Did you receive an offer to rewrite and resubmit your story? Curious about how our revision process works? However you got here, here’s an overview of what happens once the offer to rewrite goes out.
- You get the offer to rewrite. All of our stories go through a revision process, usually going 3-4 rounds, but potentially anywhere from one to seven.
- The offer gives brief feedback and asks you to tell me what you think the story is about. You’re not required to answer, but I encourage you to do so – knowing what you want from the story helps guide my editorial suggestions, and ensures we’re headed to the same place.
Some administrative issues:
- Use .doc or .docx formats. While for layout and construction I use LibreOffice, Word is better for editing. Most programs can read and save in these formats.
- File naming:
v1 is the original submission on Submittable.
v2 is your subsequent submission.
v2ed is my comments on that submission. etc.
- Send clean copies (no markup). The first thing I’ll do is run an automated comparison with the previous version (e.g., v3 versus v2ed). In early revision, the resulting markup tells me how extensive the changes are (and whether they’re likely to have dealt with any structural issues I raised). In later stages, this helps me focus on the little tweaks that may be needed. It makes life much easier if you keep working from the version we’re exchanging, rather than transposing edits to another document – that generally leads to missed edits and confusion.
The actual editing
- I start giving line edits on your first revision (v2). These will include direct line edits (with track changes) for typos or where I think there’s a simple way to increase clarity, and floating comments where I have a broader suggestion. Sometimes I’ll use both – explaining my line edit with a comment. If you don’t see any floating comments, you may need to change a setting in your word processor. Remember that all edits and comments are suggestions. This is your story; you shouldn’t make any changes you don’t want to. At the same time, the process only works if we communicate. If you don’t accept changes, tell me why. I’m more than happy to discuss them. If you just don’t say anything a suggestion, I’ll assume you missed it and make the same suggestion again.
- The first stage of editing usually focus on structure and sequence – making sure the right parts are in the right places for the story to read smoothly and make sense.
- The second stage is usually about balance – now that the base structure is in place, is there enough emphasis on the right parts? Fixing this may entail adding backstory or foundation, or removing characters and extraneous elements.
- The last stage is polishing. Usually this focuses on the prose – making it more poetic, tweaking the voice, etc.
- As a practical rule of thumb – if I’m not seeing good progress by v3, I’ll usually decline the story. It’s not common, but it does happen. Often it’s if I suggest structural changes, and the author just tweaks a word here and there. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong – just that we’re not a good fit on that story.
- You’re done! With my last edit suggestions (v#ed), I’ll ask you to follow the Metaphorosis Style Guide, and then resubmit your final version to Submittable. Using Submittable makes tracking and statistics substantially easier, thanks to built-in tools for confirming agreement, etc. Make sure that Submittable shows your legal name and address, since I’ll need these for the contract.
- When your final submissions pops up on Submittable, I’ll check the Style Guide elements, then remove all formatting, paste the result into LibreOffice, and recreate the formatting. It’s tedious, but I do it because it’s the easiest way of removing extraneous, invisible formatting – bookmarks, italicized punctuation, language tags – that otherwise make the e-book versions messy.
- When the LibreOffice version is done, I save it as final, and check the word count – anything below the byline, and above the ### closing tag. I put that number in the contract, along with your legal name and address from Submittable (remember that you checked that earlier).
I send out the acceptance via Submittable, including a summary of terms. The acceptance includes:
- the contract – for you to initial on p1 and sign on p2
- a request that you agree with the terms in the e-mail. To some extent this is redundant to the contract, but I’m a belt and suspenders kind of guy. The terms are the same as those in the contract.
- bio – a request for a 3rd person biographical statement about you, not your writing. Unless you’ve sold to us before, I’ll delete all material about where you’ve sold stories, but will include your website and Twitter addresses if you have any. This is simply because I want the bios to be interesting, and a list of markets is not interesting. Include that info on your website. The bio will run about two weeks before your story.
- interview – a one-question interview, drawn at random from our list. If you really hate the question, ask for another. Don’t just substitute your own, please. Your answer can be as long or short as you want, but keep in mind that this is your chance to engage readers; aim for interesting. Please include the question you’re answering. The interview will run about a week before your story.
- origin story – a request for piece about where your story came from, what inspired it, etc. This will run half a year after your story – and hopefully bring you new readers. It’s up to you whether to include spoilers.
- link – a link to a new Submittable form where you can attach the contract and paste all the above information in.
Once I get all the above, I create draft Metaphorosis posts for it all. Then you get paid! I send the payment via whatever PayPal address you provided. I’ll send a confirming e-mail, along with any clarifying questions about the bio, etc.
Once I have the authors and artists for a particular month wrapped up, I’ll send you a scheduling e-mail with a table of contents, letting you know when you’re up and who the other authors and the artist are. I’ll also schedule the posts, and put together physical and e-book versions.
You’re done, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the story and other posts to come out. You’re welcome to start bragging any time after the contract is signed, and to submit new stories to us! You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up to an e-mail list I use to send out announcements about new anthologies, etc. – participation usually limited to list participants.