When spring is in full bloom I can expect to start getting lots of submissions. There must be something about new warmth and clear skies that inspire people to share their travels with the world. To me, this is a good thing. This week I received almost 25 new submissions about magical places worldwide, which, I am sure, we should all travel to.
Most of the submissions start with something like Dear Devin or Hey Dev or Hi ITKT or Dear In The Know Traveler Editor. One began “Wazzup!” and another just “ditor,” (A first for me where a submission’s very first word was misspelled – Brilliant! I will try not to hold it against the writer, promise.). All of these openings are fine by me.
However, the ones that open with just a “Hello” or “Sir/Madam” tip me to look at who the email was addressed. When I do, I am never surprised to discover “undisclosed recipients” or the senders email address in the “to:” section of the email. When I see this, I know I have just received a blind submission.
A Blind Submissions is when a writer gathers a bunch of email addresses and sends off a completely generic request to be published in the hopes of playing a numbers game. Surely one out of these fifty editors will publish my story, right? While playing a numbers game may be a fast way to do things, it also lets the editor know that the writer is not looking to develop a long-term relationship or make an effort to write something that might fit into a specific publication.
Personally, as I have mentioned before in the Do Your Homework, I just delete the blind submissions and queries. It may sound harsh, but the technique of sending a single email to a bunch of random editors — who are all looking for something different — to sell something feels like spam. I know we are all looking for easier, faster ways to do things because we all have busy lives, but here is an opportunity to get an advantage over other writers with a little extra effort. I suggest read the publication before submitting and find out the names of the editors. And write an article directed toward a specific publication.
I am going to let you in on a little secret. Most editors are not looking for one great story. They are looking for reliable, consistent writers who will write many good stories in the future. So this spring, forget about the blind submissions and get to know your editors.