Submission Guidelines

During the four years that I’ve been submitting my work to publishing companies I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. The most important being, each and every publishing company has their own idea of how they want information sent to them. Some are very picky, others more laid back and not as demanding. While some stay awake at night trying to think of just one more guideline they can add to their requirements.

Very soon I will be visiting Carteret County Public Schools. I am honored that they have asked me to share my story with their students. I love every opportunity I have to tell about my novel, Guardian Spirit, and my journey to becoming a published author.

Part of my presentation to the students will be to offer them a chance to write their very own short story or blog and summit it to me. I will read each one and choose three of the best; the ones I think show the most imagination and creativity. The biggest part of the judging will be centered on the writing, but I will also decide based on how closely the submission guidelines were followed. One story per week will be posted on my website blog page the weeks of August 9, 16, and 23.

When I was very young I started to write stories, poems and make entries into a journal. I was over thirty years old before my first writing was published. My column, Byrd’s Eye View appeared in our local newspaper for several years. I’ll never forget the first time I saw my work in print. My name engraved proudly beneath my bi-line. Then when people started to read my columns I relished each and every word of praise. But I must warn you: not all who read your work will think it is a grand piece of literature.

That brings me to another point, writing your story is only part of the entire experience. Yes, you’ve written a novel or tale, and by golly it’s pretty good, but the hard part is finding someone to read your work, to take it in his or her hand and absorb every word. Most of the publishing companies I have submitted to would only let me send the first three paragraphs or the first chapter or two.

So lesson number one students of Carteret County: You’ve got to get my attention right off the bat. You must hook me and make me want to read more. The old saying save the best for last does not apply to writing a novel or short story. The best needs to be in the first few paragraphs and then it’s got to get even better as the story builds.

So students here are my submission guidelines for publication on my blog page.

Submission Guidelines

Sarah Martin Byrd’s Blog

*Use Times New Roman, size 12 point.

*Double-space the pages using 1-inch margins.

*Please limit your submission to 1200 words or less.

*Query letter with contact information. Name, and email address. Please include a little about yourself. Where you go to school, what grade you are in and why you enjoy writing. This information will be posted on my blog if your story is selected.

(Email address optional.)

*Please send as an attached Word document or PDF. Preferably PDF since I work from an iMac.

*Your submission should be emailed to: Sorry, no snail mail accepted.

*Submission deadline: May 31, 2011.

*Selections will be posted on my website at: the weeks of August 9, 16, 23, 2011.

*Please send only your most polished work, when you think it’s ready, edit your copy again.

I wish you all best of luck and remember to write from the heart, showing, not telling what you know and feel.

Here’s one last bit of information I’d like to share with you. Did you know that there are publishing companies who only accept submissions from teens? I want to encourage you to not only write, but to send your work out into the world. It only takes one person to like what you’ve created. You may send it to a hundred or more people before you find that one, but you’ll never know unless you try. A good story isn’t worth much if it’s thrown into a drawer or up on a shelf. Release it into the wild. Here is a good web site for you to go to for information on getting your work published, writing contests and self-publishing.

Or you can Google or

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

brianna April 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I already sent mine i hope you got it and im not sure if you did but i cant wait for you to read it!!!!

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