Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Short Rant

Generally speaking, it's gotten much easier to submit fiction and poetry to journals than it was back in the ... Distant Past When I Spent A Fortune On Postage. For the most part, one uploads the file (often via a system called Submishmash), writes a brief cover letter, and with a few clicks the piece is on its way. Editors apparently find this easy to deal with as well, since they seem to respond more quickly than they used to (either that or I'm experiencing yet another byproduct of time racing by with increasing speed the older I get). There's also less chance of the submission being lost and requiring a series of inquiries.

Some publications want submissions attached to email, which is usually also pretty easy to handle.

What I do not understand is the desire of a few publications to make life more complicated by demanding that writers submit in non-standard formats. Normally, prose is formatted double-spaced, with contact information, word count, and rights offered up at the top of the first page, and with the author's name under the title, etc. Writers learn manuscript format early on because we don't want to annoy editors/look amateurish. We have our manuscripts neatly prepared and waiting on our computers, ready to upload the moment we decide publication X would be a great place to try.

And then we discover that the said publication wants the story copied into the body of an email. Or it wants it single-spaced. Or it wants no sign of the author's name anywhere. Or it wants a particular font used. Or it wants a bio statement in the same document. Or some other damned thing that wastes time and won't be wanted by any other publication.


These stipulations don't prevent me from submitting, but they do take time I could more productively use for something else. If the special formatting is in case of acceptance, then why not have me reformat if the piece is accepted? I'll feel much more willing at that point.

End of rant.

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