Submission Dictionary

By Anita Nolan,
Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Write a Novel in a Year Workshop

Cover Letter – The letter sent with a manuscript that briefly explains that the editor had requested the manuscript, etc. Often used interchangeably with query letter.

Double-spaced – the lines of the story should have an empty line of space between them. Submissions should usually be double-spaced (but follow individual guidelines.) Query letters should be single-spaced.

E-mail Submission – A submission sent via email.

Exclusive Submission – A submission sent to only one editor or agent at a time. You commit to allowing that editor or agent to review your manuscript exclusively.

Fiction—a story you make up. The idea might come from a real event. (In a submission, don’t say you have a fictional novel. It’s redundant. It’s either a work of fiction or a novel, which means the same thing.)

Font – the typeface you use for your story. I use Times New Roman for mine. It should be easy to read, and typed with black ink (not a color.)

Header – Information at the top of your manuscript. The first page should include your name, address, phone number, email address, number of pages, type of manuscript. Can also include your website. All other pages have only your last name, title of manuscript, and page number.

Multiple Submission – A submission you send to several publishers at once. Editors often want to know if you’re simultaneously submitting. (same as Simultaneous Submission.)

Point size – the size of type. I stick with 12 point type minimum on everything except the header and letterhead of the query letter.

Query letter/cover letter – a query letter is the letter you send to an editor with a story idea before you send your actual manuscript to determine if the editor is interested. A cover letter is the letter you send with the manuscript. However, a lot of people use the terms interchangeably.

SASE – self-addressed, stamped envelope. In other words, you send an envelope with your name and address and a stamp already on them, so it is ready to mail back to you.

Snail Mail Submission – One sent by the regular mail, rather than email.

Synopsis – A brief run-down of the story, written in present tense.

Word Count – the number of words in your story. You don’t count the title or your name, etc. You can check the word count of your articles by using the word count function under “tools” on your computer. The traditional way of determining word count (via standard number of pages) is to use 12 point Courier type, 1 inch margins all around, with 25 lines per page. The publishing industry is currently in flux as to which they accept. Some publishers want one, some the other, and we seem to be moving toward a computer word count.

Check out my other posts on the PSB Writing Center blog under Resources: Books & Websites for Writers, Building a Synopsis Step-by-Step, and Formatting Your Manuscript.