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How to submit a story
Submitting a story is very simple, but please be aware that I do not accept every story that I am sent to consider, and that not all stories by an author are suitable for the site.
There are very simple steps to go through when hoping to be published here:
- Please read and understand my guide to successful writing. It will open in a new tab or window for you. Please read it carefully because you want to know what I'm looking for. I do make exceptions to this guide, but they have to be special.
- Please understand that I publish a story because it catches my heart and paints a picture in my mind. This is a very personal thing. Many other publishers may adore your work for their own reasons and I may not. Or I may adore it and they may not. Not all of the tales on this site are great literature. Not all the tales are well written, but all of them have captured a part of my heart.
- Please proofread your story for typing errors, grammatical errors, malapropisms and the like before you send it if you want to get my attention on the plot. Errors make a story judder and stop pictures forming in my mind. We have a small and growing pool of editors who can help you, but here's the thing. It's wise to do as much as you can first and send the story to me for my thoughts before asking an editor for help. What if you and they go to a lot of effort and I say 'no, thank you'? That Catch 22 aspect you will have to solve for yourself.
- Before you submit, check the style of the text. If it says "Preformatted text" anywhere in the style box I will select the entire document and change the entire style to Default, which will remove any italicisation (etc) you would have preferred to include. Preformatted text often happens if you have scraped your work of your own or another web site to send to me. It's your job to get it right. Alternatively I may send it back to you for you to sort out. As final editor, I work hard to make your story look as good as possible, but you need to work with me on this.
- Please do not put "To be continued" at the foot of each chapter. I only have to delete it each time.
- Please read about copyright on the site. It opens in a new window for you to read easily. A simple way of putting it is that you need to treat the site as it it were printed on paper. The author always retains the copyright of anything they have written. There are laws protecting copyright which differ from country to country, but, broadly, the act of writing something makes it copyright. This website is copyright and I own it. If I publish your story then you own the copyright to that story and I can never take that from you. But I place it within my copyright web site. When I do, and this is important, it stays published there at my sole discretion as publisher. I may choose to remove it. If I do I will usually give you a reason. You may ask me to consider removing it. If you give me a good reason I will probably agree. But you need to consider that publishing is permanent insofar as a website is permanent. You are licencing this website to use your work, and that licence is permanent. This is absolutely not the same as releasing it into the public domain, something you are not doing.
- Please choose then name you wish to use as an author, and choose the email address that you wish to have published for reader feedback. Many authors use pen names and email addresses for those pen names. Please choose wisely because it's hard to change names! Very rarely I will create an @iomfats.org email address for a writer who makes a special case to me. There has to be a good reason, not just because you fancy it.
- Please think very carefully before submitting pictures, yes, even ones hosted on another site. Pictures are copyright material and, if you do not own the copyright, or have not been given permission to use the pictures, then I will refuse them. In general a story character is better imagined than shown, so I will push back over pictures. If you insist than I will use them provided you are lawfully entitled to use them and the pictures are themselves lawful.
- Think about chapters, parts, side plots. Be an author. Authors write stories. Where there are side plots these are chapters, not frolics into a new naming convention. Yes, we've accepted stories like that in the past, but they are no end of trouble. The more grown up you are the easier we find it to publish the story. The easier it is to publish the faster it appears. So the idea of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Excursion to introduce Herbert, part 1, Excursion to introduce Herbert, part 2, Chapter 3, Reprise of previous chapters, issue 1, Chapter 4, that will get sent back to you for renumbering. How many actual chapters are there? Yes, seven. So number them as 1-7. The same goes for prologues and epilogues. The prologue is chapter 0, zero; the epilogue is the final chapter. You can call them prologue and epilogue if you like, but number them properly.
- Submit your work to me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and enclosing the story. I can work with most file types, but please do not send a pdf file. While I can read them I do not incorporate them in the site.
- Please give me a day or two to read. I don't mind being reminded, but not every ten minutes! If you haven't heard back after a week then please remind me anyway. I always reply, so something must have gone wrong, or I may be away.
That's it. It's very simple to do. If I like the story I will say so. If not, then I will say so, too. If I think it needs further work I will say so. If I choose to accept it then I will add it to my publishing schedule, and will say so. Be aware that we have a queue for publishing. For instant gratification you need a different publisher. For a quality selection of authors and stories then you need us.
Do be aware that we will always put your story into our house style. While we may sometimes achieve amazingly fancy work to attempt to mirror your heart's desire on formatting that is because we can, and we have chosen to because we believe it is essential to your story. We reserve the right not to, and to make other layout changes that are necessary in order to make our publishing as painless for you and for us as possible.