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Thread: Black Gate Magazine

  1. #1
    The Little Aspie That Could KaiaSonderby's Avatar
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    Black Gate Magazine

    Hi guys,

    I've heard so many positive things about Black Gate Magazine from a number of people. How professional and friendly they are, how great they are to work with. So I have only one question:

    What gives? Why can't I get a response from this magazine? I submitted a story to them in June of '09. A year later, when I hadn't heard anything back yet, I asked a colleague of mine (who has a story placed with Black Gate) if I should contact them to find out the status of my story. He advised me to send a brief, polite query, which I did.

    A month later, no answer. I tried again, making sure I specified my story had been sent by e-mail. Another month went by, again with no answer. I tried again. In total I sent four e-mails, I even tried another e-mail address, and received nothing in response. At this point I suspect my story never made it through, and perhaps my e-mails didn't either--I don't know, maybe they have their spam filter set on Rabid?

    I again asked my colleague for advice. He suggested attempting to contact Black Gate's editor via Facebook. That's not normally a route I'd try, but I really wanted to know if my story ever got through. So I sent a brief, polite e-mail, apologizing for sending it through Facebook and asking for a status update on my story, if it had reached them.

    That was days ago. If you've figured out the pattern by now, you've probably guessed that I've gotten no response to that as well. I don't see why a simple query about the status of my story should take as long to answer as the story itself. I really don't think it's unreasonable that some four months later I'm getting slightly annoyed that I can't get anyone to tell me anything. In fact, by all appearances I'm being outright ignored.

    So again I ask, what gives? Has anyone had any contact from this magazine lately? Anything at all? Is there some kind of Offensive Dance I did by accident that has caused these people to ignore me? Something? Anything?

    Please, please, someone tell me something.

    P.S. I'm sorry if I sound a bit agitated but really. This is absurd.
    Damsel to the Rescue: Fun, feminism, and fantasy!

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  2. #2
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    I've never submitted to them, because what I've heard about them is their response time is measured in years... if they respond at all. I've not heard anything bad about their handling of authors for publication, but their slush handling is known for being terrible. This has been going on for awhile, so I'm surprised your friend wasn't aware of it.

    I'd recommend giving up on status updates. Assume your story is in the black hole and submit to other markets. If you get accepted, drop a quick withdrawal note to Black Gate as a courtesy. Don't expect a reply to that note.
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  3. #3
    I write novels
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    What Polenth said. The magazine publishes good stories, and its production values are outstanding, but their response times started off slow and got steadily worse over the years. As a reader, I love it. As a writer, I think, Hmmm, maybe I should submit somewhere else.

    If you do decide to submit elsewhere, however, you should withdraw the story from Black Gate first. Otherwise it becomes a sim-sub. (Yes, I know the story is probably lost in a spam filter, but it's the polite thing to do, just in case.)

  4. #4
    The Little Aspie That Could KaiaSonderby's Avatar
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    Wow. I knew they took a long time in regards to responding to submissions, but I didn't realize that carried over to responding to things like status queries.

    This is probably a stupid thing to ask, but what's a sim-sub?

    Thanks for letting me know, guys. I guess I'll be looking for other places to submit this. That is, after I've taken my year-and-a-half of further experience and applied it to the story.
    Damsel to the Rescue: Fun, feminism, and fantasy!

    Dream: My short fantasy story, published in The Lorelei Signal.

    Testing Pandora: Free science-fiction novella WIP staring an autistic protagonist. Come see the world through someone else's eyes.

  5. #5
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    The submission guidelines say that all e-mail received with attachments is automatically deleted.

    So the first question would be: did you submit an attachment or include your story in the body of the e-mail. If you sent an attachment, that would be a reason you haven't heard back, regardless of long turnaround times.

    The second question would be: does your e-mail client convert stuff in your e-mail (such as background or sig images) to attachments? If so, that might explain why your status request e-mails aren't getting answered. (I get mail from lots of people with 'attachments' that aren't actually attachments.)

    (And a sim sub is a simultaneous submission.)
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  6. #6
    I write novels
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    Sim-sub is short for simultaneous submission. That's where you submit the same story to more than one market at the same time. Some markets don't care if you do that. iirc, lots of literary markets are fine with sim-subs. In SF/F, it's generally the opposite. Don't do it unless all the markets involved explicitly state in their guidelines that it's okay.

    (Note: Sim-subs are not the same as multiple subs. Multiple subs are when you send more than one story to the same market at the same time, without waiting for a response in between.)

  7. #7
    The Little Aspie That Could KaiaSonderby's Avatar
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    Terie,

    I read the submission page only about 3 dozen times, so no, I didn't send it as an attachment. I sent it copy and pasted in the body of the e-mail with all the text formatting they requested.

    I don't have any images, sig or otherwise, that I use in any of my e-mails. Maybe some day when I have a book coming out I'll want the cover image proudly on display, but otherwise I find such things incredibly tacky.

    As far as I know, I didn't commit any major faux pas, hence my confusion.

    Incidentally, I work at a review website and am the contact for people who want to request reviews for their books. I have way too much experience with people ignoring our guidelines to not pay attention to someone else's.
    Damsel to the Rescue: Fun, feminism, and fantasy!

    Dream: My short fantasy story, published in The Lorelei Signal.

    Testing Pandora: Free science-fiction novella WIP staring an autistic protagonist. Come see the world through someone else's eyes.

  8. #8
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    My experience with Black Gate is over a decade old, FWIW: I subbed a story to them back around 2001, and got back a personal rejection (apologising for the long response time) around 18 months later. So yeah, nice people, good mag, good $, but very slow.

  9. #9
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    There is a notice at Ralan.com that Black Gate is closed to submissions. Report time is listed at 2-3 months, but my experience is that's a cruel joke. They took almost a year on my last sub.

    I checked the site, it says that Black Gate 14 will be out in March 2010. I think they're a bit late again...
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  10. #10
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Black Gate #14 did come out in March, I have a copy and I also have a story in it.

    Black Gate has moved to a policy of reading periods and are not open to submissions between those periods.
    Brightlyiburn are you sure you subbed during a reading period?
    Last edited by waylander; 10-11-2010 at 02:13 PM.

  11. #11
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    Black Gate #14 did come out in March, I have a copy and I also have a story in it.
    So it came out and they haven't updated the website to reflect that fact? I couldn't find anywhere that showed the issue as being released.
    Michael Barnette
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  12. #12
    The Little Aspie That Could KaiaSonderby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    Black Gate #14 did come out in March, I have a copy and I also have a story in it.

    Black Gate has moved to a policy of reading periods and are not open to submissions between those periods.
    Brightlyiburn are you sure you subbed during a reading period?
    Dead certain. They closed the 30th of June '09. I sent my story in June, yes, but some two weeks before that. I didn't see anything on the site to indicate some other time parameters--just a date when they'd be closing to submissions.
    Damsel to the Rescue: Fun, feminism, and fantasy!

    Dream: My short fantasy story, published in The Lorelei Signal.

    Testing Pandora: Free science-fiction novella WIP staring an autistic protagonist. Come see the world through someone else's eyes.

  13. #13
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_b View Post
    So it came out and they haven't updated the website to reflect that fact? I couldn't find anywhere that showed the issue as being released.
    On the left of the front page of the website it says 'now shipping, issue#14'

  14. #14
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    On the left of the front page of the website it says 'now shipping, issue#14'
    They might sell more copies if they make it clearly apparent that #14 isn't 'coming soon' anymore. The main page for the issue doesn't make that clear at all which is why I thought it wasn't out yet.
    Michael Barnette
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  15. #15
    The Little Aspie That Could KaiaSonderby's Avatar
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    Ouch. Be careful what you wish for, I guess. I just got my rejection tonight.

    It was very nice though. I mean, for a rejection. Mr. O'Neill apologized for the delay and seemed genuinely appreciative of my patience. He had some really nice things to say about my story, too. I guess I should take solace in having my confidence in my dialog writing abilities validated by an actual professional but...this is my second case of "good but not good enough" this year. It's kind of a bummer.
    Damsel to the Rescue: Fun, feminism, and fantasy!

    Dream: My short fantasy story, published in The Lorelei Signal.

    Testing Pandora: Free science-fiction novella WIP staring an autistic protagonist. Come see the world through someone else's eyes.

  16. #16
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    And they're 'temporarily closed to submissions' at the moment, anyway.

    Black Gate is a market I'd class with Tor.com: fabulous, famous, worth chasing when you can, but a black hole when it comes to response times.

  18. #18
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    I think they've filled the next couple of issues - and as they're putting out approx. one issue a year that means it could be a while before they are considering subs again.

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
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  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Black Gate Magazine

    To be honest, I wasn't sure where to post this. I found out about this magazine (Black Gate) while searching for magazines that specialize in fantasy. I've been working on some blank verse epic fantasy poetry lately, and looking at the style of writing that Black Gate's website says they are looking for, I felt it would be a good home for my poetry.

    However, I notice that their submission page says they aren't accepting submissions at this time, and I haven't been able to find anything on their site to indicate when they will again be accepting submissions.

    Does anybody know when this magazine will be open to submissions? For that matter, has anyone had experience with this magazine, or know much about it?

    So far, Black Gate is the only magazine I've found that seems to be looking specifically for the style that I write -- although I'm not very familiar with this magazine, having only just discovered it a couple weeks ago, and having not yet read any of their material.

  20. #20
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Hi Clay,

    If you check the index, you'll find we already have a thread on Black Gate. I expect a mod will be along shortly to merge your thread with the existing one.

    They're a very well respected, prestigous magazine, but it's incredibly hard to make a sale to them, and their response times can be measured on geologic time scales.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 03-30-2012 at 05:15 AM. Reason: threads merged, thanks!

  21. #21
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clay View Post
    For that matter, has anyone had experience with this magazine, or know much about it?.
    My only experience with them is a couple years old. Took them 18 months to sent a rejection on a short fantasy story. They are seldom open to submissions because they are booked a long time in advance. For the record they also rarely bring issues out on time and that also tends to lengthen the wait between reading windows.
    Michael Barnette
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  22. #22
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    The editor John O'Neill replies to questions posted in the Black Gate thread here: http://webnews.sff.net/browse?hierarchy=sff.publishing.*

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

  23. #23
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    I'm one of their cover artists (Issue 11). They are wonderful people, but very slow. The quality of the writing and the production values are high, but each issue takes ages to come out.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Huh... Thanks for the input, everyone, but it sounds like, for as good as their reputation is, Black Gate isn't really worth trying -- unless you have something that is definitely what they want.

    It seems like every other magazine (that I've found, anyway) that does anything in the fantasy department isn't looking for what I write -- which is almost exclusively (if not positively so) the high fantasy, sword & sorcery type stuff. Can anyone give me a few other recommendations?

    I've tried using Writer's Market, I did a simple Wikipedia search, and I've done searches on Google. But I always come up with something that just doesn't seem to fit my writing style.

  25. #25
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Have you looked at 'Beneath Ceaseless Skies'? or indeed searched through Ralan? http://www.ralan.com/

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

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