Proponents of online submissions say the process saves money on postage and paper and cuts down on response times, since it curtails much of the administrative work involved in logging, assigning, and distributing manuscripts once they are received by a magazine. It also reduces the chances of submissions being lost. Online submission systems usually notify writers once their work is received. After setting up accounts, writers can also log on to the journal's Web site, determine whether their work is still under consideration, or review what they have previously submitted.
My romance-writing pals tell me that more and more book-publishers and agents are accepting e-mailed queries, synopses, and even sample chapters. But don't editors get as tired of reading from computer screens as we writers do?
Those editors reluctant to convert to online submissions have expressed concerns about economics and eyestrain. Printing out thousands of electronic submissions is not feasible for most journals, and the alternative—asking readers to stare at screens—does not appeal to editors like Stephanie G'Schwind, whose staff members at the Colorado Review consistently tell her "they don't want to read submissions on-screen." Michael Czyzniejewski, the editor of Mid-American Review, agrees. "Sitting at a computer terminal for so many more hours than I already do seems like a complete nightmare."
I'm concerned that an over-eager writer who submits via e-mail might send work that isn't quite agent- or editor-ready. One advantage of the old system of printing pages and reading them one last time before carefully sliding them into an envelope, double- and triple-checking the agent's or editor's address, and then carting the package to the post office is that it affords authors an opportunity at every step to second-guess themselves--which is, in some cases, a very good thing. But on the whole, e-mail submissions look like a pretty good deal for writers.
If you're a submitting or published writer, have you ever sent an e-mail submission? Would you like to?
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