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advantage of the short story. contacting publishers

27 May, 2011 | By Goldie Alexander

Just a few more comments about “Space Footy and Other Stories” for anyone interested in creating their own collection. ‘Space Footy’ is the ‘brother’ to ‘My Horrible Cousins and other Stories’ which is all about girls. Both are ‘metaphorically’ related to my collection for adolescent readers published under the title of ‘Killer Virus and Other Stories.

killervirus cover

All in all that makes 30 stories including several novellas. It amounts to lots of hard work. Though there is a tendency for ever longer novels, in my opinion a good short story makes a satisfying read… a tasty mouthful, rather than a huge meal. The short story is as difficult to write as any novel because of the limited number of words that have to hint and suggest rather than spell things out.

Also, if any beginners are thinking of sending their ms to a publisher, here are some hints they might consider. These hints are a compilation of my own experiences and other published authors and I use them in my Writing for Children workshops.

1 Research the publisher/ agents name and address, and their preferences.

2 Make sure the letter is less than one page.

3 Start with … “Dear Ms or Mr”, and introduce yourself and a hook. Include a pitch. eg 1873, Cameleers, discovering Uluru.

4 In the same paragraph, deliver genre, word count and your target audience.

5 Follow with a mini-synopsis.

6 Explain your writing credits and why you wrote the book in one or two sentences.

7. List similar books represented by them. Do some research.

8 Conclude with …”I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

9 This is important! Add ALL your contact details including address, phone, email and website. If this is a snailmail submission include a SSAE. If an email submission, make sure you add a reply acceptance from your Outlook or Outlook express

10 Double-check you’ve followed the manuscript submission guide lines exactly. Remember how many submissions they get and don’t hold your breath. Penguin receives over 2000 unsolicited submissions. From these they may choose 2.

One Response to “advantage of the short story. contacting publishers”

  1. Bonnie Male says:

    Arrrghhh! I think I can do it, I think I can, I think I can. The mind boggles. I just hope the odds of 2 out of 2000 are one day in my favour! Thanks for the tips, they are great.

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