This was a valuable lesson I learned last year. The day before a contest entry I’d been working on came due, an ice storm knocked out the power and phone lines and left us in the dark for a solid week. Eeek! No internet service! Just goes to show that anything can happen out of the blue.
Natural disasters aside, you have plenty of reasons to get those submissions in ahead of deadline. Who among us hasn’t watched the internet chew up and spit out manuscripts the first time we use some new form or entry method? Frustrating, yes, but if you get slapped in the face five minutes before the deadline, you’re kinda screwed. Submitting early gives you time to work through glitches, even if you have to end up snailmailing it as an alternative.
Last week I finished a Christmas story and submitted it for an upcoming anthology of holiday stories. Good thing I tried a few days early. I had to convert the manuscript to pdf format before I could upload it through the form they required. This called for downloading a pdf writer, lucky me. I had to try seven of them before I finally got one to work without leaving a watermark or making me pay some ridiculous fee. That taken care of, the form didn’t work the first few times I pushed the ‘submit’ button’. I still has a teeny time cushion, so I actually didn’t panic. (Okay, I said a few bad words, but I didn’t throw the computer out the window. ) So, even with the pdf from hell and the upload glitches, I still managed to get the story in a day and a half before deadline.
Remember this the next time you think about putting off that submission. Your mailman could break his leg and have to go to the emergency room before taking your envelope to the post office. Your computer could crash. The flu could hit your family and make you too sick to think straight, let alone write. Your dog could pee on your manuscript. Your kid could use magic markers to decorate the pages he finds stacked beside the printer, to pretty ’em up before you mail them.
You never know what could happen