Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Guidelines for Submitting a Manuscript

It’s time. You’re finally ready to submit your writing to a press. After many hours of researching and editing, it would certainly be a shame to see your manuscript returned to you, the dreaded rejection slip attached to the cover. In order to avoid this disappointing outcome, we’ve compiled a checklist to help make the process quicker, more efficient, and less frightening for the fledgling writer.

1. Proofread your manuscript one last time.

In the past, this was generally left to the hands of the editors at the publishing house. However, with the advent of self-publishing and many more manuscripts to sift through, well-proofread works are in demand. Your manuscript will stand out more if it is as error-free as humanly possible. It might seem unnecessary and even tedious if you’ve already performed regular edits throughout the writing process, but it’s still important. You don’t want your manuscript to be rejected over an easily corrected typo.

2. Make absolutely certain you adhere to the standard formatting guidelines.

The general expectations for a submission vary depending on the genre and audience, but there are hard rules that every writer must follow when it comes to formatting. They are as follows:

  • Your manuscript should always be double spaced. It’s easier on the eyes and more readable than a single-spaced text.
  • Consistently use a standard font size and type throughout the manuscript. When in doubt, it is always safe to use the default Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Put page numbers in your manuscript’s header. Manuscripts are big and easy to get out of order. If the editor can’t follow the flow of your writing because the pages are unnumbered and thrown together haphazardly, they will not accept it.
  • Include your last name and story title in the header as well. Ensure that the editor does not accidentally mix up your pages with someone else’s.
  • Only type on one side of the paper. Saving paper is tempting, but ultimately detrimental in the submission process.
  • If you’re submitting a paper copy of your manuscript, do not bind the pages together with anything permanent. Editors need access to individual pages.

3. Convey professionalism and keep track of your records.

Grammatical correctness and proper formatting do not guarantee acceptance. You should still present yourself professionally in order to stand out.

  • Just as one would for a job application, include a cover letter. This should include a brief synopsis of what your work is about as well as your personal contact information. Do not include any information that is irrelevant to the manuscript, such as childhood stories.
  • Always have a paper and electronic copy of your manuscript. Publishers have a significant pile of manuscripts to sort through. They might take longer than expected to send it back to you with initial proofs if it is accepted. In the worst possible case, it may be misplaced or even disposed of if rejected. Keep multiple copies on hand to avoid losing a significant amount of time and work.
  • Many editors also advise that you cover the cost of returning the manuscript. This can be as simple as paying for the stamp. Whether the manuscript is accepted or rejected, you must maintain a professional demeanor. Editors will be much more willing to work with you in the future if you make their lives (and jobs) easier by covering the postage cost of a returned manuscript.

4. Be sure your manuscript matches the publisher’s genres.

If you’re submitting a creative writing piece about a woman who hears whispers in the walls of her home, it would be best to focus on a magazine such as Cemetery Dance, which solicits and publishes only horror stories. Always make sure that the content of your work—the genre, writing style, and theme—matches whatever publisher you are considering. If you are uncertain about a press, visit their website to find out more about them. It doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with their catalog as well!

5. Keep these final words in mind: Caution, Organization, and Persistence.

  • Avoid any presses that require you to pay them. These ‘vanity presses’ tend to prey on the inexperience of new authors.
  • Create a system where you can keep track of where each manuscript is sent and what further action needs to be taken on your part. Be sure to note the date.
  • To quote every successfully published author: Never stop trying. Write every day, send manuscripts to as many publishers as possible, and learn from every rejection that you may receive.

What tips have you learned when submitting your manuscript? Let us know in the comment below. Interested in more great content? Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and find our complete catalog on our homepage.

Intern Spotlight: Ariana Adams

Greetings fellow bloggers! My name is Ariana Adams, and I am an upcoming senior at the University of North Georgia who has been lucky enough to land an internship with our fantastic Press this Spring. I am so excited to begin this journey and learn about all of the intriguing ins and outs of the publishing industry during my time here.

When not at the Press, I am making myself a fixture in all of the regular haunts for English majors on campus such as our beautiful library, enchanting Great Room, and our fabulous English Department. I have also enjoyed exploring some of the other art programs on campus. From our excellent and inspiring Music Department, which I was honored to participate in through the concert band my freshman year, to the Art Department itself where I am currently pursuing a minor in Graphic Design, I have loved exploring and learning about the arts and how they both move and challenge us.

