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Submitted on
January 30, 2013
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A Simple Guide to Submitting Written Works Effectively and Professionally

This guide is designed to help writers beautify their written work. Its sole purpose is to make these works more reader friendly in order to receive more hits. It is made up of suggestions that can be taken or left at each writer's own discretion.
  • ALWAYS EDIT BEFORE SUBMITTING. Evaluate sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling to avoid errors. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Oddly enough, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of writing for a lot of us. For many of us, editing is the most dreaded step in the creative process, but I cannot stress to you how important it is to edit thoughtfully and thoroughly. Yes, mistakes are a part of writing, and sometimes, no matter how many times you proof read, you'll still miss one or two of those nasty buggers. Still, editing now is better than editing later when the work is already uploaded for everyone to see.
    • Why is it important to edit?
      • Well, for starters, it looks extremely unprofessional to have a lot of grammatical and spelling mistakes in your work. No matter how wonderful your story or poem is, bad grammar and spelling are a distraction to your readers from everything you might be trying to say. Never sacrifice your work for something that can be easily prevented.
      • Language is the most important part of your writing. That's why we're writers! We love words! Since the foundation of our order is language, we should understand the proper usage of it.
      • Although you may understand your work inside and out, your readers don't have access to your mind. If you don't say what you mean, your readers can become lost. Keep them in mind as you write in order to avoid confusion. After all, they're one of the biggest reasons we write.
    • How do we go about editing?
      • Read your work aloud to yourself or to a friend. Be sure everything sounds correct and that your sentences flow easily, i. e., no "wordy" or "empty" sentences. This will help when evaluating dialogue as well. Ask questions about your work that you would want to know the answers to if you were the reader, then be sure the answers are clear. If you aren't sure about a grammar rule, look it up or ask someone who might know. We live in the 21st century, and the resources are endless.
      • Send your draft to a trusted friend, preferably one who understands grammar and technique, who is available to proof read and discuss the content with you.
      • Most of us are just starting out and can't afford professional editors, but there are other people out here on the wide web (and DA) who have a grasp on the dynamics of grammar. Join groups and forums; advertise that you are searching for someone to help you edit your work. Just remember that, unfortunately, art theft is a serious issue; be very choosy when selecting an editor over the internet.
  • MAKE YOUR WORK READABLE. Avoid excessive and insufficient spacing; avoid long works. Most people find it difficult to sit down at a computer and read text. It's boring, and there are plenty of distractions, which means that we have to make an even greater effort to hold the readers' attentions.
    • The way a submission simply looks may effect your hits. Most readers don't want to read a block of text without any spaces. The biggest reason for this is because it's much easier to lose their place in text without spacing than text with it. To avoid this, I usually add one space between paragraphs. It's simple but effective. Although the decision to space or not to space will vary from author to author, I think most readers prefer the former.
    • In contrast with the first point, the second most unattractive quality in a work can be too many spaces. Unless there's an actual break in the text, the rule of thumb is to use just one space.
    • This one concerns those of us with long narratives, so hang tight for a second, poetry people. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, sometimes the length of a work can be intimidating. Unfortunately, if it appears long, many readers will skip it for something shorter. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to not write long works; however, I do suggest submitting long works in smaller parts.
  • DO NOT USE ELEMENTS IN YOUR WRITING THAT BREAK THE FOURTH WALL. This is to be avoided at all cost. Steer clear of emoticons, abbreviations, etc. This is an issue I rarely see, but every now and again, a deviation will crop up where someone is doing this.
    • On DA, there's a great little thing at the end of every submission designed specifically for descriptions and author's notes. Here, it is perfectly acceptable to include emoticons, abbreviations, what have you. It is also acceptable to leave this space blank. On other sites without this feature, such as fanfiction.net, it would be acceptable to denote the author's notes at the bottom of the submission.
    • The reason I say not to include any of the above is because they take the reader out of your writing completely. Even if the author's notes seem harmless sitting at the top of the submission, in reality they're very distracting.
  • ACCEPT CRITICISM AND FEEDBACK PROFESSIONALLY. Never blatantly disregard a suggestion or bash opinions. Few of us are published yet, and many of us here on DA are striving to grow as artists and expand our knowledge of our crafts. For this reason, we must never, under any circumstance, be rude to those offering us advice.
    • Most advice is given from the heart. When someone runs across your work and comments with a suggestion, they genuinely want you to improve in your writing. Take that as a compliment within itself, and consider carefully and thoughtfully whatever they have to say. Be open-minded and willing to reevaluate your work. (That doesn't mean change it to whatever someone tells you; simply consider different ideas and approaches.)
    • Sometimes situations arise when a reader will disagree with your plot devices or your form or your style no matter what. Remember to be open-minded, but defend your work! If you're passionate about what you write, and you have reasons to back up your decisions, then explain it. Advice is simply that. You aren't forced to accept everything that is suggested to you.
    • There is no situation where it is acceptable to indulge trolls. You will only fuel their fire and make yourself look unprofessional in the long run. Report them if there's a problem. Simple as that.
    • Remember to thank your audience for their comments and feedback. I don't mean for you to kiss their asses, but remember where those hits on your works come from. Be kind to your readers, and they'll be kind to you.
  • LOVE WHAT YOU WRITE! Have fun with your writing! Try something new and experiment with different elements to see what's useful and what isn't. Remember, if you don't enjoy what you do, it isn't worth doing.
I felt like doing a guide. XD

