Writers Who Can’t Read

I’ve started taking submissions for Thrilling Tales quarterly — our guidelines, which have been echoed in various places, clearly state:

Hero Pulp tales of up to 20,000 words. Query for longer material — we will consider standard-length pulp novels (60K words), but primarily as serialized fiction or stand-alone book releases. We want tales that are true to the spirit of the pulps — as such we prefer that they be set during the “pulp era” — the 1930s.

So far, I’ve been mailed about 20 submissions. All have included SASEs, cover letters, notes as to whether the manuscript is disposable, etc……

….and not a single fucking one of them is a hero pulp tale set in the 1930s.

Not a one. Not a SINGLE BLOODY ONE.

It’s so bad, it’s gotten to be a joke here — the_themiscyran hands me the day’s mail, saying “here’s more stuff from people who haven’t read the guidelines” — even before we’ve opened a single envelope.

That’s not even going into the people who have emailed submissions (against the guidelines), or emailed queries asking if we were interested in Cthulhu stories or Swords-and-sorcery (hell, at least those are from the pulps — but not hero pulps). One guy wanted to know if we published modern gothic vampire stories.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

So yeah — frustrating. On the plus side, though, completely outside of my work as a publisher — this experience is filling me with a lot more confidence about my future as a writer, given what the competition out there seems to be like…. :)

12 Replies to “Writers Who Can’t Read”

  1. That is funny, in its own bizarre way. I know most of the kids out there are too young, in our cultural-memory-deficient society, to have really even heard of Doc Savage, but, damn, they have to have heard of Indiana Jones …

  2. It’s so weird… like everyone on my F-List has this weird cosmic connection. Every editor/publisher-type I know seems to be having a case of idiot submissions today!

    As I said to someone earlier, I don’t understand why people don’t research things before sending stuff in! I am writing something that takes place in the thirties (it doesn’t fit your guidelines, and I’m not brave enough to send submissions out anyway) but I’m reading a history of the Interwar Years so as to get things right.

    I am confused by stupid people.

  3. Cool. I’ll have to see what I can come up with for you. I’ve got one idea in mind, but it will require some serial number filing-off to make it ready, I think.

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