Submissions: a how-to guide

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December 1, 2007 by Tracey S. Rosenberg

Identify the submission to make. (If you’re looking for competitions, I highly recommend Sally Quilford’s competition calendar.)

Look through list of ‘finished’ pieces, i.e. those which can be read without massive shudders or cries of ‘God, that’s awful’. Double-check to see whether an earlier contest you entered has any explicit ban on simultaneous submissions. Ponder whether to do it anyway, as nothing ever wins. Reject such defeatism by a narrow margin.

Print out the competition’s entry form. At intervals, yell ‘NO!’ to Thundercat, who is perched on the computer monitor in preparation for launching onto the printer’s paper tray, because clearly all that squeaking and scurrying can only mean one thing: a colony of mice inside the printer must be vanquished!!!!!1!1!1!1

Print out the submission(s). Peer at every page to see whether the crummy ink-jet printer has smeared any of the words. Reprint any pages so afflicted. Complain to Rhys about the printer. Wonder if multiple submissions should be printed in different fonts to fool judging panel into thinking they are not from the same person. Smack self for being a doofus.

Play air drums during one of the verse-to-chorus bridges of the Scorpions’ ‘Winds of Change’.

Fill out the entry form. Try not to a) worry about data protection issues or b) misspell own name.

Write the check. Double-check who it’s being made out to. Firmly resist the urge to calculate how much money has been spent on contest entries and postage, in comparison to how much money has been earned through writing.

Find a previously-used envelope that doesn’t need too many stickers to make it reusable, and doesn’t have the flap completely ripped away. Find blank white stickers and place them over the old address/stamps/bar codes. Find address on entry form. Remove Thundercat, who in the last 0.14 seconds gave up on the printer, ran through into the other room, jumped up onto the table and sat on the envelope. Write address on envelope. Try not to smear the ink. Wonder if placing clear tape over the address (to prevent smudging in the rain) will mark one as eccentric. Do it anyway. Tape up the envelope, hoping that the office won’t need to use multiple implements to open it.

Take envelope to post office. Wonder if post office people conduct rituals of mockery in relation to the quantity of envelopes going out with ‘contest’ in the title line.

Buy postage.

Wave farewell to entry as it is plonked into the mail sack. (Back in the days of self-addressed stamped envelopes, you would be certain of seeing it again soon! These days, it is all recycled.)

Update submission database.

Bookmark competition web page; check incessantly.


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Photo credit: Rahima Subhan

Tiny bio

I live, work, and write in Edinburgh. I travel to other places as much as I can. To contact me, email writingmostly at gmail dot com.


CURRENTLY READING: The Ginseng Hunter by Jeff Talarigo.

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