Monday, September 29, 2008

In the hopes of saving you some money and maybe time

... and maybe even the environment! Here are a couple thoughts:

We've had our online submissions manager up and running for almost a month now, and most folks are taking advantage of it. So far, though, we've been surprised at how many people still prefer to submit their work by snail mail. But if that's what you prefer, there's no need to stop submitting through the post. There are a couple things you might want to keep in mind, though, if this is how you want us looking at your work.

1. You don't need to submit work in a folder.
2. Neither do you need to submit work sandwiched between two pieces of cardstock, cardboard, etc.
3. Nor need you submit work in a binder (or any other binding-type device).
4. Fancy pants 100% cotton resume paper is luxurious and very impressive, but not more impressive than the written work that should be on it.
5. Expedited delivery service doesn't equal expedited consideration.
6. Unless you actually want your manuscript back, just include a SASE with enough postage for us to send our response to you.

For items 1 through 4, we are impressed by how well people protect their manuscripts. And we totally respect that. And if you all want to keep on printing your work out on resume paper, binding it, slipping it in a folder, and then sandwiching the folder between two pieces of cardboard, we welcome you to do it. But we will read the manuscript even if it's on (especially if it's on!) boring white 20 lb paper and bi- or tri-folded into a smaller envelope. Tidiness and legibility are important in putting together a submission for a magazine, but those other things aren't, really.

There's not much more to say but what's already apparent in item 5. Sometimes folks spend a whole bunch of money to send something to us overnight. Every deadline we set for submissions is a postmark deadline, so as long as the manuscript is sent on the day of the deadline, all is well.

And then there's 6. Maybe most people submitting know better than I did, but when I started sending my manuscripts out to magazines, I thought that I was supposed to pay for enough postage for my manuscript to be sent back to me. "What are they going to do with it?" I thought. Well, we recycle it. And so unless you are using returned manuscripts for your records or building art projects out of them or maybe even sending them on to other magazines to consider, just let us recycle it for you. Less paperwork. And then you only need that 42-cent stamp.

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