I bought a new mascara the other day and as I was walking away with my puchase, the saleswoman asked, "Do you know the right way to apply mascara?" I shrugged and motioned up and down in front of my eyes, as if I were actually applying the stuff. She shook her head and said, "First take the tip--that's where most of the mascara is when you pull out the wand--and use it apply the mascara to your lashes. Then use the full brush to lift and extend the mascara from the base to the tip of your lashes. You'll use less mascara and get better results." I tried it the next day, and she was right.
It reminded me of my mother's oft-said advice, "If you're going to do something, do it right."
Paying attention to even small details can make the difference between being published or being rejected. Considering that editors and agents receive far more submissions than they can accept, they look for any reason to say no. Something as seemingly small as how the manuscript is presented can land your submission in the slush pile or on its way back to you in your SASE without being read. Wouldn't it be better to just do it right?
Use these guidelines to format your manuscript.
--Use white bond paper (20 lb. stock minimum)
--Use Times Roman or Courier 12 pt. type only
--Type on one side of the paper only
--Double space (single space poetry)
--Use paragraph indents
--Use paper clips only to secure your manuscript
--At the top each page (except page 1), put the page
number, your last name, book or article title
--Justify the right margin
--Add extra space between paragraphs
--Bind or staple your manuscript
--Put your manuscript in a folder
--Try to be cute or flashy with your presentation
Here's another one of my mother's favorite expressions, "You learn something every day."