Question of the Week: Does an editor really take notice when an author submits and has commented in their cover letter or resume that they are members of the Society [SCBWI]?

First off, thanks to red2 for this week’s question and to Gaijin Mama for last week’s question. Let’s keep those questions coming.

And the simple answer is yes, editors notice.

Now for the long answer.

I am the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of cover letters or resumees in submissions. They are neccessary evils, and I understand why they are there, but for me, they are just more pages I have to flip through to get to the good stuff – the manuscript. However, even in my cursory scans, those five letters, SCBWI, always stick out. Mostly it’s because there are a whole bunch of capital letters squnched together. And those five letters tell me two things:

1. The person is serious enough about writing that they’ve invested the $75 membership fee. The submission might turn out to still be unprofessional or wierd or something, but I know the person is trying to learn.

2. The chances are much higher that someone be it a critique group, another author, or even an editor or agent at a conference has looked at least a portion of this MS before. I prefer to get manuscipts that at least someone has read through it, and I don’t mean just read through it for typos. I like someone else being the one to tell the author that their work is missing a plot or character development. Then I’m left free to worry about style issues or the fact that your PB manuscript only has enough text for 7 pages instead of 32.

Finally, even if the editor your sending to doesn’t care about your membership, it hasn’t hurt you to mention that you belong. I’ve never known of anyone who thought less of an author for belonging to SCBWI.

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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