My last unsuccessful submission to the Virginia Quarterly Review prompted the inaugural entry in my rate the rejection series. It also attracted some attention from VQR editor Ted Genoways and put me back in touch with an old high school friend, Waldo Jaquith, who is now leading the charge to bring VQR into the digital age.
Waldo recently contacted me about testing out the magazine's fancy new online submissions process. I agreed, which you can take as evidence of one or all of the following, given my previous experience with VQR: 1) that I am an incurable optimist; 2) that I am a glutton for punishment; 3) that I am just barely hanging on to this side of sane (at least if you follow Einstein's definition).
I'd say it's some combination of all of those things, plus a real interest in making sure these systems work. I've mentioned previously that I support electronic submissions processes (for the sake of efficiency and postage, if nothing else), but the danger is that they further dehumanize what has become an increasingly impersonal experience. Editors need to figure out how to take advantage of technology while staying meaningfully connected with the writers who invigorate their magazines' pages. Waldo promises me that VQR has taken steps in this direction. I'll keep you posted on how graceful those steps turn out to be.