Formatting and typesetting your story, while not a dealbreaker, indicates a lack of professionalism. We (and by "we" I mean editors everyfuckingwhere) prefer (as stated) standard manuscript format. The first page should look like that. A special cover page (as you would do in a novel manuscript) only makes me scroll down more. Yeah, I sound picky, but when I have 30 or 40 stories to read through, you don't want strikes against you. You want me thinking about your story, not "damn, I have to scroll down again and wait for it to load)
Real Name xxx words
(byline only if it's a penname)
Indent your story, regular 12 pt font, Times New Roman or New Courier preferred. It's also friendly to number your pages and put the story title/last name in a header on the top of subsequent pages.
Dialogue is punctuated like this:
"Punctuate dialogue tags like this," she said.
"Punctuate action or internal narrative accompanying dialogue like this." She sighed and pounded the keyboard. When would they ever learn?
its is possessive
it's is a contraction for IT IS.
Don't make me smack you.
One of my best viewed (tens of thousands) blog posts talks about cover letters. Here it is.
Additionally, please don't berate the editor, try to make me feel guilty, suggest that the story isn't right for Electric Spec (??!), or tell me how many rejections the story has accrued (triple wtf??). Anything out of the ordinary in a cover letter is a ding because invariably, no matter how good that story is, it signals the writer might just be a Princess. That role is taken. /*tosses hair and holds out empty glass for a refill*/
Please, for the love of God or all you hold holy, Make Something Happen!!!
Preferably on the first page. Or, if you must, early on the second.
Clue Train Coming:
Read the first page of your story before you send it out.
Will someone who hasn't read it before have any
inkling of what it's about?
If not, fix page 1.
And most of all, keep submitting!