This is based on a Stephen King article I talked about in “Everything You Need to Know.”
King states that to be a successful writer, you should “observe all the rules for proper submission.” King becomes a man of few words here and only says, “Return postage, self-addressed envelope, all of that” on this particular topic.
Again, keep in mind this King interview was from the mid-1980s so the most common directives would have been related to postage and return mailing information.
Today, there are many new avenues for submitting manuscripts and proper formatting is just as important now as it was before the days of computers and online submissions. The rules and guidelines are there for a reason and that reason is mostly to make it as easy as possible for a handful of individuals to read thousands and thousands of manuscripts quickly and easily. If you’ve sent any piece of writing out into the world lately, it takes weeks, sometimes months before any type of acknowledgment happens.
I talked about the agony of waiting a while back after sending a story in to a literary journal. In the time that has passed, I realized one thing. I didn’t follow the submission guidelines. The submission guidelines asked for a double spaced manuscripts and when I reviewed the file I sent, I realized I didn’t double space the lines at all. The submission said “pending” the whole time, and was ultimately rejected. Due to the number of submissions, the publication was unable to give specific feedback on my piece, but it is entirely possible the editors rejected my story just for the simple fact I didn’t follow the directions.