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Genres & Age Categories => Magazines & Ezines => Topic started by: AimeeJane on December 05, 2005, 10:44 AM

Title: Puzzles--How to Submit?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 05, 2005, 10:44 AM
 :EmoticonHelp2:

What is the accepted standard for submitting puzzles?  I assume cover letter, followed by the puzzle on a separate sheet.  Then the completed puzzle on a sheet behind that? 

What goes in the cover letter? 

This is new territory for me...

TIA!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: Ev on December 05, 2005, 08:02 PM
What you said is correct. My cover letters for puzzle subs to magazines are short and sweet.

Dear Editor,
Enclosed is a puzzle entitled "Laughing Lima Beans" which I'm submitting for possible inclusion in your March 2013 issue of XYZ.  The theme for that issue is "Great Gardens."

Short list of credentials, if you have them.

Thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.  SASE enclosed.
Ev

Best wishes to you, Aimee!  Puzzles are a fun genre.
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 05:20 AM
Thanks so much, Ev!  Mine will be super-short, w/o credentials!   ;D
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: maryrand on December 06, 2005, 06:05 AM
While on the topic of puzzles, how do you design the graphics for one?  Do you use a particular software?  I've never created a puzzle in my life...just curious?  But I've always been fascinated as to how they are designed.  Does the author of the puzzle leave it up to the graphic artist to create the design,etc?

Mary
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: Ev on December 06, 2005, 07:32 AM
Mary, there are hundreds of types of puzzles so when you ask about the graphic design it depends on what kind you're asking about.

I do almost all my graphics myself, but many puzzle designers don't.  Sometimes for my puzzle books the publisher uses my design and sometimes they have their graphic designer do a different one.

For magazine subs I suspect it depends on the magazine.  Some are probably going to have their graphics person do the design, unless you're an illustrator and can do the entire page design.  (For example, Julie talked about her puzzle in Cobblestone in which the designer had made the crossword squares like individual bursting bombs.)  Others will probably use your puzzle as-is if you've done a good job with the design.  For those kind of mags, I'm guessing that the quality of your design might effect the acceptance---i.e., how much extra work do they have to do to get it ready to publish.

As far as software, I use Word.  Their table function and their drawing function provide options for most of the graphics I need.  If I can't do it with Word, then I draw it by hand.

Hope this helps.
Ev
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: Ev on December 06, 2005, 07:35 AM
Oh, Aimee, I forgot to add one thing in my answer to your original question.  If the answer to the puzzle is just a single number, word, or sentence, I sometimes include that in my cover letter or at the bottom of the puzzle page if there's room, instead of using an entire third sheet of paper.  (I've had acceptances with it done that way, so I'm assuming it's fine.)

Ev
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 07:46 AM
I agree with everything Ev has said, but I'll add this:

Treat your puzzle as you would any other submission.  Read the guidelines.  Present it as you would a manuscript, using cover letter, then inclusion of puzzle and solution.   As long as it's professional, the editor won't reject a puzzle based on where you put the solution. 

Give your puzzle a title, as with any other manuscript.  Make the title appealing and pertinent to the topic and audience. 

Don't include illustrations for the most part, unless they're part of the puzzle.  I've sold several crossword puzzles and have never included illustrations as the magazines has an illustrator do these.  Ev's puzzles often incorporate the need for illustrations so it makes sense for her to include them, but even then, hers are using geometry shaped/based artwork through a computer program.  She isn't an illustrator and she isn't trying to sell her illustrations, but her puzzles.  if your puzzle needs a certain amount of illustration to convery the concept, then include it.   Most likely a professional illustrator would be used to redo your illustrations. 
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: Ev on December 06, 2005, 08:35 AM
Ev's puzzles often incorporate the need for illustrations so it makes sense for her to include them, but even then, hers are using geometry shaped/based artwork through a computer program.  She isn't an illustrator and she isn't trying to sell her illustrations, but her puzzles.  if your puzzle needs a certain amount of illustration to convery the concept, then include it.   Most likely a professional illustrator would be used to redo your illustrations. 

Umm...mostly right, Julie, but not totally.  I've sold several puzzles to the Bluffton magazines for which my illustrations (not computer generated) are the puzzles -- find the differences in these pictures, untangle the strings to connect the pictures, in which location (pictures) is the treasure located, etc.  That's why the first thing which I said to Mary was -- it depends on which kind of puzzle you're asking about.

Of course, as far as crossword puzzles, word searches, and those kinds of puzzles go, I agree with you totally.

And I have no idea whether the Bluffton publishers will use my illustrations as is or have their designer redo them (won't know for many years! LOL).

Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 09:46 AM
I've sold several puzzles to the Bluffton magazines for which my illustrations (not computer generated) are the puzzles -- find the differences in these pictures, untangle the strings to connect the pictures, in which location (pictures) is the treasure located, etc. 

And I have no idea whether the Bluffton publishers will use my illustrations as is or have their designer redo them.


This last line in conjunction with the first is more of what I'm trying to say.  That you illustrate what you need to as part of the puzzle, but you dont have to be a professional illustrator as it's a good chance the publisher will use their own illustrator.  Certainly not all puzzles are crosswords or word searches and take a certain amount of illustration.  You draw just enough to create the puzzle and the editor takes it from there.  If you're illustrations are to their liking (comuter or hand drawn), then they may go with it, but don't feel as if you have to be able to draw or use the computer to draw well.  Just make it clear what the puzzle should look like and convey  (hope I'm not talking in cirlces, puzzling or otherwise!)
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 10:22 AM
Very helpful, thanks!

