Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Erotica angst

First off, some erotica submission advice based on things that make me bonkers, which might be moot, cause at the moment I am not feeling like ever editing any kind of book again and have doubts about whether anyone would want me to. I am longing to write but lately have no time. Or I have time but it's not the right time, ever. But anyway, the more frustrating/annoying things I see, the more I want to share. These are not absolute rules for everyone everywhere, just some pet peeves that you should avoid if you want me to include your work.

They all really boil down to one thing: follow the instructions. I spend time crafting long, detailed calls for submissions, and I know many people don't read them. That's clear when, say, it says "double spaced" and they send single spaced. Yes, it matters. I don't reject something off the bat for that, but as it gets down to crunch time, I might.

Other irksome things:

No title or byline in the story

No bio included (this is so important so I don't have to chase people down at the last minute)

Sent to a different email address than specified (yes, I have many, but I use specific ones for specific books)

Not indented

Weird spacing issues - people seem to want to put extra lines before and after paragraphs. NO NO NO NO NO! This one irks me the most cause, why? Why? I truly don't get it.

Manual spacing - heavens no. Once I edited a manually spaced document into a Word-double spaced one, only to have the author resend a revised version...also manually spaced.

Another pet peeve which I mention specifically in my guidelines but still see: people sending an "updated story." Proofread it the first time! I really beg of you. If I've already started reading/editing your story, the last thing I want is you sending me a new version. I'll fix any typos or whatever, and if there's a question, I'll ask you, promise.

For the record, I prefer Times or Times New Roman 12 point black font. It may sound picky or pedantic to you, but for every person who says "I know you said don't send revises but I saw this one typo..." great, but realize you are wasting my time.

That being said, I've made plenty of mistakes and I'm sure still do. I'm not a perfect editor obviously and I realize people make mistakes. It's just that when lots of people make mistakes and I'm in a hurry, I may have to just skip over the error-laden submissions in favor of ones that are easy to work with. Most of the time I go in and fix the things that need fixing. Part of what I hate about the process is sending rejection letters, and I'm not at all looking forward to that. I don't do public calls as often anymore in part because I don't want to send so many rejection letters, and I realize that also means I may not reach someone who doesn't read my blogs or Twitter.

The point is, read the guidelines. If you have a question, ask before you submit your story, not after.

I know I've been a Bad Editor this year, and I am working on that. I want to be more timely, more together, I really do. But it's hard, and I'm not some kind of superwoman that I can just work all day during the week and then do my own work all night and weekends. Sometimes I try but then I collapse, hard. I want to punch anyone who says "you do so much." I am not a violent person but that makes me verge on violence, because it's bullshit. It's stupid. It's what someone says who has no fucking clue about anything. So no. I am a person who fails more than she succeeds, way more, but it just so happens that I do a lot, so I have some successes (or what passes for them) thrown into the mix.

I want to change, start over, remake myself and be a better person and writer and editor than I've been this year. I don't like who I've turned into at all, don't like the work I've been putting out (some of it I do, but I tend to look at the negative). I have all these ideas for more book trailers and fun publicity events and books and articles but...I need to take a big step back and assess whether this is even what I should be trying to do. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, which I have been learning over and over. So we'll see. I turn 33 soon and feel like I have less and less of a clue what I'm doing each day, but I keep hoping the path will become clearer, that I'll "see the light" or whatever and know what I should be doing, rather than just doing the same thing over and over, to no avail.

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At October 24, 2008, Blogger Dharma said...

Your list of "complaints" are totally reasonable. The plain fact is most folks do not read things like instructions or the brochure. I face this in my work all the time. I am not perfect either but I try like hell not to waste people's time. Eat a cupcake with a yummy beverage, take a nap, it will all seem better.

At October 24, 2008, Blogger Bianca James said...

Big psychic hug- being a writer/editor is one of the hardest paths a person can choose...and yes, people need to learn to follow directions, it's not that hard!


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