Stapled Manuscript? destined for slushpile?

merritt

olaf capek
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Hi all,

So I finally get up the nerve to submit a short story(2400 words) into a Sci-fi mag. Did the research pretty well, was formatted correctly, I think. Approximate word count, disposable copy, 2 sentence cover letter, then stapled it together & mailed in.
So I messed up the paperclip vs. staples part.

Should I resubmit loose manuscript with paperclip?

Will the previous one absolutely go in the slushpile?

No big deal, I can print lots.

Any Advice?
Tia
M
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Unsolicited manuscripts from writers with unfamiliar names go into the slushpile automatically -- that's what the slushpile is, everything they didn't ask for or expect.

Your real concern is whether it makes it from the slushpile to an editor's desk instead of some underling giving it a cursory glance before dropping it in the wastebasket (since you say you sent a disposable copy).

With the staple your chances don't look very good; they ask for loose pages for a reason. However, it somewhat depends on the magazine. At a small press there is a small possibility they might cut you a little slack. If you sent it to someone who pays professional rates, I'd say your story was pretty much doomed. You have nothing to lose by resubmitting. I don't think a paperclip matters one way or another, as they have to remove it before reading.
 

littlemissattitude

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Isn't it funny how those things we learn in kindergarten - things like following directions - tend to pop up in real life from time to time?;)

On a slightly related note, I understand why publishers want unbound pages. That makes perfect sense. But I had a college instructor once who would go ballistic if a student turned in anything stapled. I mean, he would literally go into a rage and scream obscenities about it. I found that to be just, oh, slightly unreasonable.

Sad to say, it was not the only point he was unreasonable and inflexible about.
 

merritt

olaf capek
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Hi all :rolleyes: ,

Been a while, nothing yet.
Asimovs doesn't seem to have binding instructions in their guidelines.
Best Regards,
M:p
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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merritt said:
Asimovs doesn't seem to have binding instructions in their guidelines.

Well, they wouldn't.

If you apply for a job, companies don't instruct you on how to write your resume. It's the same with publishers -- some things they expect you to know without being told.

But you shouldn't worry because you haven't heard anything yet. At a magazine like Asimov's they have a lot of manuscripts to go through. You could be a published writer with one or two books to your name, an editor could even have invited you to submit, and they would still take a few months to get back to you.
 

Lacedaemonian

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What about spraying perfume on it? :)

The publishing rules seem to go beyond madness. I often think of Twain to regain equilibrium in my heart.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Lacedaemonian said:
The publishing rules seem to go beyond madness. I often think of Twain to regain equilibrium in my heart.

Well, it's a business, Lace. Whatever it is to us, as writers, to the editors and publishers it's like any other business. It has its procedures, its culture, its professional standards. There are reasons for all of them. Some aspects of it are a little archaic, but it's no crazier than any other business. (It does, however, move a lot slower.)
 

Patrick Mahon

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Kelpie said:
Well, it's a business, Lace. Whatever it is to us, as writers, to the editors and publishers it's like any other business.
Kelpie,

I'd be really interested in your views on the amateur vs professional debate. I've read "how to write" books which make the (reasonable) point that, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you shouldn't submit material without getting paid. (I'm thinking mostly here of non-fiction and journalistic pieces.) This clearly seems sensible, particularly to stop magazine publishers, who are in business to make money, relying on free material from amateurs rather than buying material from professionals.

On the other hand, there clearly must be loads of writers (and quite a few on these forums, I imagine) who are amateurs in the original sense - that is, they write purely for enjoyment, without necessarily wanting this to turn into their job.

Do you see a distinction between amateurs (in this sense) who just want to get published in their local writing group's quarterly magazine, and professional writers? If so, is this just the same as the difference between the person who plays football in a Sunday league for enjoyment, and a professional sportsman/woman who gets paid for what they do?

I ask mainly because I definitely come into the amateur category at the moment, but have long term aspirations towards the professional camp. But sometimes I wonder if I'm just deluding myself, and should stick with the day job...
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Patrick, the first rule for any writer, whatever their aspirations, is "don't quit the day job," because even when you've sold some books, you may still need it.

