The Amazing Flexibility of Submission

by Victor David Sandiego | Created: Aug 03, 2016

Dear Writer–

Here at Subprimal Poetry Art/Music we have the usual assorted set of rules that we spell out on our guidelines page when it comes time for you to create a submission. We have things like word count, page count, piece count, and document count. This last one is a constraint of the submission system and can’t be overridden, but the first three are things that we ask you to adhere to within the content of your submitted document.

Or not. You see, it’s not quite that simple. While we do need to specify some guidelines around the quantity of these items as a basic sanity controller (my sanity, I should add), I do want to emphasize that these guidelines are more of a suggestion than an absolute.

A creative writer needs flexibility. Rules are fine as basic parameters, but – in my view at least – rules are meant to be stretched. I also believe that some rules ought to be completely ignored, but that’s another matter, one that applies to the style and character of your writing, not to quantifiers around word counts and page counts.

This is where we enter the area of judgement and trust. I ask that you use your judgement when deciding how far to stretch this area in your submission, and I trust that you will do so judiciously. It’s as if you were a personal friend of mine who I’ve invited into my house for a party. Bring your friends, I say. You know my house and what we can handle. I’m trusting you not to overdo it, not to bring the whole office staff, all the parents of the Little League team, and the crew that painted your bedrooms last week.

Believe it or not, we’ve received (on more than one occasion) submissions in excess of 120 pages. Since we ask for around 5 pages, I think I can safely say that this is simply too much. These are cases where the authors did not consider us at all, only themselves.

Thankfully that’s an exception. Most authors understand that that level of excess means the submission gets dismissed out of hand. However, please understand that we’ve fine with a reasonable amount of flexibility. If you have a piece or pieces that you believe would be a good fit for Subprimal Poetry Art/Music, yet they exceed our specified word / page counts, don’t be shy and don’t be stopped. Our goal is to publish good work, and if that means publishing a piece more than X words, so be it. From both the perspective of writer, and the perspective of editor, rigidity doesn’t well serve the artistic community.


Victor D. Sandiego