Useful Information for New Writers and Fans

Marion Zimmer Bradley

SASE: SASE stands for Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. A SASE should be sent with a request for information, guidelines, etc., and with each manuscript submitted. (Sending more than one story with only one SASE is an excellent way to get all the stories rejected at once, even if the editor might otherwise have held one of them for further consideration.) With manuscripts you want returned, you send a large (9" x 12" or 10" x 13") envelope with enough postage to cover the return of your manuscript plus an extra ounce (30 gm) for a letter from the editor. If you do not want your manuscript returned you can use a #10 envelope (approximately 9-1/2" x 4" -- it's the size that holds 8-1/2" x 11" paper folded in thirds.) It also helps the editor's peace of mind if you write "disposable copy" on any manuscript you don't need returned.

SAE: Self-Addressed Envelope. This is used when sending something to another country. Postage must be that of the country of mailing; putting, for example, Canadian stamps on an envelope to be mailed from the US doesn't work. So what you need to do is send an SAE and two or more IRCs. Please remember that envelopes designed to hold A4 paper are too narrow to hold the standard US 8-1/2" x 11" paper. A US #10 envelope is approximately 24 cm wide.

IRC: International Reply Coupon, also called "Coupon-Reponse International." These are available from your post office, and they must be stamped by your post office to be valid. Each one is worth the amount required to send a 1/2 ounce letter (one sheet of paper and an envelope) via air mail. If you want a manuscript returned you need to send at least 4 coupons, more if your manuscript weighs more than 2 ounces (60 g).

Money: Most small US companies and almost all fan organizations need US currency, in the form of (1) a check in US dollars drawn on a US bank, or (2) a money order in US dollars. You can get postal money orders in US dollars from your post office. Some groups also take Mastercard or Visa.

Paper: If you are sending manuscripts to the US, you need to take into account that US letter-size paper is 1.5 cm shorter than A4 paper. You should not have anything on the last 4 cm at the bottom of the paper; that area gets cut off when the manuscript is photocopied or cut down to fit with the rest of the manuscripts.

Copyright: It is not necessary to put a copyright notice on your manuscript; this only tells the editor how long you have been sending this manuscript around. Your work is automatically copyright from the moment it is placed into "fixed form" (written down). The copyright will be registered by the publisher when the work is printed, and the only way you can lose your copyright is to relinquish it in a written agreement. For more information about US Copyright Law, write to the Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20559. And if you really must put a notice on your manuscript, the correct form, to be placed at the bottom of the first page, is:
"copyright 1997 by Jane Doe"

Metric Conversion: 1 inch=2.54 cm; 1 pound (16 ounces)=0.45 kg; 2.2 pounds=1kg

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