Snail Mail Submission Angst


TypewriterI just got a snail mail submission together for one of my short stories that’s making the rounds. I’m sending it off to one of the big science fiction markets, a holdout that still doesn’t accept electronic submissions.

It’s amazing how much more complicated snail mail is. The cover letter feels far more formal. It must be printed on something that resembles letterhead. The “fast draft” print that I use to edit stories won’t do. It’s “best print” mode all the way, which both uses more ink and took half a century to finish printing the story. It does look rather spiffy though.

Then there are the envelopes that need to be filled out, addresses double and then triple checked, and appropriate postage attached. My morning will begin with a wait at the post office. All around it looks like this submission will take about an hour… and it won’t be free. There is the postage, paper, and ink costs of actually sending the physical story out.

This isn’t a gripe though. It made my story feel much more solid. It’s real now, sitting out there on the dining room table awaiting its fateful trip to the post office. That baby is going places!

I also wonder if this market has chosen to not accept electronic submissions, in part at least, to cut back on their slush pile. They’re okay with PayPal for a magazine subscription, so they can obviously handle e-mail. But how many of us have become so lazy that we’re no longer willing to print out and mail short story submissions, even for a top-tier market? I definitely debated about sending this story to this market, wondering if instead I should move directly on to a less noteworthy one that does accept electronic submissions.

That’s amazing, especially when I think of how things worked for Roald Dahl or Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. or Ray Bradbury. Those guys had to actually type out a clean draft of a story before submitting it. That would have taken the better part of a day. How did paper, especially squeaky clean word-processed paper, ever become such a pain? Have I really become that addicted to instant submission gratification?

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