Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Electronic Submissions by Terry Burns

 Today is the day for Diana to submit but she is dealing with some very serious family issues and I will post something in her slot to help out. I ask you to include her and your family in her prayers as she surely needs it.

A lot of editors and agents don't want any attachments to an email. Some want electronic submissions but want it all in the body of the email, no attachments. Others, like me, don't want hard copy submissions and do want them as an attachment, not in the body of the email. Some will take hard copy submissions and some, like me, don't.

These differences point up why it is so important to check the submission guidelines before we send to anybody. Those who don't want attachments probably are concerned about them containing viruses. I understand that. I have massive virus protection and several layers of backups, but understand at some point that I will have a problem. It's a cost of doing business.

A proposal in the body of an email is not a virus threat either, but I prefer them attached as a single word or .rtf file because I like to see if the writing is properly formatted, and if it's a project I like it is easier for me to use it as a base to build an agency proposal on. I actually am evaluating the proposal, whether it provides what we ask for in our submission guidelines at and whether we can see how well it would give us what we need to market the project as much as we are looking at the writing itself.

Why not hard copy? For one reason I lose them. I toss them in the inbox in the study along with a bunch of junk mail, and they can get away from me. I seldom work there, mostly I work wherever my computer is, so I don't get in there to dig them out and deal with them often. I don't feel all that bad about it because our submission guidelines say I don't take hard copy submissions at all, which means I'm dealing with people who don't or won't follow instructions anyway.

But the big reason for no hard copy submissions is that I do most of what I do online. Most editors I'm working with prefer to work electronically, so I need clients that will work with me in that manner. A person that tells me they don't know how to do attachments or they seldom email might as well be telling me they deliver handwritten manuscripts. I need people who are keeping up with the changing technology of the industry. A contract for one of my clients calls for delivery of a hard copy manuscript. That client is ready to send the final manuscript but when I checked with the editor to be sure, she said even though the contract calls for hard copy, she'd rather have it electronically. Exactly what I'm talking about, I want to see how well a submitting client handles the technology.

So often at conferences I hear people say "I don't see why they ask me to submit like this, or any reason a proposal needs to contain that, or some other facet called for in guidelines." We ask for a little more in a proposal than some others but we would rather have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Other Hartline agents (and other agents in general) may accept things differently, we should never submit to anyone without checking their submission guidelines to see if we are sending what they would like to have in the manner they would like to see it.

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