#SubmitTip ~ Make Us Fall In Love With You

If you're familiar with our submission guidelines you'll already know that, more than your publishing credits, we really want to know you. Actually, to quote ourselves directly: 

No pressure, we just want to fall in love with you.

And we mean it. Publishing credits are great and we will celebrate your portfolio with you but we value people over product and if you can give us a taste of who you are and sell us on your winning personality, we're going to want you in our tribe before we even read your submission.

how to writer a cover letter for blank spaces magazine
Seem backward?

Perhaps BUT we have a vision of creating a community of connected creatives who are likeable as well as talented and, the truth is, if you can write a winning cover letter, we're pretty confident you can write a winning submission!

There are thousands of online resources telling you how to write a cover letter but we want to give you permission to ignore all of them! That's why we laid it out simply in our guidelines. Forget what the experts say—at least when it comes to submitting to us—and really, just help us fall in love with you!

Our favourite submission letters, so far, have been the ones that feel personal, that show us who a person is beyond the words on the page. Some use humour. Some use vulnerability. Some are simply written in a posture that feels warm and genuine. We don't want your cold, hard, cover letter. We want to meet the you that meets your friends for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

We will leave you with this example. It's ballsy and silly but it does exactly what we wanted it to do: we fell in love. Now (full disclosure) this actually came from my sister so, granted, she probably felt a little more ease in her boldness AND she knows my sense of humour, but take this as permission to get crazy. Trust us—it will only help your chances of being accepted. 


Dear Blank Spaces Editor in Chief,

Please consider the below submission for your absolutely, wonderful, brand new, awesome magazine.

I am the sister of an incredibly talented writer, who has just recently started her own magazine.  Obviously, I will never be as talented as her, but with her as a sister, and another writer as a father, there is a lot of familial pressure to at least give this writing thing a little bit of a shot. And, hey, I know when to use "seen" versus "saw", and the difference between "there", "their", and "they're", which is quite the accomplishment for the area in which I live. I am also familiar with punctuation, and use it on a daily basis. Based on these facts alone, I am obviously a very skilled writer, and it's only a matter of time until I make millions of dollars on my brilliant book, that I have not yet started, nor thought about it. (See how I used the word "nor"? Non-writers just can't do that.) I have included a copy of my brilliance below, for which you will be honoured (see the "u" there? Absolute proof I'm Canadian) to put in your magazine, or blog, or trashbin, if you so choose. This piece is sure to up the quality of your entire magazine based on its pure brilliance. I would like you to be aware that the fact I am offering this to you to use in your magazine, and not demanding compensation, is incredibly generous of me, since I'm sure any other magazine would pay vast amounts to print it themselves. 

Humbly yours,

Heidi Eastman

The below brilliant piece of literature could be a blog post, or magazine article under the category of Shameless, or Story Matters (if you think it fits), or a fire starter.

Also, the title sucks, and I know it.  Perhaps a better one will come to me in a dream...


What Heidi missed in her letter was a brief description about her article; however, this was so fun to read, we hardly noticed the oversight AND her piece has gone on to be approved and it will appear as The Final Word in our December issue—not because she's my sister, but because she baited us well with her witty banter.
 
http://blankspaces.alannarusnak.com/p/submissions.html
Make us fall in love with you! Obviously, we don't want to walk out on a pier with you to share a kiss while waves crash against the rocks...or maybe we do...I guess it's all up to you.

Hint 1: we appreciate clever self-deprication, not disingenuous humility; we love sarcasm, not meanness; we want honest voices, not mimics; we watch for clever turn-of-phrase, not perfect spelling/grammar; sure, flatter us, but don't let it sound hollow.

Hint 2: Blank Spaces is its own entity. Don't apply our advice to your submissions to other literary magazines. Always read through a publications guidelines because every one is looking for something a little different. While we might be looking for wit and warmth, another might want nothing more than a dry resume. Neither is wrong but it's your job to know who wants what and to do your best to meet those requirements.

Good luck! 




