Impersonal efficiency

Another story rejection (I could start getting a complex) – but this one got me thinking. Gavin Broom at The Waterhouse Review had taken the time to write some words of encouragement and some constructive criticism, and sent it off to me via Submishmash. Quite a few magazines seem to be moving to online submission via something like that, and I imagine it makes the whole process easier from their point of view, as well as allowing the lazy or time-squeezed writer to input their contact details just the once and check the status of a few pieces at a time. However, it introduces a middle-man, and instead of pressing reply on my email and writing a quick thanks to Gavin (not something I make a big habit of, I admit, but the personal touch from a small or new set-up like The Waterhouse Review will sometimes provoke me into courtesy) I just had to think kind thoughts.

I’m not saying the efficient online systems are a bad thing, and I can only guess at the inbox-clogging flood of email some editors were getting in the past, and how in a way those quick emails of thanks were probably a bit annoying if they were busy. But still I can’t help feeling slightly sad and like we’ve lost something, like when you go to the supermarket and no words are exchanged between you and the checkout person because speed is of the essence and you’re paying by card (or worse, using self-service tills).

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