Romantic Shorts is once again accepting manuscripts for publication. And it is very exciting to see the response to this! If the sheer number of submissions says anything about our potential, this is going to be fun!!
On the flip side, I’d forgotten the frustration at the volume of submissions that end up in the virtual trash can.
I’m not talking about stories that I write a personal response to, regardless of the fact that I’m actually rejecting them. Those are all works that are well written, but maybe aren’t a good fit for us: they don’t quite have the level of romance we’re looking for, maybe cross a line we’re not ready to cross, if at all, or seem a little too clichéd or overdone.
There are also the rejections that are pretty good stories, maybe even a good fit for us, but that require far too much in the way of editing. I try to be very encouraging of these and make suggestions as to courses or coaches or writers’ groups. Many, I’ve even offered to revisit in time if the writer has worked to improve the structure.
These are all interesting in their own right; I always learn something and am grateful for the trust and the interest the writer shows in the Romantic Shorts idea.
But it’s the submissions by people who blatantly and obviously completely disregard the Submission Guidelines that begin to take advantage of my time and good manners. For shits and giggles, here’s some examples of what I’ve found in my inbox this month:
- 5 separate submissions from four different people, each with an appropriate file type, none of which are written in English. Five seconds on the site should explain why this is a problem;
- 1 manuscript that is one, 22-page long sentence. No punctuation. No capitals. No spacing;
- 4 – I hesitate to call them stories – that have no romantic component to them at all. In fact, it is likely that they would be rejected as scripts for pornographic films;
- 2 that I think have left me somewhat scarred for life;
- and 1 that was so remarkably close to Pride and Prejudice, including a bad attempt at the period’s syntax, that I read the whole thing hoping that maybe they’d surprise me with a different ending.
Suffice it to say that, overall, I am privileged to be able to work with so many gifted writers, despite the less-than-stellar interruptions. I had one day last week where I was about to give up when I tripped over a submission by one of our own Romantic Shorts writers. A half hour later, faith restored by a truly wonderful story, it was back to business.
If you don’t understand, ask.
And before you hit the SUBMIT button, maybe get a friend – one who can be honest with you – to give your story the once over.