Saturday, November 7, 2009

Attachments, thanks, and stats.

Based on some feedback to our guidelines, we're considering accepting attachments. (We aren't yet but we're thinking about it.) The most likely ones for us are (1) .txt (2) .pdf (most likely to render the same for you and us) and (3) .odc (our internal document format). We have had problems with both .doc and .rtf rendering sanely across operating systems and client software in the past and aren't that interesting in putting our precious pennies into the latest and greatest commercial editors which use .doc as a native format.
We know you've spent a lot of time agonizing over a good manuscript format (may we recommend William Shunn's) and so have we. So if you have a good argument as to why we should accept attachments, go ahead and post it here as a comment or send it our way at editors at bullspec dot com.

Thanks again for the feedback and continued submissions. We're honored beyond words that so many excellent stories from so many excellent writers are coming our way. When we launched on Friday morning, there was a frightening moment of question: what if nobody ever submits? Thanks for coming through, well beyond our expectations.


Friday 11/6:
  • 2 submissions received
Saturday 11/7:
  • 20 submissions received
  • 15 acknowledgements written
  • 1 rejection sent
So we owe a few more stories a once over human acknowledgement. But that will have to wait for day 3.


  1. Aaaaand I think I may have answered my own question, at least somewhat, by having forgotten half the time to -not- quote the entire message in an acknowledgement reply. I may change the guidelines to requiring a .txt attachment but for now I'll see what attempting to be more mindful can do for me.

  2. RTF is a fairly common format and doesn't require a MS license.
    Open Office (free and runs in windows and on Macs) can save files as RTFs.


  3. I am certainly familiar with Open Office -- it's my main editor; I've just had continuous problems opening and saving RTF documents received from various sources: headers flying off the page margin, strange formatting quirks, etc.

    Thanks everyone (several e-mails) for the feedback. We want to be creatures of our communities and you've given us plenty of food for thought.

  4. I would prefer to be able to send in RTF or DOC format, as the converting everything to legible text format is a bit of a process.

    That being said, this isn't the only market that asks for text in the body of the email. Pseudopod, for instance, also does it.

    It won't keep me from submitting, but it's just another thing to slow down the process.

  5. And I'm glad the word is getting out, from 2 submissions to 20. I'm really happy to see a new pro market open up. The quick and personal responses are a rare thing for a pro-paying market. Keep it up!

  6. Thanks for another reply in favor of RTF. Already I have been reading every submission, even in DOC, and now plan to formally accept RTF in future. We won't be announcing this change just yet, as we have about as high a frequency of submissions as we can currently handle.

    If we can't keep up the personal responses we'll have failed in what we set out to do: enjoy the community of imaginative authors and readers. The exchange of ideas and satisfaction of spreading them is about all we expect to "get" from the site, after all!

  7. "If we can't keep up the personal responses we'll have failed in what we set out to do"

    I think that might be a bit too harsh on yourself--if you provide good fiction but the volume of submissions becomes too high to provide detailed feedback, I'd still mark that as a success.

    That being said, as a writer I'm more inclined to submit to markets that are not apparently run by robots. If a story has to be rejected, it is invaluable and rare to know why it was rejected.

    Some markets not only reject with a form letter, but don't bother putting the author name, story name, or even the editor name in it--to me that's crossed the boundary from busy into lazy.

    Anyway, keep it up. :)

  8. We have other ideas on how to limit the incoming submissions and grow the team rather than limit the personal approach.

    As far as rejections, I'm trying to walk the line between explaining why and not being harsh on work which simply isn't acceptable. For these I'll probably respond without the specifics, but offer to give our (honest, potentially harsh) explanation upon request.

    Thanks for your interest! We have some great announcements in the pipeline for 100% donation reprints and look forward to proving to the community what we can do.

  9. "For these I'll probably respond without the specifics, but offer to give our (honest, potentially harsh) explanation upon request."

    That's not a bad idea, though I will be one to always request the honest explanation. :)