It’s time once again for another open submissions period for Barking Rain Press —and that means bracing for a new wave of submissions process headaches, mostly due to a few people who are unable or unwilling to read instructions—or who enjoy complaining about having to follow instructions. They want to submit what they want to submit, in the way that they want to submit it. Guidelines be damned!
On the one hand, I realize that every publisher seems to have their own list of manuscript submission requirements, and that can make sending out manuscripts a time-consuming process for the author. That said, the reason publishers post submission requirements is to streamline the process for reviewing manuscripts in a timely fashion. Uniformity in submissions is essential, since you want to compare apples to apples, especially when you have a lot of submissions to go through.
One of the biggest complaints we receive is that Barking Rain Press only accepts electronic submissions. Even though we clearly state that we don’t accept paper submissions, we receive them on a regular basis — and they are all refused and returned to the sender (we even made a custom rubber stamp for this purpose).
For those authors who are unhappy about electronic submissions, all I can say is, Barking Rain Press relies heavily on technology to produce our books and ebooks. If you can’t submit three .rtf, .doc, .txt or .pdf documents to us using a web-based form (or as email attachments), then there is no way you would be able to work with us to publish your manuscript. Everyone at Barking Rain Press works remotely, using tools such as Skype, Dropbox, forum boards, etc. Editors work with authors using tracked changes. Everything we do is virtual—from the way we sign contracts (electronically), to issuing royalty payments (via PayPal), to reviewing pre-press galleys (ProofHQ).
We live and work in the 21st Century, and technology is not going away. If you don’t want to follow our submissions guidelines, you don’t have to submit to us. There are lots of other publishers out there, after all. But please don’t send us emails asking if you can be excused from following our requirements, exempted from sending us a marketing plan, permitted to submit via snail mail, etc. The process is working for us and for all of the authors whose manuscripts have been accepted for publication—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The bottom line is, while we are always open to tweaking our system to reduce hiccups, glitches and pain points, we are not going back to paper submissions. We are not going to give up on marketing plans. We are not going to back away from cutting edge technologies that make it easier to work on manuscripts. If our processes don’t sound appealing to you, then please explore other publishing options for your manuscript.