Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Writers of the Future Contest now accepts electronic submissions!

Okay, so many of you probably already knew that, but I haven't submitted anything to Writers of the Future since February.  I think it's excellent when a market opens up to electronic submissions since it saves on time, postage, and trees.  It's so much easier for me to hit "send" at any time of day than cart a wiggly toddler to the post office.  Asimov's also recently (sometime between March 2008 and July 2010, anyway) started accepting electronic submissions too.  Now if Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction would jump onboard, I'd almost never have to visit a post office!

The only thing I didn't like about the Writers of the Future electronic process is that they made Age, Gender, and Occupation required fields.  Gender I can see--they need to know whether to put Mr. or Ms. on their responses--but what does it matter how old you are or what you do?  The occupation options were pretty general and limited too:  executive/managerial, clerical, blue collar, sales, artist/writer, student, educator, military, housewife, and other.  I opted for artist/writer over housewife because I hate the term housewife.  And because I am a writer and hope to make a living wage off of it someday.  "Housewife" makes me feel like I should pull my hair back with a scarf, keep my house spotless (with little or no help from my husband), happily have dinner on the table at 6:30 every night, and pop out babies left and right.  Chasing after a kid is incredibly freaking hard work (I always feel like I'm running from behind) and I strongly believe that maintenance of a household is a joint (or group) responsibility.  And frankly, the only reason that I stayed home with our son when my husband went back to work is because he made more.  Had our salaries been reversed, I probably would still be in the rat race and he would be staying home with our son.  How come they didn't have an option that read "househusband?"

Anyway, good for them for joining the electronic age, but I think their entry form needs some tweaking.


Sela said...

One of my friends calls herself a domestic engineer. I like that much better, don't you?
Anyway, good luck with your submission. At least they have electronic submission, right?

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm THRILLED that I can do it online now. I'll probably submit to them more frequently now, since lately I've been putting off submitting to markets that require a trip to the post office. That section of the submission form just opened up a floodgate of sorts. I actually sent them an email with my feedback on the process. Perhaps if they know I had such a virulent reaction they can use that to avoid the same reaction in others? In any case, at least they now know.

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

I do like domestic engineer though. It seems to fit the job pretty thoroughly.

Ben Godby said...

Ugh, postage... tell me about it. And I live in Canada, mind you. Yesterday I paid eight bucks to send something to F&SF. Can't wait to get that pre-fabricated little slip with a stamp on it in return.


David Barron said...

For some reason the electronic submission page doesn't load for me. Ah, well.

I always put 'executive/managerial' whenever asked for a generic job category (I'm my own boss! Whee!). But it's been a long time since I've heard the word 'housewife' bandied about without irony. I mean, c'mon, this is Science Fiction, can we at least speculate the future that was already now 20 years ago?

Sue Lewczyk said...

At your wedding I distinctly remember you marrying a man not a house!!

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

Exactly!! Thanks everyone. It's good to know I'm not alone in this mode of thought.

Brian said...

As an engineer, it's kind of annoying to see that term bandied about all the time and degraded as it is. Now, if you were repairing plumbing, patching drywall and fixing rotted soffits, that's another thing, but really, that's general contracting.

As to WOTF taking e's, don't really care. I understand why most don't take electronics. It's to prevent everyone and their dog as co-writer from sending things in. F&SF is pretty slow, as is Analog, but Stanley Schmidt reads the slush pile at Analog, and with electronics-there's the whole virus issue, format issue, archive, maintenance by IT (or not) and everything else. I mean, they're nice, taking electronics, but I totally understand why some don't. I doubt I'd take electronics if I had a market.

They should add a category "unemployed." And as to housewife, not to Mormon it up (which makes me sound biased, and I'm not, my co-worker--former--is a Mormon and besides the main group foolishly signing on to be the biggest group in a legislative effort and thus making themselves the biggest target for protests--I've no complaints and really that's head shaking, but. They should really have "stay-at-home parent," it's gender neutral and doesn't sound like something from The Stepford Wives.

