Sometimes I think the submissions guidelines for a few of the print and e-zine publications out there sound like a BD/SM indoctrination handbook. Below is my interpretation of some “guidelines” I’ve run across in the last few years.
1. We ONLY accept submission during our reading period. The reading period begins at 3:26 am and ends at 5:08 am on February 12th, or until the coffee runs out. Or the booze kicks in. Flip a coin. Good luck.
2. Every FIFTH word must be printed upside down. If you submit one right-side up, we’ll reject it. If you lose count, we’ll reject it. No explanation, no exceptions. If you cannot follow directions, you don’t deserve to be published.
3. Change all curly quotation marks to “normal” quotations before submitting. Failure to do so will result in a rejection. No exceptions. In fact, you will be black-listed for life. No joke. Don’t play with us.
4. If you haven’t heard back in 3 months, wait another three months. Any attempt to contact us will result in some seriously UNREAL vandalism to your personal property AND immediate rejection. If we have to spend too long finding your submission to purge it from our backlog, we will be back to finish the carnage we started. No exception. God help you.
5. We accept fiction of 2000 words. Not “up to” 2000 words, but 2000 words exactly. Not 2001 words, either. 2000. We will not tell you if that includes your name, the title, punctuation, etc. You’d better pray that what you submit is exactly 2000 words.
6. In fact, we’re so mad just thinking about you messing all of this up, we’re not posting any more guidelines.
Of course, you find yourself oddly thankful for this brutal instruction when the next dozen or so publications you pursue are either “closed to submissions indefinitely” or have been reduced to a “404” page error in the black hole of cyberspace.
With that said, best of luck to the struggling writers out there who seek traditional publishing venues for their work. The realities of the business can make short work of literary aspirations, but only if you let it.
Disclaimer: Attention, Overly Sensitive People!! This is SATIRE. It is based solely on personal opinion. It was conceived one dreary morning after reading the submission guidelines for an obscure little print magazine. This does not apply to the honorable publishers and editors out there. I understand the struggles you go through. It’s that miniscule faction that beg for the tetanus-laced edge of a writer’s wit. As you know, writers are an odd bunch.