The deadline to submit to the Imaginative Fiction Writer's Association 'In Places Between' short story contest is April 4. That gives us one week to perfect every detail of our submissions before sending them off. If you're a last-minute type that works best when there's no time left, remember to leave an hour or two to format your story according to the contest rules. There's nothing worse than finding out weeks after you've submitted your work that nobody wants to read your favorite font, or your italics were supposed to be underlined, not italicized.
While submitting to a contest is always a bit different from the standard format (in that most contests are blind so no contact information is allowed) it's always good to ensure peace of mind by reviewing standard submission guidelines. But what is the "standard"? In the FAQs & Answers page found at the 'In Places Between' contest page, the friendly folks at IFWA listed their idea of a standard as exemplified in a website produced by writer William Shunn.
Where do you go for reference on standard, proper submission guidelines?
Lately I've been trying out Chuck Sambuchino's "Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript". This book, published by Writer's Digest, has very clear DO/DON'T lists, as well as examples for a wide range of submission types (non-fiction, short story, novel...) and also lays out very clear steps to take on the path to publication.
Here at the 'Nook we would love to hear where you go for an authority on manuscript format and submission guidelines. Share with us here by leaving a comment below. We can pool our forces and extinguish all formatting uncertainty!