1. Writer writes story.
  2. Writer submits story to market.
    1. Market requires submissions in Standard Manuscript Format.
    2. Market requires submissions as DOC or RTF.
This narrative plays itself out every day. But it’s a problem for users like me that don’t rely on Microsoft tools. I get notes back from editors kindly mentioning that the story didn’t meet the SMF requirements.
I use NeoOffice on Mac. Arranging a document into SMF is not technically challenging: set a 12 pt Courier font, paragraph styles for 0.5 inch indent and double spacing, and headers on all-but-first-page. It looks great here, but I have no way of knowing what it looks like on the editor’s screen. Ongoing experiments with friends running Word + Windows are showing initially discouraging results.
Before I go off on a ranting tangent, I should clearly state my nigh-axiomatic proposition on this: IF a market requires you to scrawl your manuscript in crayon on stretched vellum AND you care about getting accepted by that market THEN you should do whatever the guidelines for that market state. QED.
The problem is, I fear that this proposition may be undecidable for those not running Microsoft software. So let me ask my approximately 7 readers: are any of you using non Microsoft software to write, and if so, how do you deal with this?
I have a few gentle queries out to editors/slush readers. I’ll report back on responses.
P.S. From what I’ve heard, Microsoft Word for Mac isn’t much better.