Mostly I think I was tinkering with a database and listening to two of the other three talking for five straight minutes about underpants and thinking about all the issues I'd have fun raising if we had a union when I noticed several things were very wrong with the submission guidelines, primarily the fact that not many people are adhering to them. This'll be our fault. We're going to make them a bit more obvious and accessible and link them up properly from the various upload forms, and we'll be adding a few new ones as well for larks and that, and also it's finally occurred to me that I can tell the hardcopy newsletter receivers to contact us for full guidelines rather than just letting them guess, but in the meantime I shall kindly direct your attention to a), the relevant page on the website and b), the following points about the online entry process:
- If you enter online and make a payment by PayPal using a different name and/or email address to the one you used to upload your competition entry, please make that clear in the comments section of the upload form, stating the name/email address/what have you of the PayPal account. Otherwise we get confused and fail to match up entry and payment (they come to us in two separate emails, for those inexplicably interested in the minutae of our working day) and end up emailing you and then waiting for a reply and it's all a bit upsetting. Not massively upsetting, obviously. I wouldn't let it trouble you personally. But doing the above would be really more than great.
- Sometimes... not often... things go wrong with some element of the process and we get entries without payments and payments without entries and entries without words and other permutations of the above. We deal with these issues via email. We'd advise you to look out for such emails from us in the days after you've entered just in case something's gone astray. As I say, far and away the majority of online entries reach us with no problems whatsoever, but sometimes mishaps are a tad unavoidable, and I'm pointing this out because, even more occasionally, the entrants don't respond to our queries about what became of the entry that should correspond to this payment and what have you. We still have a couple of problematic half-entries outstanding from the recently closed micro-fiction competition, and we can't wait indefinitely. We don't much want you to miss out on the whole entering business, so do try and be electronically available in the couple of days after submitting your work.
- Not to be putting any contact information on the entries themselves, please. This is quite important and often sadly overlooked. We do delete all the errant info prior to printing the entries out, but this does slow down the whole process and makes us a little bit jittery. It's not a question of our not loving you regardless, but we'll love you even more if you don't put your name on your entry.
That's about it. As I say, we'll be tweaking the guidelines appropriately in the near future. There's a website update going on as we speak, in fact. Mostly that'll be Gav's taking down the now closed Micro-fiction competition (which, numbers wise, was even more of a rip-roaring success than the previous one, so hurrah for that) and putting up the new Spring Poetry Competition 2007 (or possibly Spring 2007 Poetry Competition) instead. If you ask nicely in comments, and I'm not saying that we're in any sense desperate for comments, perhaps he'll put the links in this post when the pages are complete. Or you can just keep refreshing the website, which is also fun. Root Books - our new branch (we are SUCH wits) that's all about giving new authors a bit of a boost and the like, with the print-readying and subsequent printing of any manuscripts they might want printing and, you know, more besides, has its own page on the website. We've written a new newsletter and made an amusing advert with Venus on it. And I am unamused to discover that my favourite paper clip has escaped. My second favourite paper clip, which is circular, honours us still with its presence, but the triangular one is AWOL.
You can post sitings here if you so wish. In comments. And don't go thinking we care about comments.