Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aurealis Submissions

The Aurealis guideline page for submissions is here.

I direct everyone who is intending to submit to this market to read the following sections very closely:

Please use standard Australian punctuation and spelling for your submissions.

Please include at the front of your story a cover page with the author's name, email address, postal address, phone and fax numbers, the title of the story and the word length. All manuscripts should be double-spaced with broad margins and numbered pages, and printed in 12 pt font.

See, we even say 'please' - twice!

Now, I understand that changing format is very simple. I do it all the time, but you are trying to be a professional writer and present a professional submission. How do you think an editor, or even a slush reader, is going to feel when the first thing they notice is your inability to follow the simplest of instructions?

I'll tell you how I feel - I feel you already have a black mark against your submission, and therefore, I am beginning to read with a negative frame of mind. Your story had better be brilliant to overcome that or better luck next time.

Honestly, people - is it that hard to conform to a set of guidelines?


  1. Six years of reading slush leads me to believe - yes. Yes, it is.

    Have you seen the one in neon green and hot pink font colors yet? So far, for New Bedlam, it's not been too bad. When I was reading for Apex, it could get crazy (hot pink, neon green). I swear that was a step up from reading for 3Sides. ;)

    Good luck with the submissions!

  2. I'm holding my hand up and saying I've only submitted (sort of) to Aurealis once. Because I'm from overseas (waving across continents) I have to query before I can submit and well after one attempt and no reply (yay or nay) I haven't bothered again.

  3. For the longest time, I couldn't get my writing program to search/replace question marks or colons. So, if a magazine wanted single spacing, I would go in and fix them myself. Pain in the ass, but that's not an editor's problem.

    Oh, and to JODI: Neon fonts?! Are you dicking me? : P

  4. Do you read for Aurealis? I wasn't aware of that.

    I always try to read sub guidelines really carefully and stick to them as closely as possible. Sometimes I'm sure I make mistakes, but I hope that editors see those as genuine small errors in an otherwise conforming submission. Then the story has to speak for itself.

  5. No pink or neon anything yet - if someone wants to go to that extreme to disregard guidelines, I won't be reading their story.

    Cate - when did you query?

    I feel for you Nat, David Such's FlashWriter program may have the solution for us all. Stay tuned.

    Alan - if the author makes an effort to come close - that's fine. If you're asked to double space and use 12pnt, and you do - then I can't ask for a whole lot more.

    I'm guessing most readers have their own preferences. I get my allocation and immediately change the lot to 12pnt Arial, double space with no preset gap before or after the paragraph. I then change all single returns to double returns to separate the paragraphs.

    I find it easier on the eyes - white space is a good thing.

    So regardless of what it's sent in like, I change it and read it, but if my first impression is negative, that's a bad place to start.

    And yes, I read for Aurealis, but everything comes through without identifiers so I have no idea about the author - and I don't want to know.

  6. Interesting stuff. I usually use 1.5 spacing rather than double spacing - I always figure a reader can change that if necessary and full double spacing always looks too wide for me.

    Cool that you read for Aurealis. I'm glad that it's blind submissions, I wouldn't want it any other way. I have a submission with them at the moment. See if you can guess which one it is! :)

  7. I'd need to check my records at home, but it was sometime between Oct-Dec last year.

  8. I'm Aussie and submitted to Aurealis on 21/10/08. I sent a follow up query on 24/2/09 and heard nothing. I sent another follow up query on 4/5/09 and received an email telling me they were inundated with submissions and would likely need another 4 to 6 weeks to get back to me.

    It's frustrating, but the magazines worth getting into are always really busy. And competition is stiff. Ah well, fingers crossed!

  9. I'm not putting up wholesale excuses here, but from late last year through to the first few months of this year, Stuart (the editor) had a lot of stuff going on in his personal life which cut into his editorial duties. Things got a little backed up, but were are moving forward and slowly getting back on top of things.

    I imagine you'd have an answer in the not too distant future.

    Do you subscribe to the mag? I'm a reader and I subscribe (no free ride here) to make sure I'm looking for the same level of writing the editor finally chooses. Also because I'm an Aussie who would one day like to be published in Aurealis. Anything I submit goes through the same process as everyone else - only Stuart makes sure I'm not the one reading my own work.

    The harshest feedback I ever received from one of my earlier works was from this market - while I was a reader - that was a wake up call and a half.