You may recall a recent flurry of activity on my blog regarding postal submissions vs. email submissions in the world of short story submissions. I left the comments threads open to discussion, but I stressed that you shouldn’t expect any change in Realms of Fantasy’s submission policies. I meant it too. But that didn’t mean change was impossible.
Shawna and I have discussed the matter, and we’ve decided to implement the following change: if you are submitting to us from outside the U.S.A., if you provide a working email address, we will reply to your submission via email. If you want your manuscript returned to you however, you must still provide the necessary postage. An editorial response will be included when we mail your submission back to you. Otherwise, please feel free to take advantage of this change in policy.
While this policy change does not address all the concerns people have raised regarding postal submissions, it does accomplish the following:
1) If you live in a country that doesn’t have or makes it difficult to procure International Reply Coupons, this will no longer be a problem.
2) If your country does have IRCs, it hopefully means fewer trips to the post office.
3) After we’ve reviewed your submission, it should mean a faster reply time.
4) Provided you don’t wish your manuscript returned to you, you are no longer responsible for the cost of providing return postage.
We will honor those submissions currently in the slush employing IRCs, as well as those in the mail that have yet to reach us. We’ll even honor those sent to us in the future, but for the time being there is no need to use them anymore.
I say “for the time being,” because right now Shawna and I have elected to make this change an open-ended trial period. We want to see how everything unfolds over the next few months. We expect it to go smoothly, or we wouldn’t be making this change at all. So assuming there are no unforeseen hitches, there is a very real possibility we will make this change permanent. If this happens, I will announce as much on my blog. If the experiment proves unsuccessful, I’ll also announce as much on my blog, meaning Realms would then go back to the old method. Should this happen, we will honor any international submissions in transit without return postage. We would also provide an unspecified grace period for international authors while we revert back to the old way.
Please note: THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE OPEN TO EMAIL SUBMISSIONS. At this time, Realms of Fantasy has no plans to open up to email submissions. If you opt to send us your submission via email anyway, it will be deleted unread.
Please also note: THIS CHANGE IN POLICY ONLY APPLIES TO INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS. If you live in the U.S. and fail to provide postage for our reply, your submission will go unanswered. If you live in the U.S. and are currently grumbling how unfair this is, please remember that international authors will still be spending more money than you to submit their stories to us, and it still takes longer for their stories to arrive, meaning we end up reading your masterpieces first. The least Realms can do is make an honest attempt to accommodate the international community in this one regard.
This trial policy is effective immediately, so you can start taking advantage of it at your earliest convenience.
I hope this answers all of your questions. If I’ve missed anything, feel free to ask about it in the comments thread. If you do have a question, please read the comments thread first, to make sure the question hasn’t been asked already.Thank you.