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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yes, I too can be impatient


I always feel sad for this generation when I’m told that they have a 15 second reading  attention span.                                               

As a writer for online sites I’ve learned to write short – short sentences, short paragraphs and short articles.

But at the same time I can’t help thinking about all those wonderful books this generation may be missing out on, books they haven’t got the patience to read. Books that can’t be broken down into 140 characters for Twitter.

But I have to admit that there’s one aspect of today’s technical age that has also made me impatient.

I can’t be bothered to write for publications that only accept submissions by snail-mail.

I understand that they don’t want to waste their time and money printing out my submission and/or  they don’t want their inbox clogged up with articles and stories.

But I think that they are being unreasonable. In today’s hi-tech age, we should take full advantage of modern technology’s advances, and one of them is the speed of communication.

Just as writers are expected to have websites, or at least blogs, and to be able to give links in their emails to editors showing them samples of their work online, so should editors be prepared to accept email submissions.

Like other writers of my age I remember writing on manual  typewriters and blessing the arrival of electric typewriters and then word processors. I had to keep up with new innovations so why shouldn’t editors .

Gone are the days when I would send my queries by post , wait a few months for a reply and then type and send off the article. All of which could easily take 6 months or even more.

Now I email a query, often get a reply within minutes and if necessary can get the article and photos into the editor’s inbox within 24 hours.

No I’m sorry, I just don’t have the patience any more to go back to snail-mail and a wait of weeks at least and possibly months.

So this new market I just discovered, which prompted this ‘tirade’ isn’t going on my to-write-for list. During the time it would take me to go through the whole process with them I could have queried, written and sold dozens of articles.

It’s a shame – I hope they change their submissions’ policy soon.

Do you agree?

There must be some people still submitting by snail mail or the pubs couldn’t exist.


Rosalind Adam said...

I know what you mean about snail-mail but making submissions by email sometimes has me worried. Did I send the attachment in the correct format? Will they be able to open it? Has it gone into their spam box? I heard an editor recently giving a talk and saying that she prefers to receive submission via email because it's so easy to click on the delete button if she's inundated. Not encouraging!

Ann said...

Yes Ros there are downsides to email but at least you don't have the frustrating situation of not knowing if your query has arrived yet or if it will take another week ( especially as I live so far away from many of my target markets).
Often, if I've had difficulty uploading photos or other attachments I shoot a quick follow-up email the next day just asking for confirmation of receipt of all the various sections - whereas a snail-mail follow up can take another few weeks to travel in both directions.

Lev said...

I don't think I even have a postage stamp at home.

But if there were a "snail-mail only" journal that were willing to publish me and pay generously - believe me I would go out of my way to find an envelope and a stamp. I would even lick that stamp to affix it.

It;s all about money, in the final score: e-mail is convenient, fast and... FREE.