|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
HOW AVID ARE YOU, WRITER?
How Much Self Abuse Are You Into?
So, yesterday was one of those days when I oscillated between elation and anguish. It was the day I set aside this week for catching up on the re-writes and turning them into submissions. The first part, when the juice is on and the words come, is always a source of exquisite relief. All that time spent cleaning up grammar, syntax, plot, and the myriad other things that go into a story gels and the finished product really feels "finished". (Yes, those are the notorious qualification quotes. When is a story, poem, or essay ever 'FINISHED"?) By the time I've reached this point in the process, I've made my decisions as far as the story goes, if there were any real question left in my mind about the submission it would stay on the desk until I was through fighting with it.
Then comes the second half of the whole process. Checking the possible outlets for each one and insuring that the formatting is indeed the way they requested it. (Yes, I am talking about multiple submissions to several different markets...five to be exact and none of them simultaneous. I don't like simultaneous submissions on a personal level. I feel I'm attempting to start a relationship with a publication and the editors as much as I am trying to get something in print and get paid. Simultaneous submissions are a little like literary street walking in my view.) The tension comes in the decision of who to send it to and how they want it.
As you've probably surmised by this blog, I'm not the average voice or style out here. That can cause some problems finding a receptive editor. I spend DAYS locating a vehicle that I think I'll have a decent chance with before pulling the trigger. Then I will pour over their formatting requirements and try to make sure I haven't missed anything they're looking for in that department. Believe it, if these people are as picky as I've been (and I know some of them make me look like the epitome of editorial liberality), the fastest route to the out box is to either go with the, "One size fits all", approach or let that little voice in your head convince you it's their job to get the thing into shape for press.
Publishers put guidelines on their sites for a reason! They are not 'Hints and Suggestions'. This is one of the few places outside of biblical references where the rules are written in friggin' stone. Especially if you are doing an electronic submission. Come on, most of us are dealing with Microsoft Word. Anybody out there NEVER had a problem with that particular product line? If you can answer that in the affirmative then I want to know what god you sacrificed the goat to and if it had to be a specific breed. Bet you followed those 'guidelines' to the letter. No one wants to deal with a pissed off god...Why piss off an editor who thinks they're god? If they say word pre-docx, there's a reason. Play nice kids, it's their ball.
Just another helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis