Hey, you got an acceptance letter. Awesome. Now what? Well, the editor is likely going to ask you for a few things, and I think it’s a great idea to have these items ready to go and at your fingertips. So consider the following like a story acceptance prep kit and get busy.
1) Short Author Bio. Most markets will ask you for a short bio of around 50 words to run alongside your story. Here’s my current bio to give you an idea of what’s usually expected.
Aeryn Rudel is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington. His second novel, Aftershock, was recently published by Privateer Press. Aeryn occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) on his blog at www.rejectomancy.com or on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.
That bio is right around 40 words and tells folks who I am, what I do, and where they can learn more about me and my writing. I’ve written two blog posts about creating author bios, which you can find here: Submission Protocol: Short Author Bio and Evolution of a Short Author Bio.
2) PayPal Account. One of the best parts of getting published is getting paid for getting published. The vast majority of publishers I’ve worked with prefer to pay via PayPal and some won’t pay any other way. So set up an account if you haven’t already.
3) Author Photo. This one is sometimes optional, and some publishers will also give you the option of not using one. That said, if you don’t mind having your picture appear on the web or in print, then have one ready to go. Here’s my mug shot as an example:
I like black and white, but color is usually fine too. Generally, an author photo should be a head-shot, high resolution (at least 300 dpi), and a JPEG or TIF file. If you’d like more info about creating an author photo, I wrote a blog post about that too, which you can find right here: Picture Me: Some Thoughts/Advice on Author Photos.
These are three things I find editors commonly ask for after an acceptance, and as I stated earlier, I recommend having them ready to go. This is not to say an editor won’t give you time to put these together–editors are generally reasonable folks–but if you can provide them quickly, you look like a professional and prepared author. That’s always a good look. 🙂
Anything else that should be included in the story acceptance prep kit? Let me know in the comments.
When I get an acceptance, usually editors ask for #1, and sometimes they’ll ask for #3. Sadly, not too many ask for #2.
PayPal is the most common way for markets to pay in my experience. How do the markets you publish at generally pay?
They don’t. LOL
Ah! Missed that little bit of nuance. 🙂
I receive payments via PayPal, but I also received payments via check and via direct deposit. Non-U.S. publishers (large publishers, not small press) use direct deposit, so it behooves you to have a checking account in a bank that can take deposits from non-U.S. institutions. I discovered recently that my credit union no longer accepts direct deposits from non-U.S. institutions and the publisher would not use any other form of payment. What a fuster-cluck.
Anyhow, some additions to your Story Acceptance Prep Kit that you may wish to add in the future:
One or more alternate bios. For example, I use one bio for my crime fiction, another for my women’s fiction, and a third for horror/sf/fantasy. Additionally, I keep a long-form bio on hand for those occasions where a more detailed overview of my background is necessary (being interviewed by the press, lecturing/leading workshops at conferences/conventions, etc.)
Alternate author photos. For most occasions, a head-and-shoulders shot is sufficient. Occasionally, there’s a need for something else. (I have a smiling head-and-shoulders shot for most uses, but I have a tough-guy pose for use with my crime fiction.)
Excellent advice, as usual, Michael. Thanks for posting this.
I’m curious to know how you handle it when you’re asked for a list of previously published works. Do you include everything for a reasonable time, or produce a list of similar genre or format (eg flash fiction, script, novel, short story etc)?
Good question. In that case, I generally go with my last novel and a combo of most recent and “best” short stories (no more than three). I tend to favor stories folks can read or listen to for free on the web.