IMPORTANCE OF GOOD MANUSCRIPT. After an article has been carefully

revised, it is ready to be copied in the form in which it will be

submitted to editors. Because hundreds of contributions are examined

every day in editorial offices of large publications, manuscripts should

be submitted in such form that their merits can be ascertained as easily

and as quickly as possible. A neatly and carefully prepared manuscript

is likely to receive more favorable consideration than a badly typed

one. The impression produced by the external appearance of a manuscript

as it comes to an editor's table is comparable to that made by the

personal appearance of an applicant for a position as he enters an

office seeking employment. In copying his article, therefore, a writer

should keep in mind the impression that it will make in the editorial


FORM FOR MANUSCRIPTS. Editors expect all manuscripts to be submitted in

typewritten form. Every person who aspires to write for publication

should learn to use a typewriter. Until he has learned to type his work

accurately, he must have a good typist copy it for him.

A good typewriter with clean type and a fresh, black, non-copying ribbon

produces the best results. The following elementary directions apply to

the preparation of all manuscripts: (1) write on only one side of the

paper; (2) allow a margin of about three quarters of an inch on all

sides of the page; (3) double space the lines in order to leave room for

changes, sub-heads, and other editing.

Unruled white bond paper of good quality in standard letter size, 8½

by 11 inches, is the most satisfactory. A high grade of paper not only

gives the manuscript a good appearance but stands more handling and

saves the recopying of returned manuscripts. A carbon copy should be

made of every manuscript so that, if the original copy goes astray in

the mail or in an editorial office, the writer's work will not have been

in vain. The carbon copy can also be used later for comparison with the

printed article. Such a comparison will show the writer the amount and

character of the editing that was deemed necessary to adapt the material

to the publication in which it appears.

A cover sheet of the same paper is a convenient device. It not only

gives the editorial reader some information in regard to the article,

but it protects the manuscript itself. Frequently, for purposes of

record, manuscripts are stamped or marked in editorial offices, but if a

cover page is attached, the manuscript itself is not defaced. When an

article is returned, the writer needs to recopy only the cover page

before starting the manuscript on its next journey. The form for such a

cover page is given on page 184.

The upper half of the first page of the manuscript should be left blank,

so that the editor may write a new title and sub-title if he is not

satisfied with those supplied by the author. The title, the sub-title,

and the author's name should be repeated at the beginning of the article

in the middle of the first page, even though they have been given on the

cover page. At the left-hand side, close to the top of each page after

the first, should be placed the writer's last name followed by a dash

and the title of the article, thus:

Milton--Confessions of a Freshman.

The pages should be numbered in the upper right-hand corner. By these

simple means the danger of losing a page in the editorial offices is

reduced to a minimum.

To be paid for at usual Written for The Outlook

rates, or to be returned

with the ten (10) cents

in stamps enclosed, to

Arthur W. Milton,

582 Wilson Street,

Des Moines, Iowa.


Why I Was Dropped From College at the End of My

First Year

By Arthur W. Milton

(Note. This article is based on the writer's own experience in a

large Middle Western state university, and the statistics have been

obtained from the registrars of four state universities. It contains

2,750 words.)

Four (4) Photographs are Enclosed, as follows:

1. How I Decorated My Room

2. I Spent Hours Learning to Play My Ukelele

3. When I Made the Freshman Team

4. Cramming For My Final Exams

TYPOGRAPHICAL STYLE. Every newspaper and magazine has its own distinct

typographical style in capitalization, abbreviation, punctuation,

hyphenation, and the use of numerical figures. Some newspapers and

periodicals have a style book giving rules for the preparation and

editing of copy. A careful reading of several issues of a publication

will show a writer the salient features of its typographical style. It

is less important, however, to conform to the typographical

peculiarities of any one publication than it is to follow consistently

the commonly accepted rules of capitalization, punctuation,

abbreviation, and "unreformed" spelling. Printers prefer to have each

page end with a complete sentence. At the close of the article it is

well to put the end mark ().

