Picking up on Pam Calvert’s post about SASE’s

I know what she means about wanting to get off the SASE train, but not quite being able to bring oneself to do it. I also understand publishers not wanting to pay for the postage to send all those form rejections.

You could argue that, for writers, SASE’s are just part of the cost of doing business. But you could make just as strong an argument that the handling of submissions that bring new talent across editors’ desks and new revenues into their companies’ coffers — including getting the word to writers that their submissions weren’t quite right or missed by a mile — should be part of the publishers’ cost of doing business.

So why not handle it all via e-mail? E-mailed rejections — e-rejections? e-jections? — and e-mailed responses of any kind are free to send, but all too rare. At the very least, we’d waste less paper if publishers would adopt a policy of discouraging SASE’s and replying electronically to everything, even to submissions sent by post. And if publishers were to establish a legitimate way of receiving and evaluating submissions sent via e-mail, so much the better.

I’ll leave the details — how to keep editors from being e-flooded by more low-quality submissions than they already deal with; how that editor who signs her rejection letters with a little smiley face can best translate that personal touch into an e-mail — to others.

The thing I really can’t figure out is why some editors return my SASE’s to me, unused, in an envelope that they picked up the postage for. I assume that they mean, “No need for you to send an SASE in the future,” but jeez, the stamp is already stuck and the envelope is already addressed — why not put it to good use?