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I can tell you.

I just spent the weekend explaining to prospective authors that "submission guidelines" really should be read as "submission rules." You know why? Because they tell the editor things about the author:

1. Can they read, comprehend and follow directions? Yes.
2. Did they make themselves at least passing familiar with the market? Probably.
3. Will they be able to take critique and rewrite requests seriously? Maybe.

However, if the author does not follow the submission guidelines, the answer to the above three questions is automatically marked as "No." and that author is probably not someone I want to work with.

Also, there is another reason there are specific email submission guidelines. The Edge of Propinquity's guidelines state: Send submissions with the subject line "TEoP SUBMISSION: [Title Name]".

This isn't just to vex people and be a control freak. This is to help me as an editor know -immediately- when a story for my webzine has come in. I see the "TEoP SUBMISSION:" in the subject and I already know this is something I need to pay attention to. I do not automatically filter because I want to make sure what is put in my slush pile is a story and not spam.

There is another reason I have a specific guideline for my email subjects when it is a submission to The Edge of Propinquity. I regularly scan my spam filter to make sure a story was not accidently snagged by an overzealous spam filter. When I opened my spam folder today, guess what jumped out at me? "TEoP SUBMISSION:"

Obviously, it was not spam and was moved.

You want to know who the story was from? bondo_ba. There's a professional author who did not lose a story to my spam filter because he followed my submission guidelines.

Cross posted to lobo_luna


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
*shakes head*

Every year I end up being on two or three "Publishing 101" panels at local conventions, and every year I try to hammer home the fact that submissions guidelines need to be followed.

It pains me to see writers still not understanding this simple concept.

On the flip side of the coin, if they just won't follow guidelines, that gives me (someone who reads and follows guidelines religiously) a big advantage in the slushpile.
Feb. 17th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
Great. Now I have to wonder if I did that submission correct. Usually I'm correct with my submissions, but these kind of posts give me a complex.

Of course, I'm thinking of automatically rejecting any of the stories in the Maybe folder that are not in Standard Format.
Feb. 17th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
You've always done your subs to me correctly.
Feb. 17th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
LOL. Now I'm living in fear that I missed something else - maybe I misinterpreted the kind of story you're looking for, or sent the wrong type of bio... So many things can go wrong with a sub.

Still, I hope you enjoy it.
Feb. 17th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I didn't see any glaring errors. Don't worry. The worst I'll do is send you a "No, thanks." form response.
Feb. 17th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
*sighs with relief*

A form rejection is something I can deal with! The pressure of finding out I did something boneheaded after being cited as an example is harder (though I still love being mentioned!)...

Anyhow, you're absolutely correct about the importance of following guidelines. I sometimes read slush for anthos, and correctly formatted work that meets the guidelines is, sadly, a small percentage of the work one sees. Furthermore, when a writer doesn't bother with the guidelines, it is often a sign that the work itself wasn't as carefully composed as it might have been.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 17th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
Yepyep. :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )