Friday, December 10, 2004

To E-sub or Not to E-Sub

There's an interesing article/column on email submissions by Michael Bugeja in the new issue of The Writer's Chronicle. The focus is mostly for non-fiction submissions, queries and the like, but there are a few tidbits related to us fiction people.

There are a lot of quotes from T.R. Hummer from the Georgia Review. He hates e-subs. I mean really hates them. He claims a dramatic drop in quality between those who send their work in by snail mail and those who shoot them out by email. He's also scared to death of viruses and trojans, and says he automatically deletes anything with an attachment.

The article prints the automatic reply when you e-sub to the New Yorker:

Thank you for your submission to the New Yorker; if you don't hear from us within two months, consider your work rejected.

So I guess that's the wave of the future, getting rejected ahead of time, before someone even reads the story. Maybe I'll send them something, just so I too can say I've been rejected by the New Yorker!

Bugeja did talk to a few that prefer email, but they all complained about people who submit without looking at the preferred formats. For the most part, they all said they just delete subs that don't follow the guidelines. But the one thing everyone agreed on is they hate when authors send a snippy, defensive reply to an email rejection. You know, something like:

Dear Editor,

You suck ass. How dare you not see the brilliance of my story! When my novel comes out, I'll be sure to mention in every interview how you turned me down and you'll be a big laughing stock! HAHAHA!


Pissed off brilliant writer

Okay, that's not really in the article but that's what I imagined when they referred to a reply.

So I'm wondering. Have you ever replied to a rejection? If so, what did you say? If not, what would you say?



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Interesting. I actually do think I have heard the theory about the drop in quality between emailed subs and print subs, though it's a weird dichotomy. I guess the idea that somebody can just zing off an email lends itself to sloppier submissions or sloppier writers? I don't know.

And also interesting, that preemptive strike response from New Yorker. A while back I submitted to them and didn't get that response; maybe they instituted that right after I submitted. I hope that's not going to become an industry standard -- that's a step backward, not to even get any acknowledgment.

I have only emailed back when an editor says something nice, and encouraging, and then I'll thank them. There's a perception that there's a door open for communication. But I'm very cognizant of email overload -- people don't want tons of email correspondence if they've just rejected someone. I would never flame an editor.

Hebdomeros said...

I wonder if its really a drop in quality, or just an increase in sheer volume. It's much easier to send out an email than to got through the trouble of printing the work, including an SASE and dropping it in the real mail. Fewer steps means, I would think, more people will submit.

I agree, though. I would never, never, never send a nasty email to an editor. As fluid as the publishing world is, you never know when that same person might be screening your work again.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

True, I've made it abundantly clear on my blog that I definitely will go waaaaay out of my way to just do an e-sub as opposed to a paper sub. And the more I think of the guy getting so mad at e-subs the more angry I get. Just because it's so damn time consuming and expensive. And the fact that so few writers are paid for their hard work... grrr.

Ah well...