Monday, December 11, 2017

Are You Dumb as a Box of Rocks?

Here's my litmus test for dumb...

I'm a hopeful author.  I've just written a short story that I want to try to publish. 

I find a market and submit.

On the submission form is a line that says, "I have read the submission guidelines."  I have to check a little box that says "True," next to it.   I check the box, BUT I DON'T BOTHER TO READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES!

Today I assigned stories for reading.  As part of this process, I vet the slush pile, which means I glance through them to make sure the authors are minding their Ps and Qs as far as submission.  There are certain submission rules that I will not or cannot bend on, certain practices by some authors that are not tolerated by editors (ANY editors with ANY kind of self-respect). 

Those authors who have clearly chosen to ignore those rules have the great honor of being the first in that particular pile of slush to be rejected.

If the error is obvious, I don't even read the story.  Not a single word.  I dump it straight into the trash.

And, here's the kicker, I don't even inform those authors that they've made a submission error.  They go into the same pile as the authors who have (gratefully) followed the rules but whose stories just aren't our cup of tea. 

It's not my job to explain why your story was rejected.  Figuring that out is YOUR job.

But, my dears, to tell me you've read my guidelines, then to fail to actually follow those guidelines, tells me two things.

First, it tells me that all the rejection letters in the world probably aren't going to teach you much, because, Second, it tells me you're probably  dumb as a box of rocks.

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