Other than my love of the arts, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, crocheting, reading, watching Netflix (a habit I am currently trying to curb), and building community in the resident halls as a Resident Assistant on our beautiful Dahlonega campus. Considering most of my hobbies and their laid-back nature, many of my friends tease me and say that I am the ultimate Mom Friend of the group. Personally, I take the title as a compliment. Helping others through anything that comes their way has always been a passion of mine, and I hope to bring positive and encouraging characteristics into every interaction I have.

After graduating, my hope is to earn a Master’s Degree in Publishing and work at a small indie press for a while to gain additional experience. After that the future is a bit unclear, but I am eager to see what new opportunities and experiences are in store. For now though, I am honored to share the next few months with you, and thrilled to learn everything I can from our strong and extremely talented University Press staff. Until next time lovely readers, adieu!

“UNG The Gold I See” Launch Info + Book Signing

Congratulations to our two giveaway winners: Bailey Schuster and Jessie Atkinson!

Mark your calendars. UNG The Gold I See: The Legacy of UNG’s Dahlonega Campus releases in only one week! Are you excited? We sure are! That’s why we’re throwing a launch party.

Author Bonita Jacobs will be doing a short reading with a signing after. Come visit the Dahlonega Campus bookstore on Tuesday, November 27, from noon – 1 pm. Refreshments will be provided, and there will be a giveaway to win a free copy as well as a t-shirt. This event is open to students, faculty, staff, and the public. Books can be bought at the bookstore using cash, check, or card (American Express cannot be accepted).

Author book signing for "UNG The Gold I See" Dahlonega campus bookstore on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, from noon to 1 pm. Live reading followed by the book signing. There will be free refreshments and a giveaway. All proceeds go to UNG scholarships.

UNG The Gold I See: The Legacy of UNG’s Dahlonega Campus (978-1-940771-46-5) is an 8.5 x 11 hardback, priced at $29.99. It is printed in full color with illustrations on every page and is designed for Level 4 readers. In addition to the captivating story and images, children will delight in trying to find the hidden nighthawks on every page as they tour UNG’s Dahlonega campus with the Smith family. A history of UNG is included after the story so parents and grandparents can share more details and history. For an additional donation, you can customize your copy with a dedication page to create a treasure that will be remembered forever. UNG The Gold I See is the first in a series about the five UNG campuses: Dahlonega, Gainesville, Cumming, Oconee, and Blue Ridge. The book about Gainesville campus is already in development and will release in 2019.

All proceeds from the book go towards funding scholarships at UNG. Leave your own legacy by helping students build their future.

How to Measure Readability

Have you every measured the readability of your writing? We’ve all had a text to read where we didn’t understand a word it said, no matter how many times we read it. Readability is the ease with which a reader can understand a written text. You may have been perfectly smart enough to understand your biology textbook, but the readability of the information presented may have been above your level.

There are a few factors that determine a work’s readability:

  • the vocabulary used
  • the syntax
  • the sentence structure
  • the typography (like the font and its size)

But how do we take these parts and actually determine readability? There are a few different methods.

Flesch Reading Ease Test

Rudolf Flesch developed the Flesch Reading Ease Test in the 1940s. It uses a mathematical formula to determine how easy a text is to read. A higher number means a text is easier to read; a lower number means it is more difficult. Flesch’s work had a huge impact on increasing readership, especially in journalism.

The mathematical formula for the Flesh Reading Ease Test: 206.835 - 1.015 * (total words / total sentences) - 84.6 * (total syllables / total words)

Score Notes
100.00-90.00 Very easy to read. Easily understood by an average 11-year-old student.
90.0–80.0 Easy to read. Conversational English for consumers.
80.0–70.0 Fairly easy to read.
70.0–60.0 Plain English. Easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students.
60.0–50.0 Fairly difficult to read.
50.0–30.0 Difficult to read.
30.0–0.0 Very difficult to read. Best understood by university graduates.

