Quotes: Believing All That Matters Is What They Want

On his blog, author Jason Sanford talks about story submission and publication data, specifically with SFF genre in mind. He refers to an essay, an interview, and his experience as editor, and talks about how men tend to submit many more stories than women, even when their stories were “totally inappropriate” (in Jason’s words). His conclusion?

“In the case of why male authors are far more likely to not read a magazine or their guidelines before submitting, and are more likely to submit multiple stories in a short time frame, I think it ties in with them not seeing the motivations of others and believing all that matters is what they want.

“But if you’re submitting your stories to an editor, what you want isn’t what lands the acceptance. It’s what the editor wants. Otherwise, an author is merely wasting everyone’s time.”

– Jason Sanford

I’ve no comment on the data and survey side of the post, being a not-numbers person. What struck me was that this is the strongest-worded remark I’ve seen—and note that it really isn’t—saying a number of male authors behave in a blatantly self-centered manner and suggesting they change.

Sanford, Jason. “The Submissions Men Don’t See.” Jasonsanford.com, September 24, 2017.

Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.

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5 thoughts on “Quotes: Believing All That Matters Is What They Want

  1. joatsimeon October 2, 2017 / 18:53

    Or they may just be using the shotgun approach: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no, so asking doesn’t hurt… since the worst that can happen is that the answer is “no”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik October 3, 2017 / 12:29

      Which is exactly the point.

      They think that asking doesn’t hurt because it doesn’t hurt them. They think the worst that can happen is that the answer is no because that’s the worst that can happen to them. They aren’t considering the editor’s time that they’re wasting or the other submitters whose stories don’t get read because they got lost in the slush pile of irrelevant submissions. As Jason said, they think that what they want is all that matters.

      I have just been dealing with the parallel situation as coordinator of an academic conference. The time that it takes to deal with inappropriate submissions or those that don’t follow the submission guidelines is a serious drain that takes time and energy away from the work of organizing panels and coordinating speakers.

      Like

      • joatsimeon October 3, 2017 / 14:55

        The actual argument against this practice would be that it doesn’t work often enough to justify even the minor effort required, or that it prejudices the limited number of editors against you.

        Which is actually a strong case and why I don’t shotgun every possible market. You’re not going to catch me gratuitously annoying people who have gatekeeper power over something I want.

        But purely on the initial premises and discounting that, the effort required to send a story out (particularly digitally) is trivial from the submitter’s point of view. It’s more of a problem to the editor… but from the submitter’s point of view, the editor’s problems are the editor’s problems.

        As the old cowboy song goes: “That’s your misfortune/And none of my own.”

        You don’t sell something for the buyer’s benefit; you do it for your own. There are a limited number of publishing slots and you want every single one you can get.

        It’s an economic interaction in a competitive marketplace, not a social one. A fight, not a conversation, in other words.

        In any competitive field, other things being equal the prize goes to the -most competitive-, root hog or die. That’s in the nature of things, and the nature of human beings.

        If you want people to stop doing something that might benefit them, show them it doesn’t actually give them a benefit, or that there are negative side-effects, from their own viewpoint and in terms of their own interests.

        Expecting them to embrace your viewpoint or care about benefits or costs to you as if you were a relative or a personal friend is sorta futile.

        Like

      • Erik October 3, 2017 / 16:48

        “If you want people to stop doing something that might benefit them, show them it doesn’t actually give them a benefit, or that there are negative side-effects, from their own viewpoint and in terms of their own interests.”

        Well said, and on that note, here’s your warning: this is not a place for your word-vomits, whether on historiography, the economics of the writing market, or anything else. If you want to talk about things we post, you’re as welcome as anyone else, but if you can’t do that in any other mode than self-important rant, you’re done here.

        In other words, this is a conversation, not a fight.

        Like

      • Erik October 3, 2017 / 18:17

        Comment deleted. We’re not here to teach you how to present a differing point of view in a productive way. A boundary was set and you crossed it. You’re done here.

        Like

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