Sunday, October 10, 2004

In & Out

Well, now that I know the story that I entered into the Glimmer Train contest didn't place (big surprise there), I decided to send it right back out to Tin House.

Those of you who have been reading for a while know I have something against magazines that only accept snail mail submissions. And Tin House is one of those, even though, as I've said before, it's got good content and it's a lovely publication, very pleasing to the eye. So I took the time yesterday to print out the story, paperclip it, write out the cover letter, and print it as well. Now I've just got to get all the envelopes addressed, and then slap it on the postage meter and affix the proper postage. Then walk it to the mailbox.

I don't know why all that irritates me so much. It just does. I feel like a lazy whiner right now, actually. I guess it would be even more annoying if I didn't have my own postage scale though. I remember the days of taking every submission to the post office. Now that was truly annoying.

Hope you all are having a productive Sunday, with a little bit of writing (and a little bit of living it up) thrown in. Thanks for reading, and write on,



Blogger maikopunk said...

Someone once pointed out, and I think they're right, that including a SASE with submissions is just paying to be rejected.
As someone who used to read the submissions for a small publisher, we used to send the reject letter regardless of postage included, and just didn't return the material.
I think more publishers should get with the email revolution, but no one wants to read pages and pages onscreen, and they don't want to pay the cost of printing things out either.
But, if a publisher is truly interested in the work they'll pay a few precious pennies to tell the writer, or spare the time to write an email.

11:34 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

NICE! Ha. Yeah, I don't ever send the postage to get the whole manuscript back anymore, they can recycle it or toss it in the trash, I just send a #10 SASE for the lovely rejection letter. I never really thought about how it's getting paid to be rejected but I guess it is. (Ah, that will cause more ranting from me, ha!)

When you were reading for the small publisher, what were some of the big no-no's? Like, was there anything that would just make you automatically reject? (I think I know what mine is, in a technical sense -- if somebody sent me a single-spaced manuscript in hard copy I think I'd just toss it. At least with electronic submissions you can make a new copy and doublespace the whole thing for readability.)


10:24 PM  
Blogger maikopunk said...

Definitely the single spaced thing was suspect - I got a few single spaced and typewritten manuscripts that made me think I was possibly dealing with a crazy person. One such author claimed we needed to publish her book because Arnold Schwarzenegger had already agreed to star in the movie. Right.
You've also mentioned elsewhere that its a numbers game - so true - and its just really hard to quantify good writing. Any book publisher or lit magazine gets way more than they can publish, and its the disgruntled peons that do the reading, not the illustrious editor.
I wasn't about to pass on manuscripts accompanied by crayon drawings, or 400 pages of rambling biography.
I've sent out my fair share of work, but probably not nearly the amount you have LadyLitzBlitzin. I still believe that if your work is good and you know your markets, it will eventually find a home.
Is there a point though, that you will decide to stop sending out a particular piece?

12:38 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Maikopunk, thank you so much for this comment. I have TRULY sent out a boatload of submissions, since I've been sending out stories to magazines since about 1990. (Ack!) I have retired a few stories during that time, though the weird thing is, I got a rash of stuff published last fall and most of what was accepted was older work. I don't know what that says. My kind roommate said, "Maybe that means you were before your time." I don't know, either that, or it's the luck of the draw, or the fact that the Internet has opened up a more eclectic mix of tastes and venues to place fiction, or maybe all of the above. Maybe I should unretire a few of my other older pieces and start sending them out again.

Most of what I'm sending out now has been written within the last couple years though. And it's been by no means uncommon for me to send out a story to 10 or more different markets. I'm sure some of the older stories had gone to 20, maybe more. What is heartening is I do feel I get more personal feedback these days, which I like to take as a good sign. Or maybe editors are just kinder now. ;)

As you can tell, I'm a big adherent of never giving up!


10:04 PM  
Blogger Maktaaq said...

On the subject of things that get rejected straight away; last year I was talking to one of the former (?) editors of Geist magazine (Maikopunk knows this one) and I asked the editor that same question. She said anyone using the -ing form of verbs: i.e. they were going to the state fair while the boat was capsizing with its load of hamsters.

1:55 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Ah yes -- passive voice gets really annoying. Especially when it's overused, which I think a lot of writers are guilty of. Same with adverb overkill. "Those poor hamsters," she said, sadly. "Somebody save them!" he exclaimed quickly.

A little goes a long way...


7:28 AM  

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