The above chart from Wikipedia breaks down the readability scale.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula

In 1975, the Flesch Reading Ease Test was refined by J. Peter Kincaid as part of an effort by the United States government to improve the readability of technical documents. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula presents the score as a U. S. grade level. A score of 8 means the the material is understandable at an 8th grade or above grade level (but a 6th grader might have difficulty with it). Because the total words, sentences, and syllables are weighed differently than in the original Flesch Reading Ease Test, the two formulas are not directly compatible.

The mathematical formula for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 0.39 * (total words / total sentences) + 11.8 (total syllables / total words) - 15.59

The Lexile Framework for Reading

The Lexile framework was developed by A. J. Stenner and Malbert Smith III in 1989 and funded by the National Institutes of Health. The framework is divided into two categories: A Lexile reading measure (what level the reader is at) and a Lexile text measure (the difficulty of a specific text). The Lexile framework is frequently used in schools. Unlike the Flesch formulas, the creators of the Lexile framework retained their intellectual property rights, meaning that educators must pay for their services.

Readability is especially important to children’s books. Because their reading skills are still developing, giving children a book too far above their reading level can deter or confuse them. Most children’s books have a clear marker for what reading level it is on, though the ranking system can vary by publisher, such as Scholastic’s Guided Reading Levels.

No matter what type of writing you are doing, keeping readability in mind will help aid your reader’s comprehension and understanding. If you’re a publisher, make sure that your readability levels match the industry’s standards. If you’re anAn example of the readability statistics provided by Microsoft Word. Section One is Counts: Words, Characters, Paragraphs, Sentences. Section Two is Averages: Sentences per Paragraph, Words per Sentence, Characters per Word. Section Three is Readability: Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Passive Sentences. author, make sure to keep your audience’s abilities in mind. If using Microsoft Word, you can even check your readability statistics according to the Flesch scales. Under the Proofing option in Word, make sure to select “Check grammar with spelling.” After you run spell check, you’ll receive your readability statistics. For this article, our Flesch Reading Ease score is 52.5 and our Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is 8.9.

If you’re a parent, don’t be afraid to encourage your child to try a book above their reading level. Because of the factors measured, a more-adult book may have an ‘easier’ score. Sometimes, the punctuation used can change a score even if the actual text never changes. We don’t want to deny books to children, so if your little one wants to explore harder texts, encourage them. After all, there are amazing stories to discover at all reading levels.

 Interested in more great content? Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and find our complete catalog on our homepage.

“Give ‘Way to the Right” Book Release Remembers the Soldiers Who Fought in World War I

Jillian Murphy

  • Give ’Way to the Right recounts the true story of Chris Emmett’s service in World War I
  • Give ’Way to the Right releases November 11, 2018, the 100 year anniversary of the Armistice, from the University of North Georgia Press

Dahlonega, GANovember 11, 2018—The University of North Georgia Press is pleased to announce our latest release: Give ’Way to the Right by Chris Emmett, edited by David Scott Stieghan. The book releases November 11, 2018, on the 100 year anniversary of the Armistice of World War I.

The front cover of "Give 'Way to the Right" by Chris Emmett, edited by David Scott Stieghan. The cover shows a destroyed battle field.
Cover design by Corey Parson

Give ’Way to the Right is the true account of Chris Emmett’s experience in World War I. Emmett joined the war effort in 1917 and was part of the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.) on the Western Front, where he served in France with L Company. Written following Emmett’s discharge from the army, Give ’Way to the Right was not originally intended for public audiences. The result is an honest record of what Emmett saw in the war: men not given proper medical attention when needed, officers promoted without merit, and trenches that did little to protect the soldiers in them. Emmett’s account shows the truth of warfare to later generations that knew nothing of war. It is a memorial to the friends he lost and a reminder of what lays on a battlefield.

Editor David Scott Stieghan is the United States Army Infantry Branch Historian at Fort Benning, Georgia. He has taught history at colleges in Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia and is currently the Military History Instructor for the U. S. Army Infantry. Stieghan has worked on twenty-eight Armed Forces Radio and Television Service Military Heritage Spots, eight shows for the History Channel, nine for the Outdoor Channel, and twenty-one shows for the Military Channel as a technical advisor and Subject Matter Expert. He also served as technical advisor for the mini-series “Truman” on HBO and “Rough Riders” on TNT.

