The past couple of weeks have seen a marked increase in mistakes on submissions.
We've seen more mistakes than usual in almost every part of our submission form. At least a couple of authors have done each of the following in the past couple weeks:
- Entered a byline in the form that doesn't match the byline on the story itself. (Sometimes this takes the form of entering the story title in the byline box.)
- Entered an incorrect email address.
- Entered a story title that doesn't match the title on the story itself.
- Entered a wordcount that isn't anywhere close to the story's actual wordcount.
- Sent a cover letter that was clearly intended to go some other venue.
- Sent an old draft of the story instead of the current version.
- Sent a story that we've previously rejected.
Not to mention, of course, people submitting via email attachment, which has never been allowed and is explicitly prohibited in our guidelines.
I know people make mistakes, and most of the authors have been apologetic when asked about what they intended. Any one of those individual mistakes is no problem. But I'm getting a little frustrated with the total number of mistakes we're seeing.
I know, of course, that adding more text does not actually get people to follow directions better or make fewer mistakes. But I've nonetheless added a reminder on the submission form, right above the Submit button, that authors should double-check everything they're entering. I doubt it'll actually help, but it made me feel better.
I suppose the fact that I find it comforting to write instructions made it inevitable that I would become a tech writer.