5 Tips for Submitting Your Writing
As someone who pitches editors, and also reviews literary submissions for a local theater, I am both the one submitting my work and reviewing work that’s sent for submission. My husband, who is a TV writer, and I talk about how important it is to present your writing as if your submission were going on an interview. If you’re serious about getting your work published or landing a TV writing job, it’s so important to think of your writing samples as little representations of you. Think of a sloppy script as a person showing up half an hour late for a job interview, not having showered and wearing sweatpants. Here’s some tips for making your submission job-worthy.
1. If your submission has a title page, put your contact info on the page.
If you’re submitting a play or a TV pilot script for review, please put your name, email, phone number, and mailing address on it. Some contests ask for blind submissions, so follow those rules, but if the contest doesn’t stipulate blind submissions, please make sure it’s easy to contact you. I’ve had to hunt people’s info down about their work. Make it easy.
2. Follow the submission guidelines.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many people don’t read the submission guidelines. They are there for a reason. Send in what’s required and don’t send in more than that. Just read the rules and follow them.
3. Format your script accordingly.
There’s a reason Final Draft (even if it drives me nuts) exists. It makes it easier to format a play, screenplay, or TV script. If you just type it haphazardly in Word, it’s very hard to read. And you want the person reading your writing to be able to read it without getting a headache by trying to follow dialogue that’s all over the place. If you really want to be a script writer, then invest in some software.
4. Don’t use wacky fonts, pictures, and hyperlinks.
We’re here to evaluate your writing, not your ability to put together a designed document. Just keep the font simple, clean, and clear.
5. Please proofread at least twice.
Typos happen, but just read it twice just for grammar, spelling, and errors. If you’re terrible at proofreading, have a trusted friend who has an editor’s eye to find those mistakes for you. There’s nothing more irksome than someone who clearly hasn’t proofread their own work. If you haven’t done your homework, why should I read your entire script?