So here is an interesting blog post from author/editor Mitzi Szereto: http://mitziszereto.com/blog. It got me thinking, how could people be so dense? I know that every author has that file folder of stories that never made it to the dinner table. And I think that it’s perfectly acceptable to spit-shine them and try to find another home for your rejected tales after they come back with a pink slip. But for Pete’s sake, people, do your freakin’ homework! No matter how much you love your little sliver of artistic genius and would kill to see it comfortably ensconced between a snugly, warm soft-cover, that doesn’t mean you can just send it willy-nilly to the first sub call you come across that pays well.
If the shoes don’t fit, put them back in your closet. Maybe someday you’ll find the perfect pair of Peds so you can jam those suckers on your feet and take them for a spin around town. Maybe, but maybe not. But until you see those fine miracles of modern socks staring at you from a glowing store front, just begging you to come in and buy them because you two could make beautiful music together, don’t bother.
Another thought that occurred to me after reading this post was that I would never presume to write about a subject if I haven’t thoroughly investigated it first. Take, for example, all of the Cthulhu mythos sub calls out there in Horror Land. They are a-plenty, and I must say that I find them intriguing–but I haven’t read enough Lovecraft yet to get away with it. Not only would it be a struggle to try to pull it off without a firm grasp of the sub-genre, but it would suck. Period.
Do all of these steampunk calls sound like great fun? You betcha. But I have one steampunk romance on my kindle and haven’t gotten anywhere near it yet. I’ve been too busy reading George R.R. Martin for the past year or so. Those suckers are long. I did take a quick break from the Lannisters and the Starks to read Mitzi’s “Red Velvet and Absinthe;” however. Not only did it look great, but she said that I should in her sub call. There’s that homework thing again.
One other thought while I’m on the subject. I’ve read, via multiple sources, that the number one reason editors will reject a story–shockingly–isn’t because people simply can’t write. It is (you guessed it) because authors don’t follow the guidelines. They tell us all that boring, time consuming mumbo-jumbo, not because they want to make more work for us, but to make fewer headaches for themselves. You would do the same.
So keep on sending in your strange fonts and attractively unique margins. Be sure to hit the tab key LOTS so the recipients on the other end really know how little you care about their silly rules. The most you will accomplish is you may cause a migraine for some poor souls who can’t figure out how to make their formatting requirements easier for Cro-magnon (wo)man to figure out.
How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?