In my 5+ years as senior editor of AlienSkin Magazine and Nocturnal Ooze, I’ve receive and read thousands of stories from writers from all around the world. The majority of theses writers approach us in a professional manner, and that includes not only pro writers, but newbie writers as well.
We get the typical 20% ‘Reject Them Right Off The Bat’ submissions from writers who just can’t seem to follow simple directions listed in our submission guidelines, such as,
- word count
- genre/type of stories we publish
- attachment formats
But since we strive to be ‘Writer Friendly’ we just slap their hands with a cordial little reminder email, asking them to either reduce their word count to fit our guidelines, to resend their story using 1 or the 3 formats we accept, or to withdrawal the story. ~ Yes, we allow for 3 different ways to send us stories. Not one or two, but THREE.
Unfortunately, there are those who still think they can pick a fourth format of their choice. Sheesh!
But there are consistently a small group of writers submitting to us who make us editors want to scream.
These are writers who somehow think they are so special they make their own rules. They dismiss all Submission Guidelines regardless the market they are approaching.
Some of the writers in this 10% category profess they are merely trying to be witty or artsy, using Cutesy Large Fonts, Pretty Colors, etc., thinking such might impress ups and make them stand out.
Let me tell you ~ from an editor’s point of view ~
If your do this, all we think or want to tell you as editors is: GET A CLUE!
We have to print these submissions out folks ~ all your cover letters and attached stories. Ink and paper ain’t cheap when you think of the 5,000+ stories we alone at AlienSkin receive in a year.
Most markets, including us, work out-of-pocket. Big ain’t better.
You only makes us wonder if you’re trying to offset the fact that your writing is weak and lacking substance by hiding it under BIG BOLD TITLES.
Personally, it makes me wonder if the old axiom about the guy using a shiny new sports car to compensate for his short comings; or the one about the woman who gets a boob job to boost her self-esteem, apply in the case of these writers.
Not a good thing for me to be wondering right before I’m to read your story!
Another offender fitting this 10% category of ‘Submitters Who Really Piss Us Editors Off’, are writers who truly believe they are so above the above submission rules ~ that when you attempt to gently slap their hands and tell them to kindly read our guidelines, they have the nerve to email you back and tell you,
“If I followed that rule, I’d publish half as many stories I do now because
I’d be waiting too long for a reply.“
Tell that to a Pro-paying market or book publisher and you’ll likely black-listed!
The context of that offender was that the writer consciously believed he was above our guideline rule of ‘We Don’t Accept Simultaneous Submissions“, and had submitted the same story to four other markets.
Here’s another response from a rule breaker violating the same rule,
“If I followed that rule with markets, I be waiting half a year for responses.
I find it best to submit to more than one market. That’s what works for me.”
Oh, and here’s another run-in I had with one of these ‘Special Privileged Writers’. This actually happened this month.
I received a submission and the title immediately caught my eye, it seemed familiar. So I read the first paragraph. I remembered the story ~ in fact, I remembered it so well, that I knew we had published the tale. When I took the time to check our records, I found we had indeed published the tale in our sister magazine, Nocturnal Ooze, last Summer.
The submission had been made to AlienSkin Magazine. When I emailed the writer, telling him we were a bit confused by his submission to us, reminding him that we had published the tale is our sister magazine. He said he wasn’t aware that we were associated with Nocturnal Ooze.
Okay, I realize many of you are probably thinking, ‘hey the guy just made an honest mistake. How can he be expected to remember each and every editor he does business with in a year.’
Wrong! Wrong! WRONG!
A good writer ~ especially one who is being published on a fairly regular basis ~ keeps records.
But that wasn’t the real breach of etiquette here. Those of you familiar with our magazines have caught the writer’s error.
He Didn’t Read Our Guidelines! Plain and simple.
He broke the rule clearly stated in our guidelines: We Don’t Accept Reprints!
Reading Submission Guidelines is something ALL writers a must for every market you approach. Reading them will save you and the editor time.
I guess he forgot I was the one who sent him the acceptance letter and signed the check he received.
Our Home Page even states,
‘With all that said, sit back now, and read the latest issues of AlienSkin Magazine & Nocturnal Ooze,’
showing we own BOTH magazines. Duh?
So by now you should be asking yourselves, Do Editors Hold Grudges or Black List Writers who tick them off like that?
The answer is ~ It’s hard not to.
Most of us understand and overlook the occasional faux pas. A few of us will send out the courtesy slap on the wrist, offering you a chance to redeem yourself by resubmitting properly. Such errors and oversights can be made by any writer, even pro writers. We’ve all been harried and scatterbrained when we are trying to get a story out. Such errors can happen.
But those Flagrant, In Your Face, Eat Your Rules, I’ll Do What I Want writers.
You bet your ass we remember.
That chick who told me she makes it a habit to simultaneously submit to markets, regardless of what their guideline rules state, her email addresses (yeah both of them) are listed in my email message rules #121 ~ set for Auto-Deletion.
The message here, the lesson to be learned from the examples above:
Read Submission Guidelines & Play Nice, Be Nice.
Editors will treat you and your writing with respect.
The bonus is:
You’ll make an editor smile as they pick up your story and begin to read.