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    Should You Always Include an SASE?

    The Ailment: Do I always need to send a SASE when I am sending anything to an editor?

    The Cure: Personally, I believe that in this electronic age, there is nothing stopping an editor from sending a short email saying whether or not they will be using your material - and as most writers would not send the exact article to another publication (they will, at the very least, print it out again and send a pristine copy), the editor could then just dispose of the original without adding to the profits of the postal service, not to mention the financial burden of the freelance writer. Unfortunately, this enlightened view has not been stumbled upon by many as yet!

    If you can obtain a copy of the guidelines for the publication you are submitting to, you will find whether or not they require a SASE. Most of the time, they will tell you to send one or your work will not be returned. I even read one set of guidelines for a publication that said the submission will not even be read unless an SASE is enclosed!

    On the other hand, I have read an interview with a successful writer who says that she never sends an SASE and it has not stopped her being published. Perhaps her writing is so good that the editor doesn't want to turn it away just because she doesn't follow the rules, but perhaps it also shows that most editors will read your submission anyway and if it is what they are looking for, you will get a reply - you just wont find out if they reject it. Although you may not be too concerned about that, some publications take a long time to get around to telling you that they are accepting your material - meanwhile you may be marketing it elsewhere thinking it was rejected. At least if it is to be rejected, the SASE would mean you have closure on the market for that particular piece.

    My advice would be to send an SASE if the guidelines specify it, and if you really want to get into that particular market. If you are writing for a very specific market, and your piece is exactly the kind of thing that they publish - or which you know would not find a home elsewhere, then take a risk by not complying with the guidelines if you wish. However, if the publication states that they will not even look at material which does not come with a SASE send one - or boycott the publication altogether for their inflexible attitude!

    Hope that this helps.

    Copyright © 2001 Katie Gustafsson

    Katie Gustafsson is an English freelance writer/translator/poet who lives in Sweden with her soul-mate/husband (whom she met online), Mikael, and their baby son, Jake. Her writing credits include print and on-line publications in short stories, articles and poetry. Recent articles include work for Amateur Chef magazine, and where she is the guide for the USA for Foreigners section. She is owns the Wake Up Writing site.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

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