Since this one (my first) is a crossword, I think I'd better use the third page method for the solution.   ;)

I used Excel to create the puzzle itself.  It's much faster for me than Word tables.  Whichever you're more comfortable with - just go for it!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 10:23 AM
I do mine in excel as well.  Word frustrates me when it comes to tables. If I need a table in word, I often do it in excel first then copy it into Word!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 10:29 AM
LOL, me too, Julie.  But I'm a confessed Excel nut.


One more quick question - I use my maiden name as a pen name.  With stories & mss, it's easy...just put my legal (i.e., married) name at the top, but write

Title
by
Pen Name

at the beginning.

SO, how would I approach this for a puzzle?  I'd like to have it under my pen name if/when it's published, so it's easy to see my credits, but I can't think of a classy way to go about it.  Should I ignore it & have it go under my legal name instead?
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 12:16 PM
Whatever you do for manuscripts can  be done for a puzzle.  In  your cover letter, I'd put that you're using a pen name on your puzzle and then use your pen name in your byline
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: Ev on December 06, 2005, 12:19 PM
Aimee,
Since you're going to be putting a title for your puzzle, you could do your pen name the same way you do your story manuscripts.  I would still explain the situation in your cover letter though, just in case they don't "get" it and end up focusing on just one name or the other.  I always use my middle initial as part of my author name, and yet I still end up with contracts and correspondence without it and have to go back and explain to editors.


Julie's note posted while I was writing this.  I see that we agree on this.
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 12:24 PM
Thanks, ladies!  It never occurred to me to byline the puzzle!  (Yes, if it wasn't before, byline is now officially a verb.  I have decreed it.)

What on earth would I do without this board?

 :hug1:
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 12:25 PM
 I always use my middle initial as part of my author name, and yet I still end up with contracts and correspondence without it and have to go back and explain to editors.


LOL!  I thought that only happened to me!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 12:29 PM
Okay, gosh, now I'm being really high-maintenance.  I've never mentioned the whole pen-name issue in a cover letter before.  How do you usually phrase it?
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 12:47 PM
I don't use a pen name, but my guess would be something like this:

Please note that I'm using a pen name for the puzzle's byline.

Well, you get the idea.  You can probably phrase it better.
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: WriterRoss on December 06, 2005, 01:12 PM
I know I shouldn't ask this question because I am going to look like a no-knowing but how do you use Excel in creating/setting up your crossword puzzles? I am not an Excel user but I do have it on my computer. I love crosswords. Doing them. Would be quite a challenge for me to create one. Any advice?
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 01:28 PM
Basically, you move the columns and rows widths to be equal to one another (forming the boxes, then you use formtting to place borders around all sides of each cell that you have words in.  It's a bit more length than that, but it's all about manipulating the rows and column and then formatting.  When it's done right, and printed out, you can't tell what program was used.
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: WriterRoss on December 06, 2005, 01:57 PM
Basically, you move the columns and rows widths to be equal to one another (forming the boxes, then you use formtting to place borders around all sides of each cell that you have words in. It's a bit more length than that, but it's all about manipulating the rows and column and then formatting. When it's done right, and printed out, you can't tell what program was used.

I think I would have to open up Excel and sit with your notes in my hands to understand your advice. Thanks for the help! It's not you. It's me! (Now you know why I received As in English and Cs in Math.)
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 02:28 PM
Don't feel bad.  It's more trouble for the beginner than it's worth.  I do programming in Excel, so I live the stuff.
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: WriterRoss on December 06, 2005, 03:10 PM
Don't feel bad. It's more trouble for the beginner than it's worth. I do programming in Excel, so I live the stuff.

Programming? No wonder you, ahem, Excel at Puzzles!
{{{}}

-Pamela, excels at putting her foot in her mouth ;>
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 03:46 PM
I'd say Pamela's good with puns... perhaps you'll work a few into a puzzle!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 05:42 PM
Ooh, I LOVE puns!

 :)

I became familiar w/ basic Excel stuff in college years ago, and then as an administrative assistant had to teach myself all sorts of tricks to master it.  I think the reason I like it so much is its graphic nature.  It satisfies my love for geometry.


P.S.  I added my pen name sentance as a post script, because it didn't seem to fit anywhere else in the letter.  I've printed it, but it's not going out 'til tomorrow, so please let me know if this commits some faux pas!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: JuliePgh on December 06, 2005, 06:05 PM
I personally don't like post scripts in formatl writing.  Quite frankly, if you forgot to include something (which is what a p.s. is for essentially), then why not redo the letter?  Just put your comment in the last section, something like.

Please note, I have used my pen name in the byline of the puzzle.  Thank you for your time and consdieration.

Sincerely,

The Word's Best Writer
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: WriterRoss on December 06, 2005, 06:24 PM
I'd say Pamela's good with puns... perhaps you'll work a few into a puzzle!

Thanks, Julie. That's something for me to punder... ;>

-Pamela
(stop throwing eggs)
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: AimeeJane on December 06, 2005, 06:43 PM
Pamela, hah!

Julie, thanks.  I'm not big on p.s.'s either, but it just wasn't looking right to me.  Probably just too much time staring at the same screen.   :faint:

Got it now.   Appreciate everyone's input!
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: maryrand on December 06, 2005, 07:07 PM
Ev and Julie,

Thank you for explaining puzzle development in detail.  Maybe someday I'll have the guts to create one.

Happy puzzling....

Mary
Title: Re: How to Submit Puzzles?
Post by: fuego80027 on March 01, 2006, 08:24 AM
Thank You Thank You Thank You....I have always liked doing puzzles and making them and I was wondering how to go about doing somthing like a word find or whatever thanks for the tips