Someone in one of the other threads said they felt like I'd made fun of people who've experienced problems with e-submissions for Q4, and that bothered me because I realized that my comment about a general genre issue from 2009 had translated to me poking a stick at people who might have lost manuscripts to the new WOTF e-submissions system. So my apologies to anyone I might have offended -- my job here is to help all of you, not poke fun at you when you have trouble.
Having said that, I want to offer a few thoughts and suggestions.
1) If ever you have any trouble with the e-submissions system of any sort, your first contact is Joni Labaqui, Contest Administrator. Her e-mail is email@example.com
and she is the one who ultimately ensures that your manuscripts go from California to the Coordinating Judge K.D. Wentworth in Oklahoma.
2) If you're having trouble contacting Joni or getting a response from the e-submissions system, then yes please drop a message here in this section of the forum and let me know what's going on. Joni gets hundreds of e-mail a day, a lot of it spam, and there is a real chance your mail might be getting lost if you're not getting any response. I can assist in cutting through the noise and get you an answer.
3) As my own experience has shown, the e-submissions web form is subject to browser difficulties, depending on what you use and what operation system (OS) you're running as well. If you're having repetetive difficulties with the s-submissions form, please do consider printing and submitting on paper. That's still a perfectly viable option and it may save you some headaches. Even if it costs money.
4) No software is perfect. I've been doing applications support for over a dozen years, and I have yet to see anything that is 100% bulletproof reliable, all the time, under all conditions. Because the Contest accepts entries world-wide, entrants will be submitting using a variety of web browsers running on a variety of operating systems. Not everyone is going to have the same experience with the e-submissions process as a result. Joni and the Contest are working to make it better -- all the time -- but there will probably never be a day when it's infallible.
5) Lost or missing manuscripts is a frustrating issue, no question about it. There will be a natural emotional response upon learning that your story -- which you've waited on for months, to learn if you've won -- was never even sent to the Coordinating Judge because it never made it through the e-submissions gateway. Please know that the Contest does care about this sort of error. But also please realize that missing or lost manuscripts are an occupational hazard in the writing business. Try to treat a lost or missing manuscript issue like you would a form rejection: it's unfortunate, but it also doesn't mean anything other than that the story can be sent out again. Heck, it can be re-sent to the Contest again, and if it was good enough to win when it got lost the first time, it ought to be good enough to win on the second try.
A lost or missing manuscript is not a disaster.
I repeat, a lost or missing manuscript is not a disaster.
Annoying, yes. Perturbing, yes. And Joni and I can help you as best as we're able. In the end I want to advise patience, and if possible, a sense of humor. The publishing world can be a crazy world. The way things ought to be is often not the way things actually are. That's part of the game. Learn to roll with it, and use the tools you have available to set yourself up for success. Setbacks and problems happen for everyone. If you've had a setback or problem, such as a lost or missing manuscript, especially due to technical error, don't let it get you down. Seek assistance from official sources, and ultimately don't treat that one story submission as your first and last chance.
There is a new quarter every three months, and three new spots open for three new winners. The only way you can't be one of those winners is if you let setbacks and roadblocks get in your way and you stop submitting. I repeat, the only way you can't be one of those winners is if you let setbacks stop you. Especially something as pedestrian as a technical issue.
Again, my job is to help as best as I am able. But I also want to try and inject a little reality therapy, too.
Good luck everyone. if the system ate your manuscript for Q4, no reason at all why you can't send it up for Q2 of vol. 28 right? And if you get the same problems as you have before, or don't trust the e-submissions, the paper alternative is alive and well.