HANK YOU FOR your interest in writing for Nonpareil Monthly. Although the likelihood of your piece actually appearing in our pages is statistically laughable, we will at least reject you in writing if you follow our guidelines to the letter.
Always query first, and then only after you have scrupulously read cover-to-cover a minimum of twelve years' issues. Believe us, we can tell if you haven't. Your stationery must be of the highest quality. We strongly prefer Crane's 32 lb. "Ecruwhite" presentation paper (hint, hint), and the watermark must of course be upright. We once rejected Woody Allen for sending his query with the Crane's watermark backwards. It was to laugh.
The font of your query must be Times Roman 12 pt. and not a smidgeon smaller or larger. Please don't play us for fools and try Times Roman 11.5 just to see if you can get away with it. You can't. And don't go trying some ridiculous font like Comic Sans just to flaunt your disregard for our guidelines, for Pete's sake. Writing is not a joke, and besides, we will hold a grudge against you for the life of our publication.
Your query is not to exceed 100 words, including your address, phone number, and any writing credits you have somehow managed to accumulate. We don't have all day, and we doubt you're going to need all 100 words anyway.
Endeavor to be sufficiently fawning while still managing to sway us to your side, if only momentarily.
If, by some miracle, we decide that your subject matter might be of nominal interest to our extraordinary readership, our secretary, Miss Ariadne Smook, will call and demand your manuscript posthaste. Said manuscript must be presented to us as follows:
Times (no Roman!), 11.5 pt., double-spaced, with triple spacing between title and body of work, and 1.75 spacing between paragraphs. Margins must be precisely one inch, not sort of one inch. We have a ruler, and we plan to use it.
Your title must be all caps, with kerning artfully applied between the letters to give it that professional look. Kern too wide and we will scoff; too narrow and we will howl with contempt over your pathetic kerning skills.
Tab the first line of each paragraph, just like we used to do with typewriters. If you are too young to have ever used a typewriter, stop right here, because we don't want you, you little brat.
You are not to fold the manuscript, but insert it into a 10 x 13 manila envelope with the flap facing right when addressed. Don't even think about writing our address directly onto the envelope instead of using a printed label with antique-gold border.
Your manuscript must be oriented such that when we extract it from the envelope and rotate it one quarter turn counterclockwise, we may begin reading with no further adieu. And no staples, no paperclips, no nothing.
Please note: If the stamp on your SASE is so attractive that we suspect you may have succumbed to the deadly sin of pride, all bets are off.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
© 2008 Kate Heidel