I often perceive this Wonderful Community as a static entity, forgetting that there is a constant (and apparently increasing) influx of new readers. *waves to new readers*
As such, it's time for a submitting-to-authoress-crits-n-contests chat!
I strive for fairness and clarity at all times. Here's a compilation of paraphrased questions posed to me by (mostly) new readers, with my answers:
1. I'm still at work/still asleep/still in the middle of my daily gargling when your submissions open. Could you make them a little earlier/later?
No. I regularly switch times from morning to evening and my Secret Agent contests now have two windows to accommodate opposite ends of the globe. But what I beg you to remember is that I have to be a) awake and b) available during the submission process. Many submissions are loaded with formatting errors that I must fix by hand before they post. Many submitters email me, sometimes in a panic, asking why their submission was rejected. If I'm not there to answer the question quickly, they'll miss the opportunity to try again.
And sometimes I miss the emails, anyway. Because sometimes--gasp--my Real Life requires something of me right in the middle of a submission process. I try not to let that happen, but life is life.
All that to say, if the window that works for you equals 2 in the morning where I live, it ain't gonna happen. This train needs an engineer.
2. Your submission windows ALWAYS happen when I'm at work/asleep/gargling. I'm left out!
Do you have at least one friend you can trust? Ask him to send on your behalf. People do it all the time. Just be sure your friend forwards you the confirmation email so you know what number you've been assigned. Also be sure you don't hold it against your friend for all eternity if your submission is rejected for a formatting or word count reason. PLAIN TEXT, PLAIN TEXT, PLAIN TEXT.
3. What time zone are you in?? I can't figure out when to submit.
It makes absolutely no difference what time zone I'm in. For all you know, I live on a space shuttle outside of conventional time. I always--ALWAYS--post the times in Eastern. Why? IT'S NEW YORK CITY'S TIME ZONE. You can either a) do the math or b) check a reliable time zone website to see how your local time zone lines up with New York's.
4. And by the way, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SCREEN NAME?
I can't tell you how often I receive this question, both in comment boxes and via email. If any of you have suggestions for something DIFFERENT I can call it, please let me know! At any rate, your screen name is simply whatever name you choose to use when you're leaving comments on this blog. It's for identification purposes only and it will NEVER be included with your submission when it's posted.
I have my blogger account set up to accept ALL comments (hence the occasional anonymous trolls). That means that YOU DO NOT NEED A BLOGGER ACCOUNT or ANY OTHER ACCOUNT ONLINE in order to leave your comments. I've chosen this option to make it as easy as possible for people to leave comments.
I hate the word verification, but it does help cut down on spam. If spam weren't a problem, I'd remove this feature. It annoys me. (But not as much as spam.)
So when you email me to say you "can't sign in" or "signed in but it wouldn't take your comment" or whatever, please remember that MY BLOG DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO SIGN IN AT ALL. Just choose the third option (NAME/URL) in the comment box and type in your screen name.
I really do want things to be as easy as possible for everyone! I mean, heck. Writing stories is hard enough. Who needs a convoluted blogging experience?
Anyway, those are the biggies. If you have any other questions pertaining to crits and contests and comment-leaving, please comment below. I will try to answer them all in a timely manner.
(So long as I'm awake.)