What sounds like a good idea can sometimes be a major mistake, and mistakes in submission may be merely embarassing or may be early career-wreckers. Before you make your first submission, study this list. While these may not be the most common errors, they are common enough and can be damaging. Some may waste your time and money, while others can send your submission straight to the "reject" pile, if not the trash bin! 1. Do NOT EVER pay ANYONE to "publish" your work unless you really, really want to get into the self-publishing business. If you do want to self-publish, you must read as much literature as you can on self-publishing, choose a good printer, learn about filing for copyright and getting an ISBN number, and develop a business, marketing, and distribution plan. Otherwise, remember that publishers are supposed to pay YOU for the privilege of making your work public. For more on this topic, see our article,

How not to get burned. 2. Do NOT file for copyright on manuscripts that you are submitting to publishers. U.S. copyright laws protect works of U.S. writers the moment they are put into some tangible form. If your work is accepted by a publisher, the publisher will file for official copyright on your behalf. If you file ahead of time, you're sending a clear message to the editor: "I don't trust you. I think you might steal my work." Stealing manuscripts and ideas is so rare it's not worth worrying about (read The Sobering Saga of Myrtle the Manuscript, by Tappan King to see why editors never have to steal manuscripts). Filing for copyright "just in case" can actually hurt your chances of selling the manuscript because 1) it immediately dates your work and 2) it makes for legal complications if the work is accepted. For a deeper explanation, see "Copyrights and Meteorites" by Chuck Rothman on the Science Fiction and…