When a special feature story for newspaper publication must be prepared

so hastily that there is no time to copy the first draft, it may be

desirable to revise the manuscript by using the marks commonly employed

in editing copy. These are as follows:

american Three short lines under a letter or a

= word indicate that it is to be set in

- capital letters; thus, American.

New York Times Two short lines under a letter or a

= = = word indicate that it is to be set in

- - - small capital letters; thus, NEW


sine qua non One line under a word or words indicates

---- --- --- that it is to be set in italics;

thus, _sine qua non_.

He is a /Sophomore An oblique line drawn from right to

left through a capital letter indicates

that it is to be set in lower

case; thus, He is a sophomore.

____ _____

There are 10 in a bu. A circle around numerical figures or

---- ----- abbreviations indicates that they

are to be spelled out; thus, There

are ten in a bushel.

___________ _______

Professor A.B.Smith is sixty. A circle around words or figures

----------- ------- spelled out indicates that they are

to be abbreviated or that numerical

figures are to be used; thus,

Prof. A.B. Smith is 60.

not a

It is complimentry to him A caret is placed at the point in the

^ ^ line where the letters or words written

above the line are to be inserted;

thus, It is not complimentary

to him.

__________ ______

to carefullyXstudy A line encircling two or more words

---------- ------ like an elongated figure "8" indicates

that the words are to be transposed;

thus, to study carefully.

to[=()]morrow Half circles connecting words or

letters indicate that they are to be

brought together; thus, tomorrow.

all/right A vertical line between parts of a

word shows that the parts are to be

separated; thus, all right.

U S 4 per cent. bonds A small cross or a period in a circle

x x may be used to show that a period

is to be used; thus, U.S. 4 per cent.


")Yes, ')Love laughs at lock- Quotation marks are often enclosed

smiths(', you know(", he replied. in half circles to indicate

whether they are beginning or end


¶"How old are you?" he asked. The paragraph mark (¶) or the

_"Sixteen", she said. sign [_] may be used to call attention

to the beginning of a new paragraph.

MAILING MANUSCRIPTS. Since manuscripts are written matter, they must be

sent sealed as first-class mail at letter rates of postage. For the

return of rejected articles stamps may be attached to the cover page by

means of a clip, or a self-addressed envelope with stamps affixed may be

enclosed. The writer's name and address should always be given on the

envelope in which the manuscript is sent to the publishers.

The envelope containing the article should be addressed to the "Editor"

of a magazine or to the "Sunday Editor" of a newspaper, as nothing is

gained by addressing him or her by name. If a writer knows an editor

personally or has had correspondence with him in regard to a particular

article, it may be desirable to send the manuscript to him personally.

An accompanying letter is not necessary, for the cover page of the

manuscript gives the editor and his assistants all the information that

they need.

Articles consisting of only a few pages may be folded twice and mailed

in a long envelope; bulkier manuscripts should be folded once and sent

in a manila manuscript envelope. Photographs of sizes up to 5 x 7 inches

may be placed in a manuscript that is folded once, with a single piece

of stout cardboard for protection. When larger photographs, up to 8 x 10

inches, accompany the article, the manuscript must be sent unfolded,

with two pieces of cardboard to protect the pictures. Manuscripts should

never be rolled.

HOW MANUSCRIPTS ARE HANDLED. In order to handle hundreds of manuscripts

as expeditiously as possible, most large editorial offices have worked

out systems that, though differing slightly, are essentially the same.

When a manuscript is received, a record is made of it on a card or in a

book, with the name and address of the author, the title and character

of the contribution, and the time of its receipt. The same data are

entered on a blank that is attached to the manuscript by a clip. On this

blank are left spaces for comments by each of the editorial assistants

who read and pass upon the article.

