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Formatting and Reformatting

November 4, 2010

I just sent off a story to Daily Science Fiction (soon to be added to my market list).  It’s a new market with excellent pro-level pay and a lot of Codexians selling there.  I like any pro market with electronic submissions.

However, DSF’s online submission form requires plain text formatting.  This caused a problem for this particular story.  It had tons of italics, all necessary for complete understanding of the story.  It also had a Cuban character used as a part-time point-of-view who thought in Spanish punctuation (upside-down ? and ! per my high school Spanish lessons), which isn’t a plot necessity but a stylistic flair I particularly liked.  And some boldfaced section breaks when the POV switches.  Thank goodness for search and replace!  As it was, it took half an hour to fix everything and make sure the replacements were right (a lot of underscores that marked italics ended up on the next line, which had to be fixed). Oh yeah, I also removed a big equation that really was only there to show off; no big loss.

This begs a question: how big a role does excessive formatting play in the story selection process of magazines?  Clearly my formatting is labor intensive even for the guy that formatted it that way to begin with.  Now if I can send a Word file once they choose to buy it (as they will in pipe dream land), then it shouldn’t be too bad for them to adapt for publication.  But the Spanish stuff is pretty specialized.  And lots of italics can be tedious.  Reading on screen can make that worse, too.  So this may be a waaaaay long shot for me. It may be time to start exploring some more semi-pro print zines for this one.  I should hear soon from DSF; their response average is around 1-2 weeks.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 7, 2010 2:09 am

    It’s a good market (says me, totally unbiased cause they bought my story, really!). Too bad it isn’t a good enough market for say, *joining* Codex. I’m not bitter though. Really 😉

    From what I’ve seen, they probably will be aware that the formatting is taken out and allow it to be put back in if they buy the story. So I wouldn’t worry too much. They seem to have tightened up on buying long stuff (or else my first long story sale to them was lucky), so that might have a bigger impact than formatting. I know they need a lot of good flash right now.

    Good luck! 🙂

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