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Staples or Paper Clips?

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Q. When I’m submitting a manuscript to a publisher, should I paper clip or staple the pages? Are the rules the same when submitting to a contest?—D. Fuson

A. In general, publishers want manuscripts paper-clipped, not stapled. It’s more difficult to read through 300 pages harnessed together by staples than it is to take off a paperclip and browse through a manuscript. But be sure to check the publisher’s guidelines, because some may have different preferences. And it’s most important to follow the rules of the potential buyer. If they want it stapled, then staple it. If they want it in a Manila folder with a picture of Zac Efron taped to the front, steal your daughter’s Seventeen magazine and give them what they want.

Similarly, different contests have different rules, so consult the contest guidelines before submitting your work. But when in doubt, go with the paper clips.

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

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