Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why Do We Still Have to Print Out 400 Fricken Pages of Novel Manuscript?

Or, for that matter, query letters and proposals? Or non-fiction, even?

Here we are, in a time when "green" concerns are bigger than ever, and yet we still have to submit paper queries, proposals, manuscripts, etc.

Is this a refusal to meet the reality of the E-Age?

I was delighted that ACFW and other writing organizations moved their contest to paperless submissions. We've been doing that at DEP magazines since, well, since they started. And now we have big names behind paperless magazines: Baen's, Orson Scott Card.

So, how many of you have agents and editors who still want paper?

And how backward is that?

Save trees, people. Go paperless.

With that said, I segue to The Rejector's 6/26 post and this comment:

Print magazines seemed to have discovered the internet about yesterday. Several editor-in-chiefs came to speak to us and showed us their websites, which were relatively new (1-2 years) and largely just the content of their magazine with some video clips, and man were they nervous about the fact that all of these other magazines seemed to be doing a better job than them. And yes, a successful magazine website has a major effect on the magazine's health, it turns out. How are these people genuinely surprised by that?

I was pretty much the lone voice at DKA saying, "Um, why do we need print copies? Can we get rid of the print copies? Why are we spending moolah on print copies?"

Even now we're brainstorming for the future--how to advance with limited resources, acquire more resources, think out of the magazine box, expand vision, etc, and there I am saying, "Um, let's nix the print issues."

Yes, I'm a naggy gadfly, sometimes. But despite the "authors get the warm fuzzies from print copies" mantra, I think we need to think FUTURE, and SAVE BUDGET EXPENSES, and focus on being an electronic entity of increasing quality. Paper is lovely. I love beautiful paper and fonts and gorgeous cover art. But magazies are, by nature, much more disposable than books. I'll toss out an old periodical--reluctantly since I have an aversion to getting rid of any written material, bibliophile that I am--but putting a quality bound book in the trash is....oh, my gosh, the horror! (I can do it if the book is damaged or so skanky reading it makes me sick.)

But magazines, yeah. Go electronic.

And anything that requires reams of paper and expensive ink cartridges: Rethink the waste, peops.

Note: The Rejecter in that post offers her theory about the Simon & Schuster brouhaha of a couple months back, and I think she bulls-eyed it.


Josh said...

I try to find agents who accept e-queries and such, but often enough, a lot still prefer the paper route. Some just want 10 sample pages, but others want fifty or more. I suppose the biggest disadvantages to email queries and all are things like computer viruses, spam, and the ease of which these things can be sent (and so a huge rise in the number of them they receive and must process). Maybe not the best reasons, but valid.

It could also link up with some people's resistance to eBooks, and that warm-fuzzy feeling of having a real, paper book or magazine in one's hand, rather than having to stare at a screen. Still waiting for that portable, affordable, universal e-reader to become a reality.

Rebecca said...

Call me supremely lazy, but I do the same. If publishers/agents won't take an e-query, they're lower on my list. Yet, weirdness of weirdness, in a recent request for a full, the agent asked for *both* ms word document and hard copy.

(as for e-books, I like the fuzzy feeling too. And my eyes go buggy staring at a screen)

Anonymous said...

I've ranted on this. I almost refuse to waste the time and paper and postage on snail mail submitting.

I have bitched to one magazine who replied that when they went to email, they got 10 times the submissions, but no more quality pieces. So a lot of them seem to see snail mail as a way of separating the wheat from the chaff.

But I say, find a better way, or find other writers.