In my experience, so far as amateur writers are concerned, there is a wide range. There are the people who write for their own enjoyment, period. There are the people who write because they like to show what they have written to their friends -- in this context, showing it to their friends can also mean posting online or submitting to a fanzine. There are writers who dream of "someday" but don't want to make the commitment just yet. There are writers who self-publish because they are too impatient to go through the whole process of submitting and waiting for an answer, or because they want to take control of the whole process themselves. There are some who see self-publication or publication by a small press as a stepping stone to a professional book contract ... well, the list goes on.

It's difficult to make any generalizations about amateur writers, because of this variety of motivations and aspirations. Anyway, I don't think the amateur writers here would particularly appreciate it if I were bold enough to attempt to do so.

But if you are asking me, what does a person have to do, for the love of heaven, to go from amateur to professional (if your definition of professional means getting a contract from a major publishing house) -- well then, obviously, I do have some experiences to share. This thread may not be the best place to do that, however. Ask me again in my own sub-forum, and I'll be glad to hold forth at great length.
 

Trimac20

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It does seem that hard simply remove the staples!
(I'm talking about the publisher).
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Trimac20 said:
It does seem that hard simply remove the staples!
(I'm talking about the publisher).

From dozens if not hundreds of manuscripts? When the staples shouldn't have even been there in the first place? When the publisher is already receiving hundreds of manuscripts of equal or greater merit from writers who are not creating this unnecessary bit of work?

Sooner or later, staples snag your skin and gouge your fingers. If you're an editor or editorial assistant handling many hundreds of submissions a month, the stapled ones are going to get you sooner rather than later. So besides being unnecessary they are an annoyance. (The post office is not fond of them either, for the same reason.)

When you submit a manuscript, you want it to make a good impression. You want the very look of it to say: You may not know me but I am a thoroughly professional person. The staple says: I don't actually know what is expected of me.
 

Green

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All of what you just said is right, of course, but it doesn't stop people getting annoyed with the blase manner in which the publishing industry seems to treat writers and their works (I says seems, because I have no experience with it myself, I'm just going off stuff I've read about it). Most of the things in submission guidelines are there for a reason, but the way the whole thing works is just aggravating and stuck in the past.

I think the major problem really is not with the publishers, but with all the unpublishable crap that comes their way, and so it becomes a little easier to understand their perspective. I would imagine that a thousand turds hit their desk for every half-decent manuscript.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Green, most people who complain about the way the publishing business is run are proceeding from the notion that agents and editors ought to be arranging things to make life easier for unpublished writers who send them unsolicited manuscripts.

Agents and editors, on the other hand, persist in arranging things in the way that is most convenient for them. Wouldn't you, if you were in their position?

As aspiring writers, we approach these people as perfect strangers coming out of nowhere, and ask them to give us one of a limited number of opportunities for which thousands of other aspiring writers are competing at the same time. Is it too much to ask that we observe a few simple rules -- easy to learn and easy to follow -- and that we be willing to patiently wait our turn while they sift through the immense piles of manuscripts that arrived before ours did?

And yes, you are right, for every half-decent manuscript an editor receives there are thousands of perfectly abysmal ones. But there are also dozens of other half-decent manuscripts, and a handful of really good ones -- more of both of these than they can ever publish. This means that even if our manuscripts turn out to be among the promising ones, we are still part of a considerable crowd competing for their attention.
 

merritt

olaf capek
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Well I got my story rejection from Asimov's. Standard form rejection, no criticism or signature.:cool:

Now I can submit the story somewhere else.:rolleyes:

Where to next? I'll have to think about it.
Best Regards,
M
 

merritt

olaf capek
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Followed up the reject with some electronic submissions. :)

Hit my new driver and took a sunset ride on my hog!:cool:

Life is good.

Best regards,
M
 

GrownUp

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Hey Merrit,
I love the way you sign your posts off as if they were letters.
Hope this message finds you well.
Yours Sincerely,
GrownUp
 

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