I’ve said before that I don’t envy the Oni Press submissions editor(s). Now that submissions are open, they must be having nightmares.
I also don’t envy Top Cow submission editors when they have their Talent Hunt. Now that the winners have been announced, I have gotten at least one submission sent to The Proving Grounds to see what was “wrong” with the entry. I may have gotten another one. They’re starting to come in a rush, and I don’t rightly recall. But I know there was at least one.
Here’s the thing when it comes to open submissions and contests: it’s a numbers game, and unless you’re letter perfect, it is extremely easy to cull you from the herd.
Missing punctuation? You’re out.
Misspelled word? You’re out.
Incomprehensible format? You’re out.
Not following simple directions? You’re out.
I edit at least a script a week, and have been doing so for almost four years. I’ve seen the gamut of work, from creators who need to never touch a keyboard again in an effort to “write”, to writers I have gone on to work with and who have won awards for their writing.
If you want to increase your odds of “winning”, you have to be diligent and put in the work. Sometimes, that means you have to hire an editor beforehand.
Barring hiring someone, you still have to put your best foot forward. That means you have to do whatever it takes to make the strongest presentation you can. Sitting down, banging out a script and then calling it done before sending it off isn’t going to work. Spelling mistakes will creep in. Missing punctuation. Plot holes. All of those things lead to rejection.
Slow down. Do the work correctly. It isn’t a race, as long as you do the work in a timely fashion. And if you can’t do the work in a timely fashion, then you aren’t ready for work.