After these records have been made, the manuscript is given to the first

editorial reader. He can determine by glancing at the first page or two

whether or not the article is worth further consideration. Of the

thousands of contributions of all kinds submitted, a considerable

proportion are not in the least adapted to the periodical to which they

have been sent. The first reader, accordingly, is scarcely more than a

skilled sorter who separates the possible from the impossible. All

manuscripts that are clearly unacceptable are turned over to a clerk to

be returned with a rejection slip.

When an article appears to have merit, the first reader looks over it a

second time and adds a brief comment, which he signs with his initials.

The manuscript is then read and commented on by other editorial readers

before it reaches the assistant editor. The best of the contributions

are submitted to the editor for a final decision. By such a system every

meritorious contribution is considered carefully by several critics

before it is finally accepted or rejected. Moreover, the editor and the

assistant editor have before them the comments of several readers with

which to compare their own impressions.

In newspaper offices manuscripts are usually sorted by the assistant

Sunday editor, or assistant magazine editor, and are finally accepted or

rejected by the Sunday or magazine editor.

REJECTED MANUSCRIPTS. In rejecting contributions, editorial offices

follow various methods. The commonest one is to send the author a

printed slip expressing regret that the manuscript is not acceptable and

encouraging him to submit something else. Some ingenious editors have

prepared a number of form letters to explain to contributors the various

reasons why their manuscripts are unacceptable. The editorial assistant

who rejects an unsuitable article indicates by number which of these

form letters is to be sent to the author. A few editors send a personal

letter to every contributor. Sometimes an editor in rejecting a

contribution will suggest some publication to which it might be

acceptable. If a manuscript has merit but is not entirely satisfactory,

he may suggest that it be revised and submitted to him again.

KEEPING A MANUSCRIPT RECORD. Every writer who intends to carry on his

work in a systematic manner should keep a manuscript record, to assist

him in marketing his articles to the best advantage. Either a book or a

card index may be used. The purpose of such a record is to show (1) the

length of time required by various publications to make a decision on

contributions; (2) the rate and the time of payment of each periodical;

(3) the present whereabouts of his manuscript and the periodicals to

which it has already been submitted.

It is important for a writer to know how soon he may expect a decision

on his contributions. If he has prepared an article that depends on

timeliness for its interest, he cannot afford to send it to an editor

who normally takes three or four weeks to make a decision. Another

publication to which his article is equally well adapted, he may find

from his manuscript record, accepts or rejects contributions within a

week or ten days. Naturally he will send his timely article to the

publication that makes the quickest decision. If that publication

rejects it, he will still have time enough to try it elsewhere. His

experience with different editors, as recorded in his manuscript record,

often assists him materially in placing his work to the best advantage.

The rate and the time of payment for contributions are also worth

recording. When an article is equally well suited to two or more

periodicals, a writer will naturally be inclined to send it first to the

publication that pays the highest price and that pays on acceptance.

A manuscript record also indicates where each one of a writer's articles

is at a given moment, and by what publications it has been rejected. For

such data he cannot afford to trust his memory.

A writer may purchase a manuscript record book or may prepare his own

book or card index. At the top of each page or card is placed the title

of the article, followed by the number of words that it contains, the

number of illustrations that accompany it, and the date on which it was

completed. On the lines under the title are written in turn the names of

the periodicals to which the manuscript is submitted, with (1) the dates

on which it was submitted and returned or rejected; (2) the rate and the

time of payment; and (3) any remarks that may prove helpful. A

convenient form for such a page or card is shown on the next page:


Confessions of a Freshman. 2,750 Words. 4 Photos. Written, Jan. 18, 1919.


Sent ReturnedAcceptedPaid AmountRemarks


The Outlook 1/18/19 1/30/19

The Independent 1/31/19 2/10/19

The Kansas City Star2/12/19 2/18/19 3/12/19 $9.50 $4 a col.


ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPTS. Contributions accepted for publication are paid

for at the time of their acceptance, at the time of their publication,

or at some fixed date in the month following their acceptance or

publication. Nearly all well-established periodicals pay for articles

when they are accepted. Some publications do not pay until the article

is printed, a method obviously less satisfactory to a writer than prompt

payment, since he may have to wait a year or more for his money.

Newspapers pay either on acceptance or before the tenth day of the month

following publication. The latter arrangement grows out of the practice

of paying correspondents between the first and the tenth of each month

for the work of the preceding month.

After a manuscript has been accepted, a writer usually has no further

responsibility concerning it. Some magazines submit galley proofs to the

author for correction and for any changes that he cares to make. It is

desirable to make as few alterations as possible to avoid the delay and

expense of resetting the type. Corrected proofs should be returned


Unless specific stipulations are made to the contrary by the author, an

article on being accepted by a periodical becomes its property and

cannot be republished without its consent. Usually an editor will grant

an author permission to reprint an article in book or pamphlet form. By

copyrighting each issue, as most magazines and some newspapers do, the

publishers establish fully their rights to an author's work.

SYNDICATING ARTICLES. By sending copies of his articles to a number of

newspapers for simultaneous publication, a writer of special feature

stories for newspapers may add to his earnings. This method is known as

syndicating. It is made possible by the fact that the circulation of

newspapers is largely local. Since, for example, Chicago papers are not

read in New York, or Minneapolis papers in St. Louis, these papers may

well publish the same articles on the same day. Organized newspaper

syndicates furnish many papers with reading matter of all kinds.

The same article must not, however, be sent to more than one magazine,

but a single subject may be used for two entirely different articles

intended for two magazines. If two articles are written on the same

subject, different pictures should be secured, so that it will not be

necessary to send copies of the same illustrations to two magazines.

Agricultural journals with a distinctly sectional circulation do not

object to using syndicated articles, provided that the journals to which

the article is sent do not circulate in the same territory.

If a writer desires to syndicate his work, he must conform to several

requirements. First, he must make as many good copies as he intends to

send out and must secure separate sets of photographs to accompany each

one. Second, he must indicate clearly on each copy the fact that he is

syndicating the article and that he is sending it to only one paper in a

city. A special feature story, for instance, sent to the _Kansas City

Star_ for publication in its Sunday edition, he would mark, "Exclusive

for Kansas City. Release for Publication, Sunday, January 19." Third, he

must send out the copies sufficiently far in advance of the release date

to enable all of the papers to arrange for the publication of the

article on that day. For papers with magazine sections that are made up

a week or more before the day of publication, articles should be in the

office of the editor at least two weeks before the release date. For

papers that make up their Sunday issues only a few days in advance,

articles need be submitted only a week before the publication day.

SELLING ARTICLES TO SYNDICATES. The syndicates that supply newspapers

with various kinds of material, including special feature stories, are

operated on the same principle that governs the syndicating of articles

by the writer himself. That is, they furnish their features to a number

of different papers for simultaneous publication. Since, however, they

sell the same material to many papers, they can afford to do so at a

comparatively low price and still make a fair profit. To protect their

literary property, they often copyright their features, and a line of

print announcing this fact is often the only indication in a newspaper

that the matter was furnished by a syndicate. Among the best-known

newspaper syndicates are the Newspaper Enterprise Association,

Cleveland, Ohio; the McClure Newspaper Syndicate, New York; and the

Newspaper Feature Service, New York. A number of large newspapers, like

the _New York Evening Post_, the _Philadelphia Ledger_, and the _New

York Tribune_, syndicate their popular features to papers in other


A writer may submit his special feature stories to one of the newspaper

syndicates just as he would send it to a newspaper or magazine. These

organizations usually pay well for acceptable manuscripts. It is not as

easy, however, to discover the needs and general policy of each

syndicate as it is those of papers and magazines, because frequently

there is no means of identifying their articles when they are printed in


PREPARATION FOR SPECIAL FEATURE WRITING Preparing for Old Age facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail