You should never distribute your call as a Word file for people to fill out and send back to you. It might seem like a fast, easy solution—especially for smaller calls—but it will end up costing you more than you think.
Here are just some of the challenges you face using Word:
- Although Word is ubiquitous, different versions and platforms mean you can’t be certain everyone who downloads your file is going to be able to open it, edit it and send it back to you without compatibility issues.
- You can include pages of instructions and use highlighting and colorful text to draw attention to required fields, but you’re still going to have to review every submission to make sure it was filled out properly.
- You’ll need an iron-clad organizational plan to track every submission you receive, including revisions.
- Most authors expect an acknowledgment that their submission made it safely into your hands. You’ll need to send a confirmation email for every submission you receive.
- Any file you get back could be carrying something you don’t want on your computer. You’ll need to make sure you scan every submission for viruses and other malware.
- You’ll need to back up every file you receive on a regular basis in case something bad happens to your computer or network.
Using Word to distribute your call might make sense because it’s easy to use, readily available and basically free (if you’ve already got a license). But once you start to receive submissions, the costs—especially time costs—really start to add up.