Ultra Submission

“pray unto your fears”  (MM)


Ultra is sent at last.  Many, many delays, almost all to do with the cover letter as I fiddled and edited and worried it until eventually it was as flat and as uninteresting as yesterday’s pancakes.  Ready, then.  The notion of spending half an hour in the post office to send it is what put me off most of all, let alone the stamps – double, because you have to include a stamped SAE, which many agents then lose and you never get your work back, thus having to spend yet more money on more paper and ink to print it out again.  Is it any wonder that we writers prefer electronic submissions?  Quick, easy, neat, no extra expense (with broadband as a flat fee), it feels almost an almost archaic practice to submit one’s work by snail mail.  But such is the desperation, that needs must.  With half the post offices closed, my local is a nightmare of suffocating heat, BO and dim-witted tourists trying to send strangely-shaped objects home using Specially Bizarre Delivery that takes half an hour to arrange.  Per parcel.  You no longer see grannies picking up their pensions, the unemployed collecting giros, businesses sending off ten thousand identical brown envelopes.  All that seems to have died with the last century.  All you see now are those strangely-shaped parcels that take so long to register.  And the occasional thin, flat, brown A4 envelope containing someone’s most precious words, heading off first class into oblivion, to some agent who already has four hundred other submissions that day and really just wants to go to away for Easter and never ever again read some poorly written first-three-chapters.

I live in hope.



About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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