Quick Note to Authors/Editors/Publicists Wanting a Big Idea Slot
Posted on June 1, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 11 Comments
Really, please do read the Big Idea submission requirements before asking to participate. I have that system for a reason, i.e., because it helps me schedule and helps me schedule books near their release date, and it helps me make sure people who are intrigued by a book can find it. I’m having a rash of authors/editors/publicists asking to participate who have apparently not read the submission requirements and it’s making me sad to have to turn them all down. But turning them down I am. Because, once again, I have submission requirements for a reason. Won’t you please read the submission requirements? I would love it if you did.
If you did read the submission requirements and thought that even if your book was outside their scope I might still be willing to slot in your book, the answer is: Yeah, no. Because I have submission requirements for a reason, you see. This is a recurring theme.
But turning them down I am
Channeling Yoda, you are? ;-)
Heh, you’d think _editors_ would understand about submission requirements. :)
Step 1: Read Guidelines
Step 2: did you skip #1? Ok fine then, Just for you go to step 3.
Step 3: Go to Step 1
Step 4: Still here? Fine then go to Step 5.
Step 5: Go to Step 3.
Step 6: Still here? Wow you are not giving up. Well then try this. Press Alt-F4. This will solve my problem.
Just read them again, and I’m neither an agent nor an author (well, I did write a book once.)* Perhaps they’re confused with the phrase “… Beyond that, it’s pretty open …” in the final paragraph. Or they’re idiots, always have to remember that possibility.
*Research can be reclassified after being completed, above the level of the researcher to view his own work. It would be boring and very out of date now, anyway, LSI design techniques.
Do you really have enough time to read all the “Big Idea” books that get sent to you, or do you ask them to send you a copy to make sure that the book in question actually got printed?
htom @4: Another possibility is that they’re not idiots, but egotists, who believe that rules, guidelines and other pesky things like submission requirements don’t apply to them because, well, don’t you see, they’re special.
You shouldn’t feel bad for people who won’t read submission guidelines. you are given people free advertising. I would feel bad for the poor authors who are not served well by their editors and publicists.
Email submissions are just too easy. They allow lazy people to submit work without much inconvenience, so they have little to lose if you refuse their submission. They know their book doesn’t qualify or has a release date outside the range, but they figure “it just takes a minute” so why not give it a try?
What you need to do is make it LESS convenient. For instance, you can accept email submissions, but only to an email address that exists on a closed network outside the internet, which only has a public terminal on the burning wreckage of the BP oil rig. Or you could require submissions be notarized, and only by a notary with at least 4 different vowels in their last name (not counting Y, you weasels). Or make the author prove they are ready by using the Force to raise their SUV from the swamp, beause there is no try, only do. Or require the submissions be printed on a ditto machine (link pasted below for the YA crowd). Perhaps you could require hand delivery to your designated representative, Dog, the Bounty Hunter.
The goal is to thin out the number of entries, without being too restrictive.
What is a ditto?
Matthew in Austin:
“Email submissions are just too easy.”
Speaking from experience when I ran a humor column on AOL which only accepted materials via snail mail, I can tell you that people who are determined to think they will be the exception are not deterred from thinking so regardless of format.
Beyond that I’m not looking to thin out the number of entries. I just want them to follow directions.
Ah man, I thought my post was exceedingly clever, but I got no love. I now know what it feels like to have my submission rejected!
Matthew in Austin: Well, you made me want to look at eBay for a ditto machine to play around with. I have a typewriter — then I’d just need some carbon paper! No school like old school, baby.