The good news first. Our new storefront is up and functioning wonderfully. Everyone at NRP has worked hard to make the change-over and to make sure all our customers still have access to the books and short stories they purchased through the old storefront. If you haven’t received and e-mail from us saying either a new account has been created or giving you a coupon code for downloads, please let us know at info-at-nakedreader-dot-com (you know what to do to make it into a real email addy).
The second bit of good news is that we have three new titles up and more on the way. Firefight by Thomas A. Easton is a digital reprint of the novel, the first time it has been available as an e-book. Part techno-thriller and part sci-fi, it’s a fun and thought-provoking tale of what can happen if those who are worried about what humans are doing to our planet go too far.
Family Obligations by Stephen Simmons takes us on a quest for vengeance that isn’t quite what it seems. Bump in the Night is a digital reprint of a short story I wrote that appeared in the anthology Better Off Undead. These titles are now available through our storefront and will soon be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-stores.
As I said, we have other titles coming out this month as well. Included is Quicksand by C. S. Laurel, the second book in the Quick Mysteries series. The first book, B. Quick, is currently free not only on our site, but also on Amazon, iTunes and most other major outlets. Other titles will include, among others, Cat’s Paw by Robert A. Hoyt and For Conspicuous Valor by Darwin A. Garrison. So keep checking back for announcements about these titles and others.
Now for those few thoughts I threatened — er, promised. Not too long ago I blogged about the need for authors to follow submission guidelines when sending something to anyone, be that person an agent or a publisher. I know we’ve all heard the horror stories about some of the “interesting” submissions editors and agents received when all submissions had to be mailed in. Back then, it wasn’t all that uncommon for submissions to come in brightly colored envelopes with things like “attacked by aliens”, “dictated by my dead grandmother” written on them. The pages themselves might be bright pink if the submission was a romance novel or blood red, even black, if horror. Fonts, omg, fonts were in all different shapes and sizes. Glitter might fall out of the envelope as the editor pulled out the perfumed pages. Is it any wonder most publishers and agents have gone to electronic submissions?
Yes, it is environmentally better to go the electronic route. It’s also easier and cheaper for all involved. But — and this is a big BUT — that doesn’t mean guidelines are only to be looked at and then the author gets to decide if he is going to follow them.
Look, guidelines are there for a reason. They are to make it as easy as possible for the agent or editor to read the story. You want them to focus on content, not on format. That won’t happen if you submit your novel or short story in something that isn’t what they ask for. Their first impression is not going to be a good one. I promise you, the first thought they’ll have isn’t “Wow, what a great idea!” It’s going to be, “Well, here’s another one who couldn’t be bothered to read the guidelines.” Is that the way you want to start out what you hope will be a profitable relationship for all involved?
A couple of commenters on the original post pointed out that they don’t write in standard manuscript format. They change it after they finish and are ready to submit. I have absolutely no problem with that because, depending on what machine I’m using at the time — I write on a laptop, a desktop, a netbook and a tablet depending on the when and where I’m writing — neither do I. But, like those commenters, I make sure I have the piece formatted in the way requested by the publisher before sending it off.
Someone else made the point that we, as agents and editors, ought to be glad when we get a submission by an author who uses different formats because it means they are more apt to find mistakes before sending it off and, by inference, that we’d see more mistakes upon first reading. Yep, you guessed it, my head sort of exploded then. The first time an editor or agent reads a submission, it isn’t to see how many mistakes are present. We aren’t editing then. We are interested solely in determining if the submission is something we want to represent or publish. Nothing more and nothing less. When we see a submission where it is obvious the author didn’t try to meet our guidelines, we have to ask if this is an author we want to work with. If they can’t be concerned to do as we ask before we have a working relationship, does this bode well for what will happen after there is such a relationship? Will it be worth the potential headaches?
So, do yourself a favor. Read the guidelines. Do your best to follow them. Believe it or not, there are some agents and editors — not us — who use software that will toss out your submissions if you don’t follow those guidelines. That includes making sure you include the appropriate information in the subject line of your email and the information you include in the body of the email. Don’t start off with one or two strikes against you before the editor has read the first page of your submission.