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* * * VERY IMPORTANT * * *

Read ALL Instructions on this page before submitting your work via email.

The primary purpose of this page is to help those who wish to enter one of our contests via email prepare their files properly. Since we started accepting email submissions for our contests, we have noticed that authors use their writing programs differently and not always correctly and it creates issues on our end. Since the goal of using electronic submission is to make it easier for both the author and Main Street Rag, we have decided to create this page to save time for both us and writers. If you do not understand these instructions or do not think you can follow them, then you are probably not a candidate for email submission and should enter the old-fashioned way: US Postal Service.


Basic Email Guidelines / Online Payment / File Preparation

 

Guidelines for emailing a contest submission.

 

· The Deadline for emailed submission is now the same as the regular deadline and is posted on the individual contest page (Chapbook Contest, Poetry Book Award). But payment must be received and permission to email the manuscript must be granted by the end of the business day (5pm Eastern) in order for the manuscript to arrive by midnight on the deadline date and be eligible. **** EXTENSION ANNOUNCEMENT: Payment must arrive by 5pm Eastern time, January 31, 2014, but manuscripts have until Saturday, February 1, noon Eastern (New York) time to be emailed.

· Reading Fee must be paid before submitting entry (PayPal or check). MSR will return a confirmation of receipt and permission to send contest entry via email. Do NOT send manuscript until specifically told to do so in an email. Thos who pay through PayPal will receive a confirmation of the transaction from PayPal. This IS NOT permission to email the manuscript. That can only come from EDITOR@MainStreetRag.com. Please wait until you have been instructed to send your manuscript.

The cost for emailed submission is $19 for chapbooks, $22/27 for Poetry Book Award, the latter price difference depending on whether the author wants to pre-order a copy of the winning manuscript ($5). Chapbook contest entries automatically receive a copy of the winner.

Payment can be made online at: Online Payment They take all major credit cards and even checks, but you will have to allow 5 business days to process checks.

· Manuscript should be sent as a single PC formatted RTF (Rich Text Format) attachment labeled with the collection's title. The file name should start with the author's last name, underscore, then some form of the title of the manuscript. Example: Author_MyBookTitle

· Email "Subject" line should read: "Submission for MSR Chapbook Contest" or "Submission for MSR Poetry Book Award"

· Use a common font, preferrably Times New Roman, 12pt type.

· Length: 24-32 pages of poetry (Chapbook Contest), 52-84 pages of poetry (Poetry Book Award). Please note that these page counts do not include the Title page, Table of Contents or any Notes.

· No more than 1 poem per page or more than 40 lines of poetry per page.

· Top (first) page should be a title page WITH contact information.

· Second page should be a title page WITHOUT contact information.

· A TOC (table of contents) is helpful, but not necessary.

· Page numbering is also helpful, but not necessary. If you decide to paginate, it should be done in the Footer, not on the page.

· Author's name SHOULD NOT APPEAR anywhere in the manuscript (aside from the top title page). · Acknowledgements for any poems that have been published elsewhere are not necessary for the judging process. DO NOT include them if you want to be eligible to win any of our contests.

· Notes (glossary) are acceptable for clarification or translation purposes, but cannot make any reference to the author, the author's work, any places of publication or contest results/placements.


Payment

As stated above, payment can be made online or by Credit Card over the phone.

PayPal is really our preferred method. Why? As is the case with most contests, many people wait until the last minute to enter. We expect that will happen even more now that the online submission deadline has been adjust to match the postmark deadline. PayPal processes the transactions immediately--no paperwork no extra time required on this end to confirm the credit card number. This is important since we will not issue permission to email your manuscript until we have confirmed payment and that takes time since credit cards must be processed and written up manually.

So, please use PayPal to pay your reading fee. It's safe, reliable and you DO NOT need to have a PayPal Account to use it. PayPal is just like a transaction processing center, no different than the card swiper at the grocery store. It merely processes the transaction and saves those on this end a ton of time. We appreciate your cooperation.

Online Payment Through PayPal


File Preparation

 

The biggest problem we've had with email entries is the inconsistent way that authors use the various formatting tools in WORD and other such word processing programs. The biggest problems are the following:

 

1) Using the space key to go from the end of one poem on one page to the beginning of another poem on the next page.

2) The use of phrases like "New Stanza" or "No new stanza" or "Title of Poem, Page 2" to indicate a continuation (or not).

3) Alignment. Oh, Oh, Oh--Words cannot express the amount of frustration created by writers trying to do fancy alignments.

 

Formatting

The goal of this section is to homogenize the formatting and eliminate the problems some writers create for printers and set up people. Immediately below is the short version for those who are skilled in the use of Microsoft WORD and other similar word processing programs. Further below is a step-by-step for those a little less comfortable with computer programs. Please choose according to your level of expertise and follow these directions when laying out a manuscript.

 

I) The Short Version

1) Create a Table of Contents (without page numbers--just an order of sequence for the poems). Save the file as "TOC" but also print it out and place it on the desk beside you. This is your road map.

2) Open a "NEW" WORD file. Save it in RTF (Rich Text Format) as: "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf"

3) Type your name, mailing address, phone number and email address at the top of this page in 12pt type. Skip down a couple of spaces and type the title in 14pt--ALL CAPS and BOLD, then hit the "Return" or "Enter" key to go one line below the title.

4) Insert a "Page Break" in the line below your title.