 
Alanna Rusnak is an author, a blogger, and a seeker of the extraordinary. Living with her husband, three children, and an overweight cat (who's kind of an idiot), on a small patch of untamable land in Southwestern Ontario. Trying to do it all with some measure of grace. (She is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of this pretty little magazine!) [author website, twitter, facebook, instagram]

Hells Bells

Volume 1, Issue 1 - September 2016

Hells Bells by Janette Shipston Chan

There were little differences between my parents and my friends' parents. My parents never took me to church or sent me to Sunday School and they explained Christmas as the day some people believe Jesus was born. Most of my friends had been baptized or Christened—I never knew what the difference was, but their blighted souls were saved or cleansed as they needed to be and they could go to heaven. My soul was not cleansed. Did that mean I was going to Hell? Or maybe my parents were, since they made the choice not to have my soul pre-approved for entrance to the holy kingdom.
And I probably needed that pre-approval, on account of Dad's thoughts on religion and his near religious fervour for sharing them with anyone who broached the subject.




Janette Shipston Chan grew up in Thunder Bay. She now lives in Toronto where she writes and occasionally blogs. Janette is currently writing a middle-grade fantasy inspired by a paragraph in 'Travel in the Land of Kubilai Khan' by Marco Polo.


PURCHASE THIS ISSUE & READ THE REST OF THE STORY

Blank Spaces - September 2016
42 pages, published 8/21/2016
Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blank Spaces is a celebration of Canadian talent, featuring the work of artists—writers, painters, photographers, poets, etc.With intentions to publish quarterly editions, we are continually accepting submissions.

Consumption

Volume 1, Issue 1 - September 2016

Consumption by Geraldine Mac Donald

Eighteen hundred kilometers straight, through night. He was always in a rush to get home.

Landmarks ticked off as we passed. A tunnel under the St. Lawrence River. Montreal lit up like day. Riviere-du-Loup woven into a yarn about a wolf chasing boys named Edmund and Fredric. A quick stop in Moncton to see water run up hill.

The stench from the pulp and paper mill would hit us first. That, and the graveyard filled with our clan. Resting in rows, but never peacefully. The Mac Donalds never rest in peace.




Geraldine Mac Donald is a graduate of Queen's University, a former registered nurse, a medical/scientific translator; a writer, published author, and mother of four. Her first novel for young adults has recently been released to rave reviews. Her second novel will be released in 2016. Geraldine lives, works, and plays with her family in Kingston, Ontario.


PURCHASE THIS ISSUE & READ THE REST OF THE STORY

Blank Spaces - September 2016
42 pages, published 8/21/2016
Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blank Spaces is a celebration of Canadian talent, featuring the work of artists—writers, painters, photographers, poets, etc.With intentions to publish quarterly editions, we are continually accepting submissions.

How To Build Anticipation In Your Writing

by Geraldine Mac Donald

It’s that sweet build-up of wonder, that feeling of exhilaration mixed with the unknown: who’s around the corner, what’s going to happen, where’s this going next? 

You feel it coming on like a distant thunderstorm before the first crack of cloud and rain. The sky around you subtly changes colour. The cows bed down in their fields. And, is it your imagination or does the air taste different too? 

how to build anticipation in your writing

BOOM! 

SPLASH! 

It takes skill to craft the right amount of tension in writing. It takes practice and time to lead the reader onward and forward. Hooking them is easy enough, if you’ve got a way with words, but how do you keep them wondering? Guessing? Wanting more? Then, how do you leave them hanging off that proverbial cliff just so they’ll want to climb again? 

In this age of media bombardment and hyper-stimulation it’s not as easy as it once was to catch and keep your readers’ attention. So it’s more important than ever to know how to draw them in and keep them within the boundaries of the limitless story you’ve created. You want nothing more than to pull them into the pages of your work just so you can engage their minds to fully roam and explore that world, those events, and these characters. 

There’s no greater compliment to a writer than, “I couldn’t put your book down,” or, “I devoured your story.”  Good tension is one of the best ways to achieve that goal. 

                                         “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.” Oscar Wilde

CRACK! 

BOOM! 

Here’s how I attempt to create suspense in writing...




author Geraldine Mac DonaldGeraldine Mac Donald is a graduate of Queen's University, a former registered nurse, a medical/scientific translator; a writer, published author, and mother of four. One favourite memory of childhood was when she discovered that town libraries were public and anyone could get a card! It was a life-changing day. Her first novel for young adults has recently been released to rave reviews. Her second novel will be released in 2016. Besides translating medical stuff she writes fiction and creative nonfiction. Geraldine lives, works and plays with her family in Kingston, Ontario. 

Watch for a beautiful piece of creative non-fiction coming from Geraldine in our September issue! Pre-orders are being accepted until August 20, 2016.

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