Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Not to Submit

by Meghan Conrad

Ellora's Cave, as most of you know, only accepts electronic submissions. It's easier for the editors, easier on the environment, and arguably harder for the authors, who have even more to remember when sending in their manuscript.

This is a list of things we wish you'd avoid when submitting electronically. While none of these things will get you rejected, they certainly don't win you any points.

1. PDFs. Yes, they're wonderful when you need to control every aspect of the document, but this isn't that time. That's why it's called submitting. If you send us a PDF file, we will simply delete it and email back to ask you to send a doc file.

2. Locked documents. Maybe we hate Courier and want to change the font; maybe we need to add your contact info to the header; maybe we want to be able to leave notes to ourself in the document. If you lock it, we can't do any of those things.

3. Wrong file versions. If you realize you've sent the wrong version of your manuscript, send the right version immediately. If you don't realize that you sent the wrong version until you've heard back from the editor, you're probably out of luck unless you have a fantastic working relationship with that person--and even then, you're going to be waiting until your manuscript comes back to the top of the queue.

4. Missing attachments. Everyone does this once in a while--I did it earlier this week (sorry again, Dee!)--but it's worse when you're submitting. This goes double if you're submitting to a catch-all submissions address instead of a specific person. Making more work for people who deal with the tedious task of logging the slush submissions gets you a special place in hell.

5. Comments from your crit partners. I'm really thrilled that you have a crit partner. A good crit partner is worth their weight in rhodium. I do not, however, need or want to see their comments about your book. I promise that I can think of plenty of comments on my own.

6. Tracked changes. Invaluable while you're revising, but do you really want to have an editor reading over the scenes that you deleted? Because while I can't speak for anyone but myself, if the words are still there, I'm going to read them.

7. Unlabeled manuscripts. A manuscript that's named submission.doc could belong to anyone. Even worse is when it's called submission.doc and doesn't have the author's name or the title anywhere within the document.

8. Reply-to addresses that aren't the same as the from address. If you don't want me responding to your work email, then don't submit from your work email. Every major email provider offers web access--use it.

9. Uninformative emails--or, worse, emails with no text in the body. Don't attach a cover letter--that should go in the body of the email. And, as with all cover letters, it should have the title, word count, genre, your name and your contact information.

10. Email stationary. We don't need fancy backgrounds, sparkles, or theme music when we open your email. It's the digital equivalent of submitting with your cover letter written on Lisa Frank stationary--not a fantastic first impression...unless you're writing to an eight-year-old.

1 comment:

Elaina Lee said...

I'm slightly saddened you had to make this list... But, it's obviously needed. :-)

And I seriously can't believe someone subbed something at one point in time that had comments from a crit partner. I sure would not EVER want an editor to see my crit partners comments, LOL!