New policy

Here’s the deal.  I’ve been trying to politely reply to incorrect submissions.  People using the last resort email without reading the guidelines have been getting summarily and unceremoniously deleted, but others have used the submission form for non-fiction, or they’ve submitted their query via the contact us page, one person even recently read the submission guidelines and somehow got the impression it was pick-mix and skipped straight to the last resort option and even admitted as much in the email.  Until today the ones not just sending us any and sundry email on the last resort address have been getting polite replies directing them to the submission guidelines and form.

No more.

The forms explain themselves.  The submission guidelines, while possibly able to stand being phrased more business like and stuffy (something I’d rather slit my own wrists than attempt to do to the poor defenseless English language), are pretty straight forward and clear.  If you can’t read them, it is now our policy to assume that this also means you cannot write and that we will not be able to finish your book; literacy, after all, ought to be a prerequisite for being a writer.

I’m sorry, but it’s going too far and getting to be too much.  There have been days where over half of the submissions were incorrect and it took the better part of an hour to reply to all of them before adding the people who did as they were asked to our backlog!  That’s time that might have seen the start and finish of someone’s short story.  It’s certainly the amount of time it took me to read our first comic submission!

When you waste our time you waste other authors’ time.  So no more.  When you can follow the guidelines we’ll consider your book.  Until then you’re refiled to the bin without a glance or a tear shed.

Yes, this post is rude.  Believe me — there are hundreds of bad submissions behind it.  Patience and politeness have been exhausted and have left the building.

It was bound to happen

In the submission guidelines there is listed an email address. Leading up to this address is a careful explanation of the situation in which one is expected to use that address and the manner in which to use it. This circumstance and method are the only uses of this address. Using this address serves no purpose except being a backup method of landing on the backlog at exacly the same expected turn around time.

With this detail is a note. This note is now bolded, italicised, and underlined, in fact. The note explicitly states use of the address in any manner or circumstance save the one described will lead to immediate deletion of the message without opening it.

Naturally one assumes that authors, agents, and publishers would be a literate crowd. It would be rather a serious handicap to their profession if we weren’t.

Sadly, my day job puts me in regular contact with people whose profession ought to require knowing their own arses from holes in the ground who, in fact, could not manage this with illustrated instructions. Thus I suspected (even with the warning, or perhaps especially with it) that someone would, sooner or later, get that far and fire up an email without first engaging their brains.

Today it happened.

To the hapless author of said email. You know who you are even if we do not – as promised the message was unceremoniously discarded – so if you would like to try your message again using the correct submission form we would be glad to hear from you.

The rules are not there to be difficult. Our submission form is not complex and we’re quite loose about it; believe me, some folks could use a lesson in what short & sweet means … Or book description (really, the autobiography with the summary isn’t necessary, we’re reviewers not journalists) and a few books have come across without links and such … still we dutifully post them and dutifully consider them for the next book to read. The rules are there so that things can go quickly. The form keeps the data tidy and eliminates searching or things like the author name or book title when posting to the backlog, quickly finding the book on your site or retailer so we can create the appropriate links, etc. the forms and rules help us help you.

Bypassing them gets you nowhere except possibly mocked. Please don’t think it clever to play those kinds of games. You waste far more of your own time – it takes less than a second to mark a message for deletion.