5) At the top of the page you just created, type the title of the book again in 14pt BOLD, ALL CAPS. Then hit the "Return" or "Enter" key to go one line below the title and insert another "Page Break."

6) Copy the text from your Table of Contents file (TOC) and paste it at the top of the new page that was created when you inserted a Page Break into your "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf " file.

7) At the end of your TOC, insert another "Page Break." NOW you are ready to start your book.

8) If you have a section divider page, place it on this page. If you want to do a series of returns to get it closer to the center of the page, that's fine, but do not use the Return or Enter key to continue on to another page. Don't EVER use the Return or Enter key to create a new page. ALWAYS use Insert a Page Break to create a new page.

9) If you are not using section dividers, the first page after the TOC is where your first poem will go. If you did use section dividers, please go to the first page after the divider.

Either way, you should then open the file for the first poem that appears on the printed TOC. Select all, copy it, then go to your manuscript file, place the cursor at the top of the last free page and paste the poem.

10) If your poem is longer than one page long and you are concerned about it breaking in the middle of a stanza, please, do not insert notes to add junk to the page. Simply place the cursor at the beginning of the split stanza and insert a Page Break. This will allow a stanza to stay together without having to note where stanzas begin or end.

11) Insert the cursor at the very end of the last line of the poem, hit Return or Enter and then insert a Page Break. You are now ready to place the next poem.

12) Go to your TOC print out. Cross the poem you just placed off of the list, open the next poem and repeat until all of the poems are placed.

 

Your original files may vary because the poems may have been worked on or written at different times. Please change your formatting so that they are all the same. Some people think they are doing the reader or the publisher a favor by setting a 1-2 inch paragraph indent on all of their poems or tabbing everything to the right 2 spaces (or more) so the poems align more in the middle of the page. Don't do either. Align your poems with the default margins set by your writing program. This does not mean everything should be aligned straight left, no indented lines. As poets, we often tab in a line or set a series of repeating tabs. This is fine as long as they are tabbed into place (as opposed to using a space bar) and as long as the author has not applied a style that inserts a spacing between the left margin of the page and where the poem alignment begins.

 

II) The Detailed Version

 

1) Create a Table of Contents (without page numbers--just an order of sequence for the poems). Save the file as "TOC" but also print it out and place it on the desk beside you. This is your road map.

2) Open a "NEW" WORD file. Do a "Save As" and save it as an RTF file titled "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf" The selection for file format is usually a box that appears underneath the box where the file name goes. RTF stands for Rich Text Format.

3) Type your name, mailing address, phone number and email address at the top of this page in 12pt type. Skip down a couple of spaces and type the title in 14pt--ALL CAPS and BOLD, then hit the "Return" or "Enter" key to go one line below the title.

4) If you are using MS WORD, go to the menu bar at the top of the page and click on Insert. This will open a dialog box with options. Select "Page Break." A new page will be created and your cursor will be sitting on the top line of it.

5) At the top of the page you just created, type the title of the book again in 14pt BOLD, ALL CAPS. Then hit the "Return" or "Enter" key to go one line below the title and insert another "Page Break."

6) Copy the text from your Table of Contents file (TOC) and paste it at the top of the new page that was created when you inserted a Page Break into your "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf " file.

7) At the end of your TOC, insert another "Page Break." NOW you are ready to start your book.

8) Open the file for the first poem that appears in the TOC.

10) Eliminate all Return lines above the title and after the last line of the poem.

11) Place your cursor anywhere on the page, then hold down the Control Key on a PC or Command key on a MAC (lower left key on the keyboard) and type the letter "a" simultaneously or go to the "Edit" menu at the top of the page, scroll down and select: "Select all." Do not drag to select all.

12) Hold down the Control/Command key and the letter "c" simultaneously or go to the "Edit" menu at the top of the page, scroll down and select: "copy"

13) Go to the "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf" file and place your cursor at the top of the page you created when you inserted a Page Break after the TOC.

14) Paste the poem by holding down the Control/Command key and the letter "v" simultaneously.

15) If your poem is longer than one page long and you are concerned about it breaking in the middle of a stanza, please, do not insert notes to add junk to the page. Simply place the cursor at the beginning of the split stanza and insert a Page Break. This will allow a stanza to stay together and start at the top of a new page without having to note where stanzas begin or end.

16) Insert the cursor at the very end of the last line of the poem, hit Return or Enter and then insert a Page Break.

17) Save the file. You are now ready to place the next poem, but before you do, cross the poem you just placed into the manuscript off your TOC print out.

18) Open the file containing Poem #2 in your TOC. Eliminate extra Returns above the title and below the last line. Select All. Copy the poem.

19) Return to the "YourLastName_BookTitle.rtf" file. Place the cursor on the new page that was created when you inserted a Page Break at the end of the first poem and paste Poem #2.

20) If you have followed these directions, Poem # 2 will now start at the top of the new page. Make adjustments per instruction #15. Save the file. Cross the title of Poem #2 off of the TOC list. Move on to the next poem.

21) Repeat these steps until all of the poems are in order in the same manuscript. Saving regularly.

This is the file you should send Main Street Rag.

 

As you can see, there are a number of steps involved in preparing your manuscript. If you wait until the last minute, you will not have time to format it properly, so please have it formatted according to these instructions before you pay your reading fee.

Thank you and we wish you success.