Thursday, August 23, 2012

Handout -- Electronic Publishing

Electronic Publishing
(c) 2010 by Mona Vanek

Electronic submission requirements differ with each e-zine, but a few general rules (and some experience) will help you master writing for them. Get e-zine guides, or query the editor of an e-zine, electronically.

Go to the magazine's website online and read the magazine. Read the archived (back) issues, too. Save a few into your word processor to dissect and study. Run your grammar check and word count on them. Use Find function to search out repeated words and buzz words -- those colorful ones editors love.

If the magazine's website doesn't offer writers guidelines, find the editor's e-mail address (on the e-zine site) and send an e-mail asking for guidelines. By following them to the letter you'll learn how the editor wants your story submitted.

For example,'s writers guidelines -- study them here:
You can locate other e-zine guidelines using Search e-zine writers guidelines.

Some editors will say what goes in bold, never to use italics, etc. Some want the story sent in the body of a regular e-mail, no italics or bold of any kind. Straight text all the way. Other magazines want the story sent as an RTF attachment to an e-mail. Pay close attention and follow the guidelines to the letter.

Write your e-query letters and e-articles in your word processor where it's easy to edit and polish them until they're impressive.
  • Single space your story, double space between paragraphs.
  • Remember that nothing on the web is underscored except a web link (URL). So those are the only things in your manuscript that should ever be underscored.
Let the editor know you envision certain words emphasized; you can use an asterisk (*) before a word. The editor will decide whether to print it bold or italic. Generally, if it's a title, or something you want underlined, here's one way to show that:
_Kids Master E-Zine Writing Quickly_.
 (*see Chapter 10 to learn more about HTML)

If you are uncertain about how the editor wants your article submitted, e-mail the editor and ask. Editors never mind answering those kinds of questions.

When you're writing your e-query, don't think like a writer; think like an editor. Explain your idea completely, so the editor knows what he or she is getting. As you write your e-query, have a strong visual image in mind of the article already published.
  • What is its title?
  • Does it have a blurb?
  • On the e-zine cover, will there be cover lines announcing its appearance inside?
  • Is a sidebar included at the end?
In general, readers of online e-zines tend to scan while reading so keep to your point, use short sentences, and be brief.

These simple steps will get your writing from your word processor into your e-mail program. (Refer to Control Key Function handout for keyboarding instructions.)
  • Open the file.
  • Save file\SaveAs.
  • In the drop down box that lets you choose how to save your file, select Rich text format (or ASCII text.)
  • Close the file and then reopen it.
  • Use your Right mouse button and choose Copy to save a copy to your clipboard. If you want your work saved in a different format, before closing your word processor file, use SaveAs again and select your usual file style. When it says 'this file exists shall I overwrite it?' Answer Yes. That replaces the .rft file. It's not a bad idea to save both files, so if you want both, answer No to keep both file formats.
  • Next, close your word processor.
  • Open your e-mail program and open a new message.
  • In the body, use Right mouse button to paste your query into the e-mail message.
Address your query to the editor. Before you click Send, read the message carefully. Correct anything that needs it. WYSIWEG! (whatyousee is whateditorgets.)

Tip: Before you click the Send button, to ensure that your face isn't going to be as red as a Valentine Heart, have at least a good outline of the article you plan to write handy.

Faster than you can zip up your backpack, the editor might reply, asking for more information, or maybe even for the whole article if he\she thinks it's already written.

Editors are too busy to fiddle around with half baked cookies. All you'll get is a bad reputation by offering something you can't produce in a timely manner. If your idea is only an idea, say so in your query. If the editor is interested he may ask you to write it, and may even give you tips on what he wants in it.

Your published story will get wide exposure. Other editors may see it and contact you to write for them, too. Sometimes your online story can still be submit elsewhere. Be aware though, publishers that buy your story generally want exclusive 'rights'. Some editors won't let you send it to anyone else for 90 days, others ask for a year. Each one differs, according to their editorial policy.

Writing for e-zines if fun and can be profitable, but *never, ever send off a story that you've had published to another magazine without _first_asking the original publisher for permission!