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Thread: Why do short story submissions take so long?

  1. #26
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    How long shouldn't matter really. You should submit t and move on to the next project. If you're busy writing, editing, and submitting you won't have time to worry about how long a story has been out.

    I never check on a story except at a glance when I open the spreadsheet to log in a new submission.
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  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    How long shouldn't matter really. You should submit t and move on to the next project. If you're busy writing, editing, and submitting you won't have time to worry about how long a story has been out.

    I never check on a story except at a glance when I open the spreadsheet to log in a new submission.
    I do still have time to worry. I keep busy, but there is always time to worry.

  3. #28
    practical experience, FTW areteus's Avatar
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    The Duotrope responses are manual. By which I mean the Duotrope account holder updates them when they get sent an email with a response. The editors of the publisher do not have access to that system (well, they might, but only if they are also using Duotrope to track things that they have submitted to other markets in which case they update their own stuff when it gets a response just like you do). The only thing the notifications on duotrope do is update the stats both on your personal submissions and on the market's entry (where it averages with all the other responses that have been tracked).

    Some markets have a submisson system which tracks which part of the process your work is in and that is updated by the editor when they make a decision but Duotrope does not have a system like this (unless they have made a very recent and very major upgrade I am not aware of...).

    I agree with the others above. Submit and forget. There is nothing you can do about a story once it is submitted so no point or purpose in fretting about it. Just keep an eye on the average submission time for that market on duotrope (or the time listed in the guidelines) and work out what date this means you should have had a response by and mark it on your calendar. Then wait a while after that (cos many markets are sometimes slower than they claim) before chasing them with a polite email to enquire about the status of the submission.

  4. #29
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    I do still have time to worry. I keep busy, but there is always time to worry.
    I never worry. My wife thinks I'm inhuman that way.

    It's probably the only self-destructive negative trait I don't have.
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  5. #30
    Blissfully Clueless Mutive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by areteus View Post

    Submit and forget. There is nothing you can do about a story once it is submitted so no point or purpose in fretting about it. Just keep an eye on the average submission time for that market on duotrope (or the time listed in the guidelines) and work out what date this means you should have had a response by and mark it on your calendar. Then wait a while after that (cos many markets are sometimes slower than they claim) before chasing them with a polite email to enquire about the status of the submission.
    Definitely recommend this. One magazine apparently forgot to send me a rejection. They were very polite when I asked about the status, and it was good to be able to move the story onto a new home. (It was eventually accepted elsewhere.) But up until a three to six month mark, you're probably just annoying the already over taxed person looking at submissions.

  6. #31
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    Write, write and then write some more. Write so much you don't have time to think about stuff like this.

    Works for me.
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  7. #32
    Not a new kid folkchick's Avatar
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    I agree with the above advice, that we should submit and not worry. However. I can't help being curious when something is out for over six months. I have two stories that have been out since March. Is this generally a good sign?
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  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by folkchick View Post
    I agree with the above advice, that we should submit and not worry. However. I can't help being curious when something is out for over six months. I have two stories that have been out since March. Is this generally a good sign?
    Depends on where you sent them. Have you heard of Duotrope.com? it lets you track submissions, and see what the current average response time is.

    Six months down means you've still got months to go at some markets. At others, it means you should have queried five months ago.
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  9. #34
    Not a new kid folkchick's Avatar
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    Thank you, MJNL. I use Duotrope—it's great. These markets I speak of are known for having slow response times, so it's true, I just need to be more patient.
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  10. #35
    It's not really that long--it just seems longer than it might because so many short fiction markets don't allow simultaneous submissions. At least that's how it feels to me, as compared to waiting for agencies and publishing houses.
    WIP: Cave Draconem (YA dark fantasy), 78k, revising
    Short: 100% Organic (horror), 2000, subbing (Rs--2)

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  11. #36
    Not a new kid folkchick's Avatar
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    Rhoda Nightingale—I have to agree with you!
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  12. #37
    oldie turned newbie squeaky pram's Avatar
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    I loved duotrope when I first discovered it, but I'm beginning to see how it can be a curse as well as a blessing. In the old days you sent a story and pretty much had to forget about it because it went into a sort of black hole of which you knew nothing. With duotrope you can see, based on the responses reported by other writers, whether or not your submission is in the "rejection zone" (or "response zone", however you want to think of it!), and I think that's possibly a bad thing. It's easier to become obsessive. I've found myself on pins and needles when I see I'm in the zone, which is a waste of energy. I'm weaning myself off the constant checking and comparing, but I do understand its allure. In fact, at the moment I'm in the zone at three publications (so much for weaning!). I know I'd be better off not knowing.

    I agree with the others: 'submit, forget, write more stories' is the best approach. Obsession, thy name is Duotrope!

  13. #38
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    Well, let's see my current sub list.

    Story 1: Out for 14 months so far.
    Story 2: Out for 15 months so far.
    Story 3: Out for 17 months so far. (And it's a short-short!)
    Story 4: Out for 13 months so far.
    Story 5: Out for 16 months so far.

    Been so busy working on novels I forgot to notice. Plus I tell myself that they're out so long because they've moved up from slush readers to top editors and will all end up published at once.



    Nah. I thinks it's time to resub those babies.
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  14. #39
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    Well, let's see my current sub list.

    Story 1: Out for 14 months so far.
    Story 2: Out for 15 months so far.
    Story 3: Out for 17 months so far. (And it's a short-short!)
    Story 4: Out for 13 months so far.
    Story 5: Out for 16 months so far.

    Been so busy working on novels I forgot to notice. Plus I tell myself that they're out so long because they've moved up from slush readers to top editors and will all end up published at once.



    Nah. I thinks it's time to resub those babies.
    Where are you submitting? I submit to literary journals that take a few months, but your stats seem longer than what I've experienced or seen on duotrope.

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    Where are you submitting? I submit to literary journals that take a few months, but your stats seem longer than what I've experienced or seen on duotrope.
    I'm curious about this too. None of the subs I've sent out have taken longer than two months to get back to me.
    WIP: Cave Draconem (YA dark fantasy), 78k, revising
    Short: 100% Organic (horror), 2000, subbing (Rs--2)

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  16. #41
    I've submitted to places that take well over a year to get back to me (like Fiction, for one). And yeah, that was because the story made it to the editorial board and such.

    Literary seems to take longer. The fact that many are housed in academic institutions might be part of it, especially if you submit during a changover period.

  17. #42
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    Where are you submitting? I submit to literary journals that take a few months, but your stats seem longer than what I've experienced or seen on duotrope.
    All but one are SFF mags, the exception is a well-known mainstream mag.

    This last batch I sent between 6/2011 and 11/2011 ARE taking much longer than I'm used to. Why? Again, I'm hoping because they're passing up the editorial ladder.

    A story of mine that was out to a major SFF mag for over two years actually WAS sitting on the chief editor's desk, having been passed on by the preliminary readers. It just missed the sale, alas.

    Anyhow. I was inspired today to query the slow responders and to send out four stories that had been awaiting resubmission.

    My short story house is again in order!
    SUMM0NED (T0R, available NOW!) Real magic becomes real trouble when Sean summons the wrong familiar.



    And so it goes.

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