Posts tagged with "submission" - Faerye Net 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Postal Predicament 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 2009-02-23T18:56:06+00:00 <p>So I took a walk in the rain today down to my local post office. As I&#8217;ve mentioned, <a href="" target="links">I am fond of the postal service</a>. I like ink, paper, pens, letters, stamps and post. I also like my local post office. Today I hied me hither because I was walking that way anyway, and because it might give my short story submission a few hours&#8217; jump over home pickup. My carefully paper-clipped story, my <span class="caps">SASE</span>, and my signed cover letter were tucked into the traditional manila envelope, laid on my dear little home postal scale, and affixed with no fewer than five stamps (like <a href="" target="links">my colleague Tina</a> I like messing with the stamps) in order to reach the exact postage for a &#8216;flat&#8217; (big envelope.)</p> <p>Today, however, escorting my carefully addressed short fiction submission to the &#8216;stamped mail&#8217; slot, I noticed a sign that said <em>Bring packets and parcels to the main desk.</em> The item in my hand resembled a &#8216;packet&#8217;, so I strolled over to the desk and approached the postal employee &#8212; not the one with whom I usually chat. &#8220;Am I not allowed to put this in the slot?&#8221; quoth I. The lady took the envelope full of hopes and dreams and slapped it on the scale. &#8220;I already weighed it&#8230;&#8221; I protested. She pinched my hopes and dreams appraisingly, then looked at me over her glasses.</p> <p>&#8220;Does this have anything rigid?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;No. Just a paperclip.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid!&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;What?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid. It&#8217;s like a key.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;But&#8230;every short fiction writer in the world is probably in trouble,&#8221; I babbled. &#8220;Editors don&#8217;t like staples. Are staples okay?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Staples are fine. It&#8217;ll be 34 cents more.&#8221;</p> <p>I nodded and managed to buy the stamps I needed before wandering away, feeling (and doubtless looking) poleaxed. If this is true, it means almost <em>every postal submission I&#8217;ve ever sent out</em> has been underposted. I imagined that every sub had arrived solely by dint of luck. I imagined my pristine manila envelopes arriving in New York stamped with an angry and inconsiderate &#8220;<span class="caps">POSTAGE</span> <span class="caps">DUE</span>&#8221;! I shuddered. And <a href="" target="links">tweeted</a>.</p> <p>Then I rebelled. Seriously, if my postal submissions are underpaid, but no one notices and they&#8217;re getting there just fine, are the clips really a problem? Wouldn&#8217;t the editors have objected if they were paying 34 cents a pop for the privilege of turning me down? So here I sit, bending one of my largest paper clips easily to and fro between my thumbs. It is nothing like a key. The <span class="caps">USPS</span> <a href="" target="links">website</a> prohibits items in flats that do &#8220;not bend easily&#8221; or &quot; cause more than 1/4 inch variation in thickness&quot; &#8212; to my eye, this clip is fine.</p> <p>What do you think, fellow writers? Are you willing to pony up an extra buck every three submissions on this nebulous pretext? Do you think my post office is being overly rigid? Anyone know an editor who takes paper submissions well enough to ask whether they get &#8220;postage due&#8221; often?</p> On e-mail submissions 2008-08-13T11:11:39+00:00 2008-08-13T11:11:39+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m not, in general, one of those writers who complains about the submissions process. I got excited at my first <em>personal</em> rejection, after all, and while of course I <a href="" target="links">overanalyze</a> the heck out of rejection letters (that&#8217;s almost in the &#8216;writer&#8217; job description), I don&#8217;t take them personally or assume it means the editor thinks my work is crap. Maybe the editors have brainwashed me or something, but I figure rejection means that story wasn&#8217;t right for that magazine at that time, and that a long wait means the staff and editors (at some mags, especially litmags, volunteers) have a lot of submissions to work through.</p> <p>That said, this wheel does have a squeak. I think it&#8217;s worth mentioning because e-mail submissions are only becoming more common, and because, knowing as many up-and-coming writers dabbling in editing and ambitious villainesses plotting small presses as I do, someone might read it who will be a chief editor someday.</p> <p>E-mail is unreliable. <span class="caps">USPS</span> does suffer the occasional train derailment or unscrupulous postman throwing his stack into a piano, but on the whole, if you send a manila envelope, it gets where it&#8217;s going. E-mail, on the other hand, often gets where it&#8217;s going and sits in a junk folder, or is intercepted by the journal&#8217;s <span class="caps">ISP</span> because someone on <em>your</em> <span class="caps">ISP</span> is a spammer. And there&#8217;s no way for you to know. After waiting a few months to allow a decent interval, you can query, but if that doesn&#8217;t receive a response either, does that mean the staff is swamped, or that your submission has company in limbo?</p> <p>All I suggest is that venues that accept e-mail submissions send acknowledgments. (They&#8217;re pretty easy to automate, I think, and copy-paste is a low-tech fallback.) If the venues also indicate on their submissions guidelines that an acknowledgment should arrive within X days of your submission, then the writer will know if her submission got eaten by the internet or blackballed by the blacklist. She can then proceed to send it from a different provider, et cetera. Many magazines already do this, and it&#8217;s a boon to writers&#8217; peace of mind.</p> Alphabetic bias? 2008-07-26T18:17:24+00:00 2008-08-07T11:55:04+00:00 <p>I was just reorganizing my writing folder (on Puck, my laptop) to reflect the theory that I&#8217;m now an Author, not a writing student (a thin proposition, I know). Putting my stories together regardless of whether I wrote them to show to an advisor or not, et cetera. I thought as long as they were all together, I might as well color-code the folders to reflect the submissions-status of each story, using the color codes I do in my submissions spreadsheet.</p> <p>Yes, this is really Felicity. I <strong>do</strong> in fact have an organized bone in my body. Possibly three, to make up an entire finger. Anyway, I color-coded away and discovered that of the 15 stories in the folder, the three that are out in editors&#8217; mail bins right now (blue) are in letters A through F, whereas the eight that are ready to go out but are <span class="caps">NOT</span> out (green) are clustered at the end of the alphabet, mostly around &#8216;S&#8217;. Does my subconscious mind discriminate by letter?</p> <p>Maybe it&#8217;s wise to do so, because the only published story I have starts with &#8216;B&#8217;&#8230;.</p> <p><strong>Update, August 7, 2008:</strong> My other accepted story starts with &#8216;A&#8217;. Hmm.</p> Off-season 2006-07-31T10:40:57+00:00 2008-06-08T13:54:34+00:00 <p>So, my advisor (you know, in my <a href="" target="links"><span class="caps">MFA</span> Program</a>, remember?) suggests I submit one of the stories I sent him to (ominous trumpets) an Editor. I have, of course, <a href="" target="lINKS">done this before</a>, but only with genre pieces. The piece in question is not genre. So I sit, riffling and re-riffling an inch of my trusty <a href="" target="links">Writer&#8217;s Market</a>. There are so <span class="caps">MANY</span> literary magazines. Do I send it to one of the posher ones that still takes new writers? Do I send it to a little one? Do I send it to five that take simultaneous submissions? I could just choose one, wait for the rejection and go to the next, but the real kicker is&#8230;most of them don&#8217;t read or &#8216;read slowly&#8217; between May and September. Curse it!</P>