Saturday, March 24, 2012

Update #6: What fresh hell is this?

You enter a contest.
You are asked to send your novel as an attachment.
What do you call it?

Here's the right answer: Title by Author
For those of you without enough coffee yet that means: (your book's) TITLE by (your name cause you are the) AUTHOR.

Got it?

Here's a short list of some of my favorite things you sent:

For Janet Reid.doc

Pay It Forward Contest Entry.doc (cause yanno, there's only one entry--yours, right?)

Author and Novel dotdoc.doc (seriously?)

Author/novel Draft 3 (cause you wanted me to know it's not the first draft?)

Author/novel and date you finished it/date of draft

In other words a lot of you call this thing something that helps YOU figure out which version, or when you finished or where it's going.  That is looking at this from the wrong perspective.  Think about it from the perspective of the person GETTING the manuscript: your name, your title are the only things that will distinguish this from the 400+ entries we're organizing (yea there's a reason I spent 16 hours assigning numbers and this is it).

Next time I do this, I swear the list of instructions is going to be a mile long but it never crossed my mind that every single person sending a ms would get it wrong.

(and for those of you who are gnawing your fingernails with worry, don't.  No matter what you call the thing, we're reading it.  And too many of you are really REALLY good writers.)


Angelica R. Jackson said...

Even I knew to rename the file from A_Particularly_Greasy_Bit_of_Shark_Chum, but alas I went with Author_Title. If nothing else comes from this contest, you will have trained over 400 of us in page number usage and file naming.

Julie said...

Every time you post an update, I have to go look at what I sent to see if I made that mistake.

This one I did not.

I just got through with online grad school apps, which had some files to upload, and knew to rename it the title-my last name. Mostly because chances were good no one else with my last name entered. But just in case, in the future, I'll make sure to put my first name, too.

Rick said...

Guilty. I'm pretty sure I did something like YYYY-MM TITLE LIZ NORRIS CONTEST - AUTHOR. I was going to add my SS and credit card information to the filename too, but ran out of space.

Rick Anderson said...

Next time you do this???? Instructions a mile long?????

Forget Starbucks,you need whiskey! What is the name of the nearest liquor store that delivers to your office?

Unknown said...

Whew. I flunked page numbers, but it looks like I at least got this one right.

Thanks so much for 1) putting up with the insanity and 2) working so hard to educate the masses.

Christine said...

It's great we can cut our teeth on this contest--along with other people who make mistakes, and a teacher shark as gatekeeper.

We appreciate your updates, Janet, and the opportunity to learn how to do things right. It definitely helps for future submissions!

Thanks for putting on your "kindly shark" hat and not chomping us to bits...

Michael Seese said...

I think next time I'll call it, "Theres-1000-bucks-in-it-for-you-if-I-win.doc."

But, as someone else said, guilty. I did include a version number as part of the doc name. (At least the only other thing was the title.)

Lune said...

Oh I blew this one. Just attached my doc with a really obscure title that would only make sense to me (since I have at least 150 different versions). And even so, it barely makes sense to me. Thanks for the humbling updates. Really appreciate them.

Rachel said...

Okay, so I passed the page number issue (which I wasn't sure I would) and I kinda passed this one. Kinda. I have the name of the book, but not MY name. It's funny because I have a synopsis and partial document for when agents request them, and that document has the book name and MY name. Go figure. Sometimes I make no sense.

Bonnee Crawford said...

I haven't been following recent events on here, so I'm neither guilty nor innocent... but seriously people? Seriously? People are funny creatures, no wonder I love them :)

Stephanie Barr said...

I did name it by title but I have to admit it didn't occur to me to put my name in it. In hindsight, it seems obvious but I've never ever done so.


Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I also just titled it "TITLE". It never occurred to me that only I would know my name automatically! How stupid!

From now on, every version that leaves my computer will have my name tagged on to the title.

Thanks so much for putting up with our ignorance, and for updating us when you see it en masse! I've already learned a chum bucket full of good things during this contest!

The Writer Librarian said...

Nailed page numbers, but guilty in this case. Just the solo title. Gah. A good lesson for all writers to consider agent/editor perspectives as much as possible.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Awe jeez, it's so like me to get it sort-of right, almost and just close enough.

Come here, closer...see it...right there in the middle of my forehead, looks like a lower case L for loser doesn't it; actually it's a capital I for idiot.

sbjames said...

Ooops. You got me on this one. Sorry. I know this is one giant heachache but you, but I have learned so much already. Thanks

none said...

I remember trying quietly to point out to people sending stories to GUD magazine that I could see the filenames they used. I don't think anyone took heed. But then I'm not so sharky.

Dana said...

Sorry about the file name and page number thing.