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I have ranted about this before and I have no doubt I will again. Blame New Year re-organisation. I started 2014 in a pretty good place. I’m superstitious when it comesto New Year’s Eve and January 1st believing that it somehow affects the entirety of the following year so I normally try to do all the things I would like to be doing for the next twelve months. This year was a great one, a lovely dinner with good friends during which we drank a lot of fizz (with stars in it!), ate homemade profiteroles and planned our summer holiday, followed by several games of roulette. I started off badly and then won big, by 2am I wanted to lose so I could go to bed and bet everything on black, twice, winning both times, in fact we did stop then because I’d broken the bank. I am taking this to mean that the year will be a slow build but I should take a few risks to reap the benefits. Before sleep I wrote a page of a short story and then read a page of A Kind of Loving. This month I plan on finishing my short story collection (almost there) and ploughing on with my Yorkshire-set novel.
I have also decided to submit my writing everywhere possible (journals, competitions, events) in the hope that spread betting will eventually pay off. To do this I realise I have to be more organised. Last year I had a very hit and miss approach to submitting work. I’d often send things off on a last minute whim and fail to make a note of doing so, or I’d scribble it down on a post it note and forget about it, sometimes even a line in an obscure submissions folder. I’ve spent a few hours now going through my frankly anarchic submissions files and I can tell you the process is not helped the failure of many organisers to even acknowledge a submission. The number of deadlines passed, journals published, awards presented, all missed by me (and presumably most of the other people who sent work in) is astonishing. Here’s my rant – FFS IF PEOPLE SEND YOU THEIR WORK AT LEAST HAVE THE MANNERS TO A) ACKNOWLEDGE IT AND B) TELL THEM WHO GOT THROUGH!!!!!
Obviously a huge amount of comps, journals and events organisers are just as polite as they should be, some even more so, some even offer feedback or copies of anthologies to their hopefuls but many do not. I salute you if you are one of the good guys. You were probably a struggling author once, deciding if you could have a tin of beans for tea or save the money for that big break competition. Many others out there seem to just want to take your money and pull the shutters down until next year when they send you an email asking for more money. If you can send a round robin email asking for more money you can send one on the publication of the long list. I don’t really get it – don’t you want people to know who has been successful? Why not? What are you hiding for? Some of the organisations I’m talking about here are big ones with equally big entrance fees. Sort it out. Don’t be so fucking rude.
Last night I went to the Rattle Tales selection meeting for our first show of 2014. We had a huge number of submission for this show, many more than ever before. It was quite a stretch to read them all but everybody did, notes were taken and decisions were made. When anyone submits to Rattle Tales, they get an acknowledgement right away, when the stories have been selected everyone who submitted gets an email telling them if they have been successful or not and then (if they want it) we give them feedback. It’s just good manners really. Lots of people do it. The first two emails are standard so don’t take that much effort to send. I’m not taking the credit for this, I’m not the one whose job it is to send them out, but I don’t think it takes hours to do a quick reply.
Think about it – what sort of reputation do you want amongst potential submitters?
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