Well, I received a rejection from Analog SF today. There’s some good news and some bad news. The bad news, obviously, is that it was rejected. The good news is that Mr. Schmidt actually left a comment on the rejection sheet (a form letter), which editors don’t generally do, and especially not for a magazine that gets hundreds of submissions every month. The comment said:
P.S.: Accurate punctuation is important, too. You should especially review format.
Punctuation is something I’m really going to have to look at. I didn’t realize I was using bad punctuation. Maybe I missed something, or maybe I made some error that didn’t seem like an error, but to a seasoned editor like Mr. Schmidt, is a big no-no.
As for format. I’m not 100% sure what he meant by that. I did follow the guidelines on the Analog website, which says:
Manuscripts must be computer-printed or typed (check), double-spaced (check), on white paper (check), one side of the sheet only (check). The author’s name and address should appear on the first page of the manuscript (check). Please do not send submissions on disk (check).
Is there maybe something I’m doing that has fallen out of style perhaps? I use Courier, I underline sections that should be italicized, and I use #s to mark breaks. Is this just an antiquated formatting style now? If anyone has any advise here (especially someone who edits), I’d really appreciate it. I don’t want the format of my manuscript to ever need commenting, because format shouldn’t be an issue. I want to be rejected cause the story sucks, not by any influence of a slightly skewed manuscript format.
In any case, it’s a rejection, and one of the additional hundred or so before I get lucky, if I get lucky. I’ll review the manuscript once more and iron up the punctuation, and submit again. Hopefully it’ll get picked up because I rather like Artemis and everyone seems to like that story (even people who don’t know me, plus my girlfriend, who I trust with these things because she’s not lacking in critiquing brutality).
On a good note though, I got a hand written note on a form rejection, which is still exciting to me even though it’s happened several times before through other magazines. The last story I sent Analog never got a comment, so this means I’m doing something right.