Vision: A Resource for Writers

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Submitting to Vision

A note from Lazette Gifford, Managing Editor

've been Managing Editor for Vision for two and a half years now since our very first issue.  For most of that time we have had a set of easy to follow guidelines for submissions.  You can find them, right there under Guidelines.

I suspect that most people never bother to look at them.  People who should know better send me material formatted wrong, or without information I really need. (Title and author at the top of an article is a really good idea...)

This is understandable in some part.  Vision is the first publication for a number of people.  In fact, part of the purpose of the ezine is to give new writers a chance to experience the process. I rarely turn down any article, and usually then only if it is far outside the realm of writing topics.  If an article needs extensive edits, I do the editing and send it back to the author who can then go back over the material and rework it to sound more like her writing rather than mine.

However, starting with the next issue, if something is not formatted properly I will return it to the author with a link to the guidelines.  The more time I have to spend doing silly stuff like taking out indents (and if you don't use the auto indent option on Word, that means taking each one out by hand), finding ISBNs for books mentioned, removing html code (only links can be in code), etc., the less time I have to work with writers on the material itself.  I run out of time because of unnecessary editing like this, as well as late arriving material, and I end up editing to suit me, and with no time for a turn around with the writers.  This can be frustrating for both them and me.

Following guidelines also means getting material in by the deadline.  June 1,2003 is the deadline for the next issue.  I will ask for material after June 1 if I find that I need something to fill out the issue, however, with the rare exceptions of some people I know who won't need editing, I really don't want to get material with less than a week to go before the issue is due to be published.

I don't think this is unreasonable.  I put a great deal of time and energy into Vision, and besides getting about 2000 hits a month, the ezine has drawn good attention from outside sources.  People who write for Writer's Digest have offered me articles, and a number of people talked to me about Vision at the last World Con I attended.  Even though we don't pay for articles, we are considered, in production values, a pro-level ezine. This is pretty remarkable.

One of the fun aspects of working on Vision is helping a new writer find an article subject, and then helping them through the steps of refining the idea and writing and editing it.  However, as I pointed out previously, I have less time to do that if I have to rework too many articles just to fit the guidelines.

Vision general runs, in the PDF version, between 160 and 200 pages. That's a lot of material to edit, format, and make into three distinct versions (html, PDF and Palm) every two months.

So, here are the things I want the rest of you to consider when you're writing an article for Vision:

  • Read the Guidelines and follow them.  If you have a question about the guidelines, email me at zette@sff.net or vision@lazette.net and ask me.
  • Don't write an article and send it off without proofing.  In fact, read it more than once.  Let it set a day, even if you are running a bit late.  I would rather have a well edited late article then a messy one on time.
  • Don't worry about the theme of the upcoming issue -- I want anything that has to do with writing, from how you think up a story to your finding a proper pen. 
  • If you love writing, and have anything at all that you can offer to other writers, consider writing 500-2000 words for one of the upcoming issues.  Have favorite writing-related books or web sites that you think could help fellow writers?  Consider writing a short review for them.  I am especially in need of web site reviews!
  • Write early.  The earlier I get articles, the better things go all the way around.
  • Did I mention the guidelines?
  • Writing for Vision is a lot easier than most people assume, and a few of our writers have gone on to sell material they first published in Vision, or to use the 'sale' as part of a resume to get a job at some other publication.

    So, let's work together and get the next issues done.

    Oh, and do go read the guidelines...