Give ’Way to the Right (978-1-940771-44-1) is a 6 x 9 paperback with 318 pages. It can be purchased through Ingram, Amazon, and other major retailers for $24.95. It includes original illustrations by Emmett as well as additional footnotes, photographs, and annotations by Stieghan. Give ’Way to the Right will make a wonderful addition to any military history library.

The University of North Georgia Press, a scholarly, peer-reviewed press, is an extension of our sponsoring university, the University of North Georgia. Our primary function is to promote education and research with a special emphasis on innovative scholarship and pedagogy.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Officially Begins!

The official logo for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). it is a blue shield with a viking helmet on top. The shield has a coffee cup, a computer, two pens crossed over each other making an X, and a stack of papers.It’s November which means it’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Authors of all genres take part in the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel from November 1 to November 30. If you’re as good at math as you are at writing, you’ll realize that’s 1,667 words per day. It’s not the easiest challenge, but it is a fun one. We want to start the month off write (get it?), so here are three tips to help you begin.

1. Make a Storyboard

Write down each scene on an index card. Using a corkboard—or even some tape and a blank wall—arrange your scenes in order of how they’re presented in the book. For most of us, this’ll be chronologically, but it may not be. Seeing the scenes laid out gives you a bird’s-eye view, allowing you to see how everything connects. It’s also easier to move around scenes as you figure things out. Maybe a middle scene works better at the beginning. Just move your index card and test it.

2. Write the Most Exciting Scenes First

You don’t have to write the story linearly, even if it’ll be told that way. Start with the scenes that excite you the most. They’ll be the most fun to explore and may help motivate you to write the necessary but slower scenes that connect them. You’ll also find that by starting with the most exciting scenes, the previous slower scenes may be unnecessary altogether, and you can remove them from the story.

3. Don’t Tell Anyone About Your Project

This may be the hardest thing to do. We’re excited about our writing. It’s meant to be shared! But sharing your story too early is the fastest way to lose motivation. Set yourself a “share goal,” where you can only share the information after you’ve completed a certain amount of writing. Your goal may be “write a chapter” or “finish a scene.” Whatever it is, it’ll get you writing, instead of talking about writing.


If you’re in the Dahlonega area, join us for a weekly Write In, sponsored by The Chestatee Review and the University of North Georgia Press. We’re meeting every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) from 7 pm – 9 pm on the second floor of Starbucks.

 Interested in more great content? Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and find our complete catalog on our homepage.

The Many Editions of Frankenstein

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus was first published on January 1, 1818 without attribution. Only 500 copies were produced by the small publishing house known as Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones in London. Little to the publishing house’s knowledge, Frankenstein would end up becoming one of the most influential novels of all time. Four years later, Frankenstein was reprinted after the success of a play created by Richard Brinsley Peake based on the novel which sparked an interest within its audience members. This is the first time Mary Shelley claimed Frankenstein as her own.

Later in 1831, another edition was published. This edition went on to become the standard edition which most people have read. Though it is the most common, this edition was heavily edited by Shelley before publication due to some critiques citing the original as far too radical and vulgar. The Quarterly Review, a literary and political periodical, said the 1818 version of Frankenstein was, “a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity,” upon its release. Because of the 1831 edition, there has been controversy as to which edition is most deserving of the spotlight. However, we think both have merit!

The 1818 Edition

The 1818 edition is the original work of Mary Shelley. It’s the one that started it all, and for some, the edition deserving of all the attention. The merit in this edition is in its origin. The 1818 edition was spawned from a friendly writing competition among Shelley’s friends and is loved by scholars and Franken-heads for its rawness and unaltered state. It’s believed this edition contains the original message of Shelley where the 1831 version tatters it. Plus, who wouldn’t love to own one of the original 500? Getting a hold of one may be difficult though, unless you have €350,000 to spend on Lord Byron’s personal copy signed by Shelley herself!

