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It is a conundrum to me that writers who want to submit their work to a market can't read and follow the submission guidelines. I'm in process of evaluating submissions to Toasted Cheese the online Literary Journal out of the 42 submissions, nine did not follow the simple guidelines. Is this too hard to follow?
You will face the wrath of the cheese if you:
- send your submission as an attachment
- submit more than once during a submission period
- submit something that is longer than 5,000 words
- send your submission to an address other than submit[at]
- neglect to put "SUBMISSION" in the subject line
We will not read submissions that violate these rules. Period. You will receive a note explaining that your submission was disqualified and why.

The thing that bothers me is that those writers spent a lot of time and energy creating their work, yet they weren't thorough enough to ensure that what they submitted would be considered. It saddens me. I've submitted my share of stories and know the wait (in our case three months) before hearing about acceptance or rejection is sooo long. Then to read that one's story wasn't considered because of not following guidelines must be painful. The worst part is I have to send out those letters.

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The following comments are for "Why can't writers read?"
by Bonnets

I can certainly feel your pain on this topic. When validating posts for Lit. I've often wondered why people don't understand the rules that are posted in plain English above the sumbission box.
Some people just think the rules do not apply, I suppose. Or they are simply to lazy to read the fine print.

On a separate note. How does your website view items published in a manner like the one we use here at Lit.? Would that material be consider previously published and thus ineligible for inclusion in toasted-cheese? I'm curious because if work posted here is indeed eligible, the I would like to encourage some of our members to consider your publication.

Any info you could give me on this matter would be appreciated.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

Thanks for your comments, it's nice to know we are not alone. I was beginning to wonder if our guidelines were too obtuse.

As to your other note, anything that folks post for feedback here at Lit. would certainly be acceptable. We also have writing forums for feedback and crit. Several writers have used those to fine tune their stories, then submit. If one, or more, of the editors have given feedback on a particular submission they abstain from voting on that submission but may add comments in the event of a tie breaker.

Something in one of the ezines or newsletter would be considered previously published. Alas, like you, we can't offer payment at this time, but do give prizes in our quarterly contests.

I enjoy Lit. a great deal and am still exploring all the opportunities.

Mollie in bonnets

( Posted by: Bonnets [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

Can't wait.

Exercises forefinger on mouse pointing to delete.


nice to meet you.

( Posted by: Bonnets [Member] On: November 23, 2003 )

Starting to...
...feel your pain, Bonnets. I just began a zine, and am accepting submissions for the first issue. I had to reject a writer today because this person didn't follow one single guideline. Not even for the query letter. It's not something I enjoyed doing, but I really had no choice. It's not as if my guidelines are written in Greek. I wrote them as simply as possible, and if they can't be followed, then it doesn't seem like they're really serious about being published.

I sit here, and shake my head-- I honestly don't get it. I *agonize* over following guidelines when I submit my stories(and can I just say thank God there's an edit button over here at for when I screw up?).

Anyway, my question to you is this: how many query letters do you get that say things like, "Thought you might like this/be able to use this", or "Hey, yo, Editors!", or, um, other unprofessional statements?

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: December 2, 2003 )

"Hey, yo, Editors" made me larf, never got anything like that. We do receive several with no query or introductory letter, and once in a while no name or anything - just the story. They almost always are not good enough to make the grade for publication.

I've come to the opinion that if folks don't take their submissions seriously, they don't take their writing seriously.

What truly surprises me is that we get two or three submissions per period from college professors and teachers who also can't follow the guidelines.

Well, I'm zooming off to find you new zine. Good luck with it, and know you are not alone in the weirdness. ;)


( Posted by: Bonnets [Member] On: December 3, 2003 )

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