Fundamental Formatting for Fiction Submissions

No SASE necessary.

Always follow the submission guidelines of the call if they’re provided, however tedious they might be. The information above and below works for subs you send us and where there aren’t specific formatting guidelines.

How To Write a Publishing Bio with Few or No Credits

Sending a submission for a call without saying something about who you are isn’t a deal breaker, but it can certainly help your cause. A brief third-person bio in a sub email has become as common as double-spaced formatting. There’s no reason why you can’t leave an impression on an editor in addition to the quality of your story, regardless of your writing credits.

Here are a few examples of how you can dress up your pub bio:

After stating your pen name, open with what genre or niche you most like to write. And don’t just say you like to write stories that you know an editor likes; it’s not memorable.

Reggie MacReginald crafts contemporary urban legends in his spare time, some have called him a creepypasta aficionado.

You might want to avoid humor. I don’t mind a little humor in a bio, but some folks go overboard.

If you have a writing credit you can insert it here. Make sure to include a link to it if it can be read for free online. Editors like to learn about new publications, and might read or listen to your story. If you don’t have a credit, state a few personal details about yourself, including at least a vague sense of where you live.

He has had one story featured on the 2Spooky4U Podcast. You can listen to it here! Reggie’s from the Northeast and genuinely hates the Boston Red Sox.

It’s time to wrap it up. This is where you plug your website and (1) social media handle. You can mention your family or your cat, but you shouldn’t list so many details of your personal life that it feels like a dating profile.

You can visit his website or catch him on Twitter @90sNomarHater420.

Actually, maybe we should circle back here and give an example of the email itself.

Dear Editor,

Thank you for taking the time to read my submission “Story Title”. It is 9 zillion words and I hope you enjoy it. My name is Reggie MacReginald and I’ve never been published in print before.



Reggie MacReginald crafts contemporary urban legends in his spare time; some have called him a creepypasta aficionado. He has had one story featured on the 2Spooky4U Podcast. You can listen to it here! Reggie’s from the Northeast and genuinely hates the Boston Red Sox. You can visit his website or catch him on Twitter @90sNomarHater69.

Social Media and Your Author Website

You need to have a website where you can share your work, a bio with a current photo, links to all the social media where you’re active. This is because editors, agents, readers, and reviewers want to access more info about you and your work. You don’t need to buy a domain, any basic free site is fine.

You only need to update this site a handful of times a year. If you’re in a publishing drought, still post something about the stories you’re working on and books you’re reading.

On the front page link only the social media where you are active. No dead links.

Encourage folks to follow you on your Amazon Author Central page. Link to it. Make sure your Amazon author page bio and book credits are always updated! It is an extremely underused tool for spreading the word about books you’ve authored/appeared in. Include a current photo. You can’t see it happening in real time, but it leads to sales over the long haul.

As an author you have to have success before you can be anti-social.


If you’ve read this far you’re probably someone who understands that when we’re looking for manuscripts or stories we post our calls on our submissions page. We’re publishing short story collections from authors we’ve worked with, who’ve entered our publishing family through our open calls. Publishing a story collection can be a pillar of your writing career.

Story collections typically celebrate the published/popular stories of a single author and showcase brand new fiction. Collections from established authors typically sell far less than their novels/novellas. Anthologies with multiple authors typically sell far more copies than single-author collections. We love short stories, but if you’re writing stories just to fill up a collection, you’re probably going to have a tough time establishing your writing career and readership.

Even if you have an established readership and have placed dozens of stories in notable anthologies and publications our first answer regarding publishing a collection is almost always ‘No, sorry.’ And we’re not saying don’t try to get your collection published, and we’re definitely not saying don’t self-publish it…but please, stop querying us about short story collections.

…alright, maybe you can query us about short story collections with a strong central theme–with mostly unpublished content. We recently released a collection from C.W. Briar called Sticks and Stones, where all of the stories are from a child’s POV. In the past we’ve put out collections where the stories all take place in one cemetery–our second book featured stories set in a curiosity shop, etc. Everyone has a great anthology idea in them, we’re looking for single-author collections that read like a great themed anthology.

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