I am going to be pretty brief today and I think that I will be as brief the whole winter, because I feel like defrosting from the weather and the warmth from the heater lulls me to sleep. That scary fact about my body reactions to temperature changes poses a question on its own of how the heck am I going to be productive at all, but to be quite honest that is a mystery better left for a different post.
Now I shall answer the question/title for this post. It’s a fact; I have submitted “Lunar Hues” to targeted anthology with high hopes that Anthology Editor falls in love. Fairy tale sequence aside I had a small panic attack attached to this submission. It took ages to figure out how to tone my bio and how to shape my publishing credits, which by the way can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Most painful was how to approach the anthology editor, since research on the matter never revealed his/hers name. I guess I am doing the quest for name wrong, but I couldn’t find a thing.
I quadruple checked everything from formatting to headline, contact information and what not and in the end the mouse hung quite a few seconds over the “Send” button, before clicking. I had the feeling that I was Dexter Boy Genius, while experimenting with dangerous chemicals and awaiting something to go wrong, even though I have followed procedure.
Did I format the file accordingly? Did I miss something vital? Was it a slap in the face to clarify that although my full name is Haralambi, it’s better for everyone to be called Harry? I did this in the most well meaning tone without indulging in self-explanatory territories, but I am a slow writer, so the submission process is a new and I fear that I might have stampeded over a sacred unwritten law somewhere.
As you have noticed I turn into Monk, when it comes to submission, which got me thinking: Why the hell do we near heart failure every time we submit something, whether it be a short story for a magazine or anthology, pitching to an agent or editor and god knows what else, we as writers hyperventilate. I even got reassured that it is normal, which I know it is, but then again why is it so.
To me the gist of it lies that to make a good impression, a writer relies on too many variables that determine success. One would be following the guidelines, which is the most obvious of them all, but then there is the ability to slightly differ from all the other submissions without crossing a line, which has to happen within the submission text and doing that via e-mail is an art form within itself. Something that might seem acceptable to write, may irk off the editor and since the submission text is a lot like a novel’s cover [it aims to get a reaction from the one intended to see it] rubbing the editor the wrong way can be a very sloppy French kiss with death.
When someone is irritated the weaknesses or personal pet peeves stand out and scream for the work to be stacked in the rejected pile, while when one’s mood is perked up by the positive fuzziness conveyed in the submission along with flawlessly followed guidelines and manners to boot may result in a positive viewing of the work. This is not to say that editors are bunnies that one can manipulate so easily, but these fine, fine details determine one way or another the success of the submission at least as far as submission goes. A good submission tells the editor that the writer has professionalism, which is a valued quality, while bad submissions can make the editor doubt whether working with a writer, who can’t even handle the submission stage can be adequate, if published.
Would you trust a taxi driver, who would try to speed from the right lane? It’s the same here to a point.
That being said, I have to add one more thing. There are plenty of writers out there and the business is pretty competitive, so one needs to be stellar as far as submission goes. Precisely why I am going OCD when it comes down to submissions.
Yeah, it’s not that short, when I think about it and it’s kind of incoherent babbling, but it’s my logic on this anxiety when it comes to submissions.
I am also indulging in yet another mythological piece that has been re-imagined, because as far as I recall gorgons aren’t male or muscular, but it’s certainly a striking illustration, which I discovered on my DA hunts. The hand behind it belongs to Mushimaro Tachikawa, a very talented Japanese artist in my humble opinion. Now doesn’t this provoke an interesting story?