But, the reality is that the computers and technology have gotten smarter and the general population has not maintained pace with the technology. There are all of these great technological tools out there and people with no idea how to use the programs. Let me give you a few examples.
I frequently work as an adjunct instructor teaching writing at the local community colleges. I am finding that my time in class, that I would normally have devoted to really enhancing their writing skills has gone to teaching computer technology. Students think they are using their spell checkers and grammar checkers, but in reality, they are simply waiting for the "wiggly line" to appear in their documents. Many don't know how to even double space documents. The scary part is that I have had several students think they are on a word processing program, when in reality they are using Notepad. They get their double spacing by simply hitting enter twice at the end of each line. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I bring this up because of the huge shift in publishing to a more digital climate. Submissions are mostly digital now. These submissions even require unique formatting to insure the editors and agents can read the material. We now market our books using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. And, if you are in self-publishing, you now have to understand the unique platforms and formats necessary to make the projects digitally ready for the publisher you are using.
There is an expectation now that if you move into "professional publishing", whether it is traditional, independent or self-publishing, that you are technologically "up-to-date."Agents and publishers are simply not in a position to spend all of their time teaching you how to format your manuscripts and to do the things you should already know how to do.
I do have to say, I am always amazed at how many people will contact me with submissions totally unclear as to what they are doing. For example:
- Email submissions asking for my email address because they want to submit to me.
- Not knowing how to attach a document to an email
- Not knowing how to format a manuscript in double spacing
- Not knowing how to format a manuscript in .RTF format
- Not being able to fill out the submission form on the website.