitting to them? How can you, or do you, slip behind enemy lines to know your enemy?
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