David Barron said...

My rule is, if you're in the Science Fiction genre, you've gotta at least use e-mail for submissions, if not a properly organized submission system.

I may be biased, because I'm currently in such geographical circumstances as to preclude regular snail mail submission. Nonetheless, my experience with (non-fiction) submissions has developed this general rule:

The easier it is to submit, the more diverse the submissions. The more diverse the submissions, the more choice the editors have. The more choices the editor have, the better the end result.

Brian said...

I'm funny. The people who may pay me get to tell me how to submit.

I've seen John Scalzi get postal over postage, and it's like--(a) why do you do it, then? You're publishing novels, publish the short stories as a collection when you're ready, and (b) quit whining. Oh, and (c) if you think electronic submissions are so grand, start a magazine that accepts them and become an editor. Put your money and time where your opinion is.

I just don't get it. If you don't want to 'work' for these guys, take your story elsewhere, but what's the big deal about it? Why all the wailing? It's a stamp! You don't like Toyota, nobody posts trying to get Toyota to be more like Ford, do they? No, they just buy a Ford. Yet with a writing market the writers somehow think they're in charge. News: You're not.

And while submissions may be more diverse, (a) not enough staff so the slushpile will grow without limit and responses will eventually take years and (b) no, quality is not that affected, or at least in their opinion it is not, and preventing (a) from happening is enough reason for them to accept the current diversity of submissions. Let's be real. F&SF rejects well over 99.5% of submissions as not being right for the market. They fill their issues to their satisfaction and their subscribers. There's no need for them to seek more diversity when they and their readers are happy. It's called a successful business model.

Funny thing is, Gordon is a nice guy (read the F&SF forums, they're stale but still valid) and most of the people grouching about paper are the pros... The ones who will get printed and paid. The rest of the poor sods tilting at the windmills are happy to pay postage, but the folks making a living as a novelist? Allah forfend they buy a stamp. I mean, you don't even have to lick them anymore.

Forcing an author to spend 45 cents on a stamp (domestic, I admit) is a barricade to entry so only the more determined apply. Why doesn't anyone understand this? I know it's not 'futuristic' but that's not a variable they're considering. If it were a pure fantasy market would we then expect to submit on parchment of unicorn-skin paper, seal it with wax and have it hand-carried there, or by The Hippogriff Express? No. It just ain't the same thing, folks. This is a magazine, most magazines take paper.

If this were say, Microsoft, Google, Norton, Apple, McAfee or Grisoft and they didn't take email for fear of viruses, that would be another thing entirely. Then I could see what all the griping is about.

You are basically asking a writing market for a job. When was the last time you went to a job interview wearing flip-flops and duct tape or Chiquita banana stickers on your chest and a bandanna around your special place vs. what you thought they would expect of a job seeker? When they want you to fill out an application do you refuse? It's the same thing here. Take it or leave it, or artificially restrict your work to only some markets on principle. Frankly, if you folks won't send them a letter, it makes my chances that much better, because my story doesn't have to compete with your story.

At which point I realize I should shut up. Boycott away! Yeah, my brother! Fight the power!

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

Okay people, that's enough. If this turns into a flame war I'm turning the comments off.

I'm simply happy that I can now submit at 11:30pm after the rest of my household has gone to bed rather than convincing my toddler that a trip to the post office would be more fun than a trip to the park. Not that I haven't done it or won't again, but it's easier for me not to. And since I'm something of an environmentalist, I like not having to kill as many trees, too.

On another note, I did hear back from them regarding my feedback. They collect age and occupation for demographic and marketing purposes, to find the best target audience when they market the books. I'd still like it not to be mandatory, but the reasoning makes sense. Also, they said this in regard to the housewife issue:
"I'll pass on your comment on the "housewife" category as I think you are right. I can think of several winners right off bat that are stay-home dads."