Hints for Successful Submissions
by Gloria J. Hochstein, 2013 Convention Chair
You want to submit a paper or creative work to the 2013 Sigma Tau Delta Convention? Great! Starting this year, you can submit only one work for consideration (unless the second one is on the Common Reader.) Want some suggestions to increase your chances that one work is accepted for presentation?
- Start early. In fact, start the minute you read this.
- Because, starting this year, you can submit only ONE work (unless your second submission is on the Common Reader, Ex Libris), you need to make certain that the one work you submit is the best work you can do. That means you must select well and revise extensively.
- Consult your Sponsor early and often during the selection and revision of your work. Not only do we Sponsors want your work to be accepted for presentation at the convention, but we have experience in submitting our own works for presentation, we have evaluated innumerable papers, and we can provide you with advice, support, and revision tips.
- One option is for you to submit the best work you have already written (with further revision, of course.) If you have more than one essay or story or play or collection of poems from which to choose, talk to each of the professors for whom you wrote the works. When you submit a work you have already written, you may have the advantage of a professor's comments to help guide your revision. You could also go to that professor for additional suggestions for revision. You do need to consider carefully how much time it would take to do the revisions necessary to make your paper or creative work a convention-ready piece.
- Your Sponsor may be advising several members of your chapter on these submissions, so save your Sponsor some time by narrowing your choices to your strongest, length-appropriate efforts.
- For critical essays or creative prose, provide your Sponsor with a synopsis of each work, including (as pertinent) your thesis.
- For collections of poems, avoid bombarding your Sponsor with every poem you've ever written—instead, select your strongest works and ask the Sponsor to tag the two or three poems that contribute the most to the collection.
- A second option is for you to submit part of a longer work. In this case, you need to consider whether the piece will still be effective when it is cut down to under 2,000 words. You also need to consider how much time it will take to reduce the scope and length of the paper or creative work without reducing its quality.
- The third option is for you to write something new for the convention, especially if you are writing a piece on the Common Reader, Ex Libris. Having the comments of a professor and Sponsor and peer reviewers is absolutely essential to the quality of newly written works.
- For all essays, whether new or revised, narrow your thesis in advance so that it lends itself to a paper 7 or 8 pages in length. For a poetry collection, you need to make certain that your presentation takes no less than 8 minutes and no more than 15 minutes. Also, ask for help from trusted resources—the writing center, your chapter members, professors who have helped you with your writing before, and (of course) your Sponsor—as you draft and polish your submission.
- If your Sponsor requires applicants to submit to him or her in advance, pay particular attention to those local deadlines. Be prepared for your Sponsor to recommend additional revisions—and plan your time accordingly.
- When you submit your work, double check to make certain that you complete all the steps correctly. You don't want your work to be rejected because you didn't follow instructions or because your submission was incomplete. Here are tips for avoiding common mistakes made during the submission process:
- Do make sure your essay or creative work is listed in the correct topic category.
- Do keep prose submissions under 2,000 words (not counting Works Cited).
- Do make sure your poetry collection will use at least 8 minutes and no more than 15 minutes of reading time.
- Do place collections of poems in one document.
- Do give your submission a document name under 50 characters. This will be title of your work in the program.
- Do include three key words/key word phrases (total of no more than 100 characters).
- Do put page numbers on your submission.
- Do NOT put your name on any of the pages of the piece being submitted.
- Do NOT use your name as the document name.
- Do NOT use your name as a keyword or use the title of your paper as a keyword.
- Do NOT send more than one submission unless one work is submitted under the topic of "Common Reader."
- Mark the November 12 deadline for submission on your calendar now! However, aim for submitting your work to the convention long before that November 12 deadline. The Convention Chair and the Central Office receive questions up to the last minute of that 11:59 p.m. deadline. The earlier you plan to submit, the longer you have to ask any last-minute questions that arise during the submission process. Only those questions emailed well before the deadline can be assured of answers in time.