Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Downside of Electronic Submissions

I was speaking with some writer friends the other day about various professional markets which accept electronic submissions.

"Oh, it's wonderful," I said, "I love being able to send electronic manuscripts."

"Yeah," said somebody, "but the flip side is that I've heard people say, 'I was pretty sure that my story was bad, but I sent it anyway.' I mean, that's taking Don't Edit for the Editor a little too far." There followed tales of obvious first-draft stories submitted simply because submission was the click of a few buttons instead of a $5.27 visit to the post office. Then the conversation concluded with conjectures on which editor would be the last one to adopt on-line submissions.

At first I was going to comment here that sending sub-par manuscripts is simply disrespectful, not only to a magazine's editorial staff, but to yourself and your corpus of work.

Then I was going to say it seems like a good way to get slush readers to groan when they see your name at the top of a manuscript.

But the end result of writers too lazy to do another pass on manuscripts before hitting the Send Button-- the one that affects me and every other serious writer -- is that now when I get a rejection, I'm much more likely to get a form rejection.

Gee, thanks. Not that I expect editorial staff to critique, but it will make those very rare instances when they do take a moment to add additional comments all that more meaningful.
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