amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Escargot Au Gratin

Today at Exile Editions 30th anniversary, an audience member asked publisher Michael Callaghan why Exile didn’t accept e-mail submissions. Callaghan replied that a) they already receive 600 to 700 submissions (this was for either Exile Quarterly or Exile Editions, not sure) through the mail and so if they opened it up to e-mail submissions they would be overwhelmed and b) if he had to print all these submissions to send to the editors for review, it would be time-consuming.

Barry Callaghan, founder and editor of Exile, said that any serious writer would submit via mail.

Speaking, I know, from my very limited experience as a publisher of poetry…Bywords receives an average of 1200 poetry submissions a year, I have to disagree with both Callaghans. In fact, I believe that anyone serious about publishing in the 21st century (and not in the Stone Age) should use every tool available to make the publishing process more efficient, less time-consuming and less costly for all parties concerned.

Through our automated system, Bywords acknowledges the poems within 48 hours of receiving them and we give the writer an answer yea or neah within three months of submission. Our automated poetry management system ensures that poets can do things like submit to us and others simultaneously. They have the ability to automatically revoke poems that get accepted elsewhere and can track which poems they’ve sent us easily.

The notion of printing out every e-mail submission one receives is silly. Doesn't Exile photocopy and mail out copies to readers? That is very time consuming. It is easy to have editors access the manuscripts on line thru user id and password systems and then the editors can choose to either read the document on line or to print it if they like.

I won’t deal with publishers who are snail mail only because if they have a snail’s mentality about receiving manuscripts, chances are they will act at a snail’s pace. This has been proven to me numerous times over when I’ve sent stuff to snail publishing houses. You know what you do with escargot? You cook it, and cover it in cheese and garlic, but you don’t send it poetry or novels.


Anonymous said...

Amanda, I applaud you, not only for your witty argument, but also for bringing Bywords out of the dark ages of mailbags and boxes overflowing with dog-eared envelopes. Way back in another life, when I was (part of a team)editing Bywords as a paper mag, managing submissions was a daunting challenge. I continue to be impressed by the professionalism of your on-line Bywords presence, not to mention its quality of work, aesthetic attractiveness, and quarterly paper issues. You manage to think of everything, and you have done much to promote poetry in and beyond the Ottawa region. Thank you!

Amanda Earl said...

Thanks! The community inspires us to try our best, and the original Bywords team too :)

Stephen Rowntree said...

If it weren't for you, Amanada, and the rest of the Byword team I would still be saving my stuff on hard drive wondering why I haven't been noticed. Thanks for your continued support, kindness and big heart; and, of course, your own wordsmithery.

Stephen Rowntree

Anonymous said...

and the escargot pun. Thanks for that smile. :)