Tag Archives: guidelines

And Up Another Hill

Momentum is a funny thing. Predictable on one hand. Unreliable on the other. Pushing a car up a hill is easy if you get a running start and have enough umph to keep it going until it reaches level ground. Not so easy if the person at the wheel accidentally steps on the brake half way there!

Yeah, it’s just me waxing a little poetic as I put nose to grindstone once more to find and entice writers to submit their stories to Romantic Shorts.

Of the authors we’ve published so far, all have reported positive feedback about their Romantic Shorts experience. Sure, no, it’s not a paying gig. But their Author’s Pages are theirs to keep for the duration of their stories’ life at RS. They can notify us of new awards, works, and accomplishments at anytime, and their pages are updated to reflect their current status. As well, they have a permalink to their story that they can use anywhere as a writing sample, free offer, or credit. It’s not a bad deal for 5,000 words.

Absolutely, down the road as we finally initiate an advertising program that works for us, we will offer financial compensation as well. We look forward to hardcopy anthology sales and other projects that will bring revenue to RS and our writers. The hurdle to this, ironically, is building a solid library.

It’s a sweet Catch-33: Find the writers to draw the readers to entice the advertisers to reward the writers.

And so I’m spending my time now focusing on finding writers with strong, entertaining, high-quality stories they’d like to share with our readers – who now average well into the hundreds every week. If everyone pushes the car, we’ll all get to where we’re going a lot sooner.

Check out our guidelines and send us a story.

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Filed under For Writers, What's New @ R.S.

New Submission Process

As with virtually every little detail to do with Romantic Shorts since its inception, what seemed like a good idea at the time turns out to need some tweaking. Or some reconsideration. Or some serious “what-was-I-thinking” back-pedaling…

And so, we now have a newly revamped submission process for manuscripts.

Authors can now find all of the submission information online, without having to leave the site to email their manuscripts. Check out the Submission Guidelines page here at Romantic Shorts H.Q. You’ll find a link at the bottom to access our Submission Terms & Conditions page. There, are listed all of the conditions Romantic Shorts asks of our Authors. In order to be published at Romantic Shorts, you must agree to these terms; following through by submitting your manuscript confirms your acceptance.

Of course, as always, this is a learning process and we are always open to suggestions and corrections. If you have any concerns about any of the terms, or if there’s something you’d like to see added or deleted, please contact us. What is currently posted there is the accumulation of various ideas and needs that particularly suit Romantic Shorts. Much of the page is very similar to any other publishing contract you may have seen in the past. But quite a bit of it is specifically designed to meet the needs – current and projected – of Romantic Shorts and our Authors. (Feel free to replace ‘projected’ with any other uncertain adjective of your choosing….)

Any manuscripts that are already in our files, are subject to existing and proposed contracts relating to each respective situation. Incoming manuscripts, however, will be subject to the new Submission Terms & Conditions.

The bottom line right now is, having tried the contract process for our new and unique format the traditional way, and finding it to be tedious and labour-intensive, this new stream-lined approach seems to be a practical option.

Who knows? There’s no one to ask. No model to copy. It’s a difficult path, this one less-traveled. But oh, the adventure!!

Alex.

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Filed under For Writers, What's New @ R.S.

The Importance Of A Synopsis

Oh, you’ve worked so hard at finishing your manuscript and it’s truly a masterpiece. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to pitch it to a publisher, most of whom simply want an idea of what your story is about so that he or she can decide whether or not it’s worth the time.

Think carefully about this. You do the same thing. When was the last time you opened a book without reading the back cover first. Do you ever watch a television show without reading the description? Ever seen a movie trailer?

We like to know what we’re getting ourselves into.

But never does an intro weigh as heavily as it does for your manuscript. It is estimated that you have between 2 and 30 seconds to win over an editor. Two seconds can cover as little as a single sentence!

But no pressure. Enter the synopsis.

Keep your goal in mind. Your synopsis, first and foremost, should adhere to the publisher’s guidelines. Many are very specific as to  length and format. Know your audience.

If, on the other hand, you’re left to your own creativity, here are some tips.

Length Can Matter – A Lot

Try to make the length of your synopsis suit the length of your story. While it can be quite difficult to sum up a 100,000 word novel into two paragraphs, resist the temptation to give two full pages of details for your 10,000 word novella.

A good guide is approximately 2-5% of your word count. 2000-5000 words for the novel. 200-500 for the novella. Depending on the topic, anecdotes and short stories should fall into the 100-250 word range.

Don’t overdo it. But give yourself some space to sell your work. You’re writing a synopsis. Not a novel…

What To Include

In a nutshell, you’re telling your story. You’re outlining your setting, introducing your characters, and summarizing your plot. You’ll want to include all of your key components, plot twists, and, yes, the ending. And don’t use the words ‘spoiler alert.’ You’re talking to an editor, not a reader.

Don’t explain why you named your characters what you did. Don’t get into how you know about a certain topic. Don’t give background information that isn’t included in the story. Don’t ask questions. Just summarize the story.

You can discuss your inner most inspirations and ideas at your book signings. The editor just wants the goods.

Is There Room For Style?

Don’t include anything in your synopsis that the reader won’t find in the story. And that includes style. If the story is humourous, write the synopsis with the same sense of humour. Casual dialogue and dialect? Match it in the synopsis. You are telling the story in a shortened, accurate, and effective fashion. You are not describing your story as if it were written by someone else.

Remain true to your point of view as well. First person story? First person synopsis.

The only thing that changes for the synopsis is the tense. Regardless of the timing of your story, the synopsis is typically told in the present tense.

Keep in mind, you have the chance to exhibit your skill when an editor reads a witty – even snarky – summary of a black comedy, immediately after the professional demeanor of your polished cover letter.

Be True To Your Story

Probably the most difficult point to relay, and the reason for this post, is the failure of the synopsis to adequately reveal the genius in the story. I received a fairly uninteresting query from an author who submitted what amounted to a television preview report of the story – a scant and boring paragraph – within the query letter. In fact, if not for a spectacular pen name that caught my eye, I would not have continued beyond the cover letter itself – a rejection letter forming in my mind as I turned the page over.

But because I glimpsed a little imagination in that name, I decided to give the manuscript a go.

This story had me from the first line! Some of the best writing I’ve received: witty, sharp, excellent dialogue, and some intriguing details throughout. The point of view alone left me eager to read.

Lucky day for that writer.

Do not count on that kind of luck. Sell your story. It was worth writing – make sure the editor sees that.

Polish Polish Polish

Finally, your synopsis is your calling card. It’s the tool that will either sell an editor on giving you a chance or land you in the trash. The most common reason for the latter is lack of polish. Give as much care and effort to the editing of your synopsis as you did to your manuscript. Grammar, sentence structure, spelling are all critical to the impression you’ll make. No editor will ask for more crap. Show off your editing skills and land that sale.

Don’t think for a minute that your manuscript will be requested if your synopsis doesn’t turn some heads. Lead with your best foot forward. Overlooking the quality of your synopsis – whether one paragraph or a small book – will ruin your chances with your manuscript. Guaranteed.

Writers, editors, what are your thoughts?
How important is it to ace the synopsis?

 

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