The 1831 Edition

To the chagrin of many, the 1831 version is the most widely read edition of Frankenstein. Anne K. Mellor wrote an essay in the W. W. Norton Critical edition arguing that the 1831 edition of Frankenstein loses Shelley’s tone and doesn’t coincide with her original vision. To understand the outcry of many, the alterations from the 1818 edition to the 1831 edition need to be listed:

  • The 1818 edition’s first chapter was expanded as well as split into two different chapters
  • The 1831 edition had changes made to the origin story of Elizabeth Lavenza
  • The 1831 edition introduces the concept of galvanism, a power thought to be able to reanimate bodies
  • The 1831 edition includes more of Victor’s motivations and thoughts for creating life

But even if some do detest the 1831 version, it still has a merit which might be overlooked. The main one being most people have read the 1831 edition. When we read books, we like to discuss them with others who have read the book. With the 1831 edition being the most popular, that means it’s more likely to come across someone who has read it. This means we readers can fulfill our need to discuss this edition easier than the 1818 edition.

Editions, Editions, and More Editions

Since its creation, Frankenstein has been made into almost 300 editions. Yes, you read that right. 300. Romantic Circles, a scholarly website devoted to the Romantic period, has compiled a list of editions starting from the original 1818 version all the way to a 2000 Spanish translation. Below, we’ve compiled five editions of Frankenstein worth taking a look at. (And maybe even purchasing, if you have the coin.) Which is your favorite?

1931 edition, from Grossett and Dunlap

1) The Grosset and Dunlap Edition

Based solely on the iconic cover, the Grosset and Dunlap edition of Frankenstein makes the list. This edition was printed in 1931 to capitalize on the Frankenstein movie produced by Universal pictures that year, simply titled Frankenstein. This movie became a cult classic, and by 1943, Universal reported the movie made $708,871 with only a $262,007 budget! Unfortunately, you’ll have to be comfortable with shelling out a little over $1,000 for this edition.


2016 edition from Puffin Books

 2) The Puffin 8-Bit Edition

If you’re into the 8-bit video game aesthetic, this edition of Frankenstein is for you. Puffin published this retro looking Frankenstein in 2016. This is particularly neat if you’re a video game buff and remember Dr. Franken released on the Game Boy which holds similar artwork.


2014 edition from Uber Books

3) The 1818 and 1831 Editions in One Book

This edition of Frankenstein from Uber Books includes both the 1818 edition and 1831 edition all in one book. No more arguing about which one is better! You could use this edition to closely compare the two editions.



2015 edition from Barnes & Noble

4) The Barnes & Noble Edition

This Barnes & Noble edition of Frankenstein gives off dark castle library vibes with its red and black aesthetic. The pages have gilded red edges, contributing even more to the spooky factor of this edition. And if you have read Frankenstein before, the lightning on the cover is great foreshadowing!


Mid-1940s edition of "Frankenstein" from Classic Comics
Mid-1940s edition from Classic Comics

5) The Classic Comics Edition

If you’re looking for a more casual read of Frankenstein, perhaps this Classic Comics edition is for you. Classic Comics set out to turn classic novels into graphic novels and, of course, Frankenstein made it in. What makes this crossover so great is the nicely drawn illustrations alongside a condensed version of the original work.


2018 edition of "Frankenstein" from Rockport Publishers
2018 edition from Rockport Publishers

6) The Classics Reimagined Edition

This edition from Rockport Publishers is specially illustrated by graphic artist David Plunkert for the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein. There are illustrations inside as well, including an 8-page insert that shows doctor designs and a full spread of the monster. Frankenstein and his creature have never been so horrifying.


Celebrate Franken Fridays with us! Frighteningly fun events are held each Friday to celebrate Frankenstein’s 200th publishing anniversary. Connect with us on social media using the #FrankenFriday tag.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, Oct. 26

  • 11 a.m., Library 134, Gainesville Campus—”Frankenstein and Posthumanism” faculty panel featuring Dr. Lynn Berdanier, Dr. John Hamilton, Dr. Jeanelle Morgan, and Dr. Kristin Yager
  • Noon to 3 p.m., upstairs lobby, Cumming Campus—PoeDown and costume contest
  • Noon, Library 134, Gainesville Campus—“Monster Theory” faculty panel featuring Dr. Jeff Pardue, Dr. Phil Guerty, Dr. Patsy Worrall
  • 3-5 p.m., Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlonega Campus—“Secrets from the Grave” guided tour of Mount Hope Cemetery.