The Weakest Link

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a failure. Not at writing. When I put a little effort in it you’d be amazed at what I can do. No, I am a failure at submitting my writing to interested markets. My number one, big fat problem is getting a piece of fiction from my desk to the mail and in front of the eyes of an editor, any editor. It’s a challenge. It’s not that I don’t understand the process. I am a smart person; I recognize that nothing will ever get sold and thus published if an editor or agent can’t read it. But there always seems to be some complication. Every single market, print or online, has different submission guidelines. Some want it double spaced, three inch margins with multi-colored text alternating at every other word.

OK, that’s not true. But you get my point. Before I can send anything out, I need to reformat. Change everything to single spaced, hard return, make up something to say in a cover letter, guess how much the postage will be and then get it to the post office. You gotta make labels, and actually have stamps…it’s just a major effort.

Well online should be easier, you say? Wrong. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. What kind of file do you save it as? Do you send it as an attachment or do they want it in the email of the text? Some files have to be single spaced with hard returns…others have to be double spaced with no breaks. Is the email you’re cover letter or do you attach it as a separate file as well. What happens when the file bounces back!

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I met Gordon Van Gelder (Editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine) this past weekend (he’s totally gorgeous by the way) and he said that on an average he gets about 150 to 200 unsolicited manuscripts each week. EACH WEEK!!! And John (his assistant and slush reader) is charged with getting the slush turned around in 48 hours. It sound’s crazy, but I greatly, greatly appreciate his efforts. There’s nothing like getting a rejection slip four days after your manuscript was postmarked! You think I’m kidding. Try waiting four months to find out your story didn’t grab the editor. It would be different if you could send out one manuscript to five or ten different places at a time and see what bites. But that’s a big no, no. Editors/publishers really hate multiple submissions and usually state that in their guidelines.

Anyway, I look forward to the day when I can hire a part-time assistant to work for me. Someone to make copies of my manuscripts, track where they were submitted and when they came back etc. (I have a nifty computer program I use right now) and manage my fan mail (I can dream can’t I?). Then I will have to find something new to procrastinate.