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'07 Authors Insider Tips

by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From

Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine

2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
An Apology to Salespeople

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Sexy on the Page
by Shanna Germain

Just Submit Already:
The Basics of Getting Your Story Off in Style

Shanna GermainStory finished? As good as it's going to get? And you've got a market? Great. Now it's time to send that baby off. It's not as scary as it sounds, I promise. Just get down on your knees over there, and let me give you a few pointers with the sharp end of my whip…er pencil.

The Bend-Over Basics

First off, in my book, the submission process doesn't just mean that first "Hey! Here's my story!" letter. It also encompasses any back and forth between you and your potential editor, any questions you have about the guidelines or the process, and that moment of truth where your story is either accepted or rejected.

Think of submitting as creating a business relationship. You have something—your story—that you want someone else to buy. That someone else—the editor—is therefore your customer and should always, always, always be treated as such. Even writing it, this advice sounds like a big "duh." I mean, really, I'm supposed to be professional, courteous and kind to the person who might someday buy a story of mine? Well, yes.

But you'd be surprised how often this doesn't happen. I wouldn't believe it myself if I didn't work on the editor's side of the desk. My experience has been that freelance writers—those who write articles for a living—have a better grasp of this concept, perhaps because they see themselves as a business. Creative writers, on the other hand, sometimes seem to think that their incredible word-smithing and important message somehow buys them a pass of even the most basic courtesies. It might have worked for the great artists of ancient times, but in today's world, you can't be a total ass in the pursuit of your art.

Present a Clean Package

Beginning submitters sometimes get caught up the basic details of submitting their work: which font, what paper quality, do I use a header or a footer? Do not get bogged down in this. Just follow the market guidelines and you'll be fine. Once I've formatted my story, I go through the market guidelines and double-check everything from line spacing and font to the email address and spelling of the editor's name. If it's an email submission, be sure to note whether they want a file attached (and whether they want Word or .rtf or something else) or if they want the story pasted in the email.

Ditto with the cover letter. Some markets specifically ask for no cover letter, others don't mention it at all. I keep my cover letter short: here's my story for submission to your publication, here's where I've been published before, thanks for your time. And, of course, your contact information (and if you're sending an attachment, make sure you actually attached the file!).

No froo-froos like pink fonts or weepy life stories, either. Despite the popularity of the Saturday Night Live skit, you do not need to wrap your "dick in a box." Let your work speak for itself.

Bring The Right Toys

Make your editor's life easier by providing her with everything that she needs to say yes to your story. This means: your amazing story (in proper format) and a brief cover letter that includes a few niceties, your contact information, a short list of previous publishing credits (if you have any) and a short bio.
Consider Adequate Protection

I'm a believer in having a back-up story waiting in the wings, although not every writer does this. This is useful in case the editor says something like, "Hey, I love your writing, but this story doesn't quite work for us. What else have you got?" Susie Bright, editor of the amazing Best American Series, once asked me this, and I had to tell her that I didn't have anything. Right then I decided never-ever again would I get caught without protection.

Be a Lover, Not a Fighter

You might think the goal in the submission process is to sell your story. Let me tell you right now that that's not true. Your actual goal in the submission process is to create a positive, professional relationship with the editor. She may reject this story, but you never know what projects she'll have in the future or what publishing house she'll move to in five years.

And here's a secret that many writers don't know: the majority of "calls for writers" are not made public. Instead, they're sent to a select few writers that the editor has worked with before. They have twenty slots for stories, so they send the call to their twenty-five favorite writers. Pretty good odds, no?

How do you get on that list? You treat your editor (and everyone else you come across, for that matter) with respect, professionalism and kindness. Say please and thank you, just like your momma (or master) taught you. 

Know Your Stop Word

Having said all of this, some editors are just not nice. Or they're not professional. Or whatever. If an editor treats you badly, it's not an excuse to go into a rage and hurl curse words through the Internet. Just move on. Chances are, you probably don't want to work with that person anyway.

Don't Beg

Editors are busy; chances are that there is a whole pile of manuscripts ahead of yours, not to mention all of the other tasks that fill an editor's day. If you don't hear back right away, don't start calling and sending emails asking about your story. You'll only succeed in making an editor grumpy, and she might even reject you, just to get you out of her inbox.
Many markets give a response time in their guidelines; make a note on your calendar, and if you haven't heard back by the long-end of that response time, it's okay to send a quick (and polite) follow-up. I usually say something along the lines of, "I wanted to check in and see if you received the story that I sent on [date]; If you didn't receive it, I'll be happy to resend." At the very least, it will start the conversation rolling, even if the reply is just, "Yep, we got it. Give us another month."

That's all there is to submitting your story. Now, get off your knees, put away the whips, and start sending those stories off with style! And stop by next time for the final column in the Sexy on the Page series: "Yes, yes, yes!" or "Sorry, wrong hole: How to Handle Acceptances and Rejections."

Other Tips for Getting Your Story Off

Shanna Germain
November 2007

  Get Sexy on the Page with Shanna Germain in ERWA 2007 Archive.

"Sexy on the Page" © 2007 Shanna Germain. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Shanna Germain’s erotic stories have appeared or are scheduled to appear in dozens of publications and anthologies, including Absinthe Literary Review, Aqua Erotica 2, Best American Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, Best Gay Romance and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.. She is a fiction editor for Clean Sheets and 42Opus, as well as a poetry editor for the American Journal of Nursing. You can see more of her work, erotic and otherwise, on her website,

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'07 Book Reviews


A for Amour / B for Bondage
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Best Women's Erotica '07
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The Butcher, The Baker...
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C is for Coeds
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Cream: The Best of ERWA
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Cream: The Best of ERWA
Perceptions by Cervo

Coming Together for the Cure
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F is for Fetish
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Got a Minute?
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He's on Top
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Love on the Dark Side
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Lust: ...Fantasies for Women
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The Mammoth Book Vol 6
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Naughty Spanking Stories
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Quickies 1
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She's on Top
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Sixteen of the Best
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Amorous Woman
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The Boss
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Burning Bright
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Call Me By Your Name
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Dark Designs
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Equal Opportunities
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Gothic Blue
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The Lords of Satyr: Nicholas
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Love Song of the Dominatrix
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Riding the Storm
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The Silver Collar
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Suite Seventeen
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Sweet as Sin
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Tiffany Twisted
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Top of Her Game
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Whalebone Strict
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Wife Swap
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Wings of Madness
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