RTF update

Rather to my surprise, only three people have used the experimental RTF submission system in the week since I mentioned it here.

I can think of half a dozen possible reasons for that (such as: not that many authors know about it yet; some of those who do know about it already have a story under consideration with us; most authors who know about it probably don't happen to have a story ready to submit; authors are worried about using a system that's still in beta; etc), but I wanted to ask one specific question just in case: are any of you intentionally avoiding using it? If so, is there anything in particular that's making you avoid it? If so, it would be great if you could drop me a note and let me know.

By the way, in case my previous posting wasn't clear about this, you don't need to do any special formatting before you submit using the RTF form. Standard manuscript format is fine, as is any other format a story is likely to have. The system automatically formats your submission for us, so by the time the story reaches us, it'll be easy for us to read. (And it sends us a copy of the original RTF file, too, so we can check the formatting if we need to.) You can use curly quotation marks, italics, underlining, and/or whatever fonts and paragraph spacing you already happen to use. (Don't go out of your way to format things weirdly; I'm just saying that if you use the RTF system then you don't have to do any reformatting for us.) You just use the Save As command in your word processor to save as RTF (as far as I know, all word processors published in the last ten or fifteen years can do this), then fill out a brief online form and click a button and you're done.

It's certainly fine to continue using the old email-based system; I'm just surprised that so many authors are choosing that, and want to make sure I didn't inadvertently put any roadblocks in the way of using the new system.

6 Responses to “RTF update”

  1. jacob

    I’m not an author, but I’ll say that your mention that the system sends you a copy of the original RTF file would make me much more likely to try it. Otherwise, I’d be worried that something would be lost, and you wouldn’t know, and you’d be reading an incorrect version of my story.

    I’d recommend mentioning that fact on the page itself.

  2. Jean

    For me, it’s because of this line: “It may not work properly.”

    (Hi, Jed!)

  3. Chance

    I plan on trying it, but yes, it is the still have a story under consideration thing.

  4. Eliza

    I plan on trying it just as soon as I have a story ready, which at this point could be anywhere between next week and next year. 🙂

  5. Jed

    Jacob: Good point; I’ve now added a note to that effect.

    Jean: I guess that is a kind of scary line, isn’t it? I’ve now added a little more info. So far, the system has worked perfectly from our point of view; I wanted to make clear that it’s still in beta, but so far I’ve seen almost no evidence of it not working properly. (One author got an error message that I haven’t figured out yet, but since the story in question reached us with no problems, I’m not too worried about that.) Also, if it didn’t work properly, then the worst that would happen is the story might not reach us, in which case after 24 hours you wouldn’t have received an autoresponse and you would drop us a note asking if we’d received it. (Or, conceivably, we could receive the story with very bad formatting, in which case we would drop you a note and ask you to resubmit. But I would be very surprised to see that happen at this point.) Point being, the “may not work” part wasn’t intended to scare people off; I meant it as a disclaimer, not an indication of serious problems. So I’ve now tried to clarify that; thanks for pointing out the issue.

    Chance and Eliza: Cool! Glad to hear you’re planning to try it.

  6. jacob

    Jed — Isn’t a general “this may not work” disclaimer the kind of thing you tell writers not to include in a cover letter? 🙂

    The important thing, of course, is that authors are aware that the reformatting rarely fails by adding “between the sheets” randomly to the ends of sentences.


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