I'm going to take a day and talk a bit about something that is a pet peeve of mine. No, it's not that each publishing house, market, magazine or contest has its own unique set of guidelines. It's not that they can't agree on a font, size, margin measurement, or standard scene break symbol. Nor is it that the peripheral requirements continually vary from submission to submission. Some want a one page synopsis, some a three page. Sure. I can live with that. I've developed a pretty slick-and-quick routine for tweaking my manuscript to fit each specific guideline, and I can change my # to *** faster than you can say, revision....well almost that fast.
So what's the rant for? It does say G is for Guidelines, right?
But the rant is about IGNORING guidelines. Its about getting your knickers in a self-righteous twist about all of the above and deciding that you don't really need to follow a different set of rules for each editor.
I still can't believe this happens, but it does. I am assured regularly that it's common as chips, and my single stint as an anthology editor proved it to my doubting mind. A lot of authors really do ignore the bloody guidelines. It doesn't matter how simple you make them, how clearly you explain, a good chunk of them will think the rules just don't apply to their brilliance. And while, I shall concede that you don't absolutely need to follow an editor's rules. I'll add that, in that case, you are fully welcome to publish on your own, without said editor. That is the one, viable option where you are welcome to completely ignore their guidelines. If, however, you are submitting to someone, I can only assume that you want them involved in the process.
And at that point, if you can't be bothered to follow their rules...I have to just scratch my head and wonder.
Because you know how competitive it is out there right? I don't care how much trouble you think it is to change your # to *** is it really worth making your chances even more slim? Even the most brilliant writing won't save you if your attitude ensures that nobody is going to bother reading it to find out what a gem you've sent them. You know that they won't read it, right? Not even if its on pretty paper? (Okay, especially not if its on pretty paper)
Do yourself a favor and take the next set of guidelines from whomever you are wooing, to heart.
Or strike out on your own and give up the wooing, I suppose. That is a very solid option these days. I'll get to it. Promise. Look for day "I" and see what I mean. :)