Nothing in this guide is obligatory.
These are the guidelines I keep in mind when I submit my work, and they can be sifted through and picked apart at each individual author's discretion. You might like one thing in this but dislike something else. Fine by me. However, if you do find this helpful in any way, please feel free to let me know. I've never written any guides for DA, so I'd like to know if this was insightful at all.

I'm aware that there are already several guides explaining how to become popular and get more views on written works; this one really just deals with how to make written works look presentable and professional.

If something seems vague, or you want to ask me about a topic I didn't cover, leave a comment! :D

Have fun, kids! Go be famous!
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:iconprisonbreak94:
prisonbreak94 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014
Thanks a lot for the tips! I'd love for everyone to have a look at my literature and give me some feedback:) Will return the favour! :)
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:iconbluishshimmer:
BluishShimmer Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the tips and hints. :)
Reply
:iconmoffett1990:
Moffett1990 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I wish my work would get more views but no matter how good it is nobody pays attention to it :/ moffett1990.deviantart.com/art…
Reply
:iconridderkvinden:
Ridderkvinden Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
Thank you very much for making this really easy-to-read and wonderful guide :) Even though most of us know these things, they are so easy to forget when you're in a hurry, or if you're just so engulfed in writing that your fingers are too fast (or slow) for your mind to keep up :D Thank you again for the really helpful guide, and rest assured I will do my share to recommend it to others by faving it :D
Reply
:iconmylittleprimo:
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013
That last bold sentence; any tips on what those new elements are, and/or where I can find elements to experiment with?
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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013   General Artist
guidelines good! *thump chest* grog feel edu-macated!
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:icon4sauce4:
4sauce4 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Student Writer
:icongeicocavemanplz: :iconsaysplz: sauce glad to help!
Reply
:iconloverofwolves1314:
loverofwolves1314 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student General Artist
I posted a few chapters in my story and I think I need to use more words and stuff I guess :P
Reply
:iconbiscuitdude:
BiscuitDude Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
These are some very good guidelines. I know grammar is my weakness - but I do my best to overcome it.
Reply
:icon4sauce4:
4sauce4 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Student Writer
I've known many brilliant writers and creative minds to have some of the worst grammar. It's just another hurdle to leap.
Trust me, getting someone you trust to proofread your work is very, very helpful. Even when you proofread yourself, you're apt to miss things; generally, someone with fresh eyes will catch more than you will.
Good luck to you! :)
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