Monday, March 14, 2011


No one likes submitting.  To start with, every publisher/theatre/producer/agent requires their own formula of forms and rhetoric.  "We require a one page synopsis, a 10 page dialog sample and an author bio."  "We require a one paragraph synopsis, a 15 page dialog sample and a current resume".  "Please send the entire script without any personal information, a one page synopsis, a complete character breakdown including ages and races of characters, and a urine sample."


Then you have form issues.  Everyone wants either a hard copy or an electronic file so you need PDFs of everything and saved in every possible way (with and without personal information on the title page, for instance)  "We only accept electronic submissions."  "We do not under any circumstances accept electronic submissions.  If you email us your work, it will be deleted."

Let's get to the real meat of the problem, though (tofu for those of us who are vegetarians/vegans).  Submissions take up time.  They take energy.  They're boring.  And most of time, you're going to get rejected.  It's no fun paying $4 to send off a play knowing there's a one in six hundred chance it will be picked to be produced.  It sucks filling out forms and writing cover letters and it's grueling agony trying to encapsulate the story it took you six months to write into a one page synopsis.  It's even worse if you've had a reading of your play/screenplay or a critique of your short story/novel and it went extremely well and still you can't find a producer/publisher.  Submitting sucks.

But you have to do it.  You have to commit to doing it frequently.  As an author, you are your own advocate and most times, you are your ONLY advocate.  No matter how much someone or some group may love your work, they're hardly ever, if at all, going to push the work out into the world for you.  You have to think of submissions like being in labor, you push and push and push and it hurts like hell but, assuming all goes well, it's worth it.

2011 is my year of submissions.  I did 80 last year for five short stories and two plays.  This year, my original goal was 100.  I'm at 60 as of today so I've revised my goal to 200.  This year, so far, I'm submitting two full length plays, six short plays (with more in the plans to be written), one screenplay and five short stories (with more in the works).  If I'm as productive this year as last, I should be able to add a novel and another play to the list as well.

Anyone out there have any thoughts on submissions or goals or stories?


  1. I agree with your general description of the process of submission. You'll note that the word is sub- mission, and it implies kneeling before some almighty being, and it can certainly feel that way. But, since there are so many of 'us' and so few of 'them'...

  2. Excellent comment Drachma. I often feel like a masochist when I send submissions. Just give me more pain. :)

  3. That's a lot of submissions! The best of luck to you.

    While you're waiting, come look at the award I gave you :)

  4. You make the distinction between electronic and snail mail submissions. I think there is also a distinction between short fiction and other forms like novels, screenplays, plays, etc. Submitting in the science fiction & fantasy genre has gotten easier over the last year since all but one of the major pro markets now accept electronic submissions for short fiction. The time I spent on submissions is probably 1/10th what it used to be and the record-keeping is much easier, too. But I empathize with your pain. Of course, the best part of submitting is once the piece is actually "out" in the mail. As I've written about before, we writers live for the mail!

  5. Just read and loved the post. I am a chronic email checker for the same reason. I don't have to do too many snail mail submissions but the ones I do take forever.

  6. Wow I like your goal! I wish I had the motivation to submit even one.



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