Tag Archives: Editors

Wading into the Slush Pile

I was rabidly devouring info on turn-around time for submissions to certain pubs on Absolute Write yesterday.  That’s a productive use of writing time, no? Okay, it’s not.  It’s about the same as haunting Web MD in search of an ailment that matches the numerous questionable symptoms you (I) have lately.  It’s enough to make you think you’re dying as far as the symptom-checker goes, and enough to make you second guess the submission you (I) just sent and get absolutely no work done.

46. symptoms of cancer Courtesy of techtechboo...

46. symptoms of cancer Courtesy of techtechboom.com (Photo credit: TipsTimes)

In my case, it made me realize that I never wrote “Dear [Anybody]” at the top of my submission.  Nothing.  Just tacked my synopsis and full onto the attachments and launched into a brief description.  The automatic response email didn’t flat-out call me an a-hole, but I doubt it has those detection abilities.

So then I had to search for the etiquette behind the “Dear Editor” thing.  Is it really necessary?  I know I’ve read “the rules” before.  I planned to send my sub in as picture-perfectly as possible.  I read everything on the site numerous times, and triple checked to be sure I had included all of the requested info.  I self-edited until my eyes bled.

But they never told me to be polite on the web site and I just plum forgot.

Crud buckets.

I’m not rude, generally speaking.  When I burp, I say the word “burp” which I think is way classier than a loud belch.  I always remember my “pleases” and “thank yous”–case in point, I remembered to thank the mysterious entity on the other side of my email for their consideration after I dumped my electronic business in their inbox.  Perhaps I earned back one of my demerits in the closing.

Well, the fact is, I don’t believe I’ll be summarily rejected for lack of an opening greeting.  Me being me, I feel like if I received a tug boat full of perky, overly friendly, and downright presumptuous submission emails each day, I’d want to punch someone in the face.  Cut to the chase.  We all know why we’re here.  Sorta like long-winded and cocky bios–I don’t like to write them and it pisses me off/gives me a reason to make fun of people when I read them.

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Editor,

You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I think you’ll be interested to read what I am sending you.  The fact is, I’ve been having sex for years now, and I fancy myself an A+ fucker.  It was only natural for me to translate my sexpertise into smutty fiction.  I’m sure you’ll find my submission to be the best you’ve ever read and will want to thank me in person.  I will graciously allow you to buy me a drink at my earliest convenience   I just know we are going to be best friends.

You may find a link to all of my illustrious writings below.  Once you sample my authorial prowess, no doubt you will be interested in purchasing my other work.  Use coupon code IMAJERK10 for 10% off for a limited time only.

Thanks for your consideration,

[insert revoltingly flowery pen name here]

I like a bio with a bit of mystery.  Or maybe that is just my excuse for keeping them as short as possible because I hate writing them.  Food for thought.

Back to my point (if I ever had one, other than trying to justify my stupidity).  Does placing a specific editor‘s name on the top of one’s submission help it out of the slush pile?  Without an agent or a well-known name, aren’t we all just doomed to doggy paddle around in the slushy pool?  A flashy swimsuit won’t get us out of there any faster, will it?  I like to think, if I don’t drown immediately, I’ve got the same chance as the kids with the Speedos on, right?

Here is an interesting link on the subject.  I like this guy’s style.  Of course, in the end he says “Dear Editor” is just fine.  Nothing about having a cheesy log line for a greeting…

At least it got me off of Web MD for a short while.  I can’t die from idiocy, can I?


Following Submission Guidelines: Just Do it.

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?

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