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Thread: Analog Magazine

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  1. #8
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Getting blitzed at Gillhoughly's Reef, Haleakaloha.
    To address Corvid's comments:

    It took eight MONTHS for one of my stories to get accepted at a long established magazine. I was glad of the sale. Did not pay much, but having a story with that venue had been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I had a Plan B if it got rejected, but was delighted when it made the cut.

    Now let's have a reality check about the turnaround time for such submissions.

    Officially, most venues will say 6 weeks to 2 months, but my long wait was more typical. To be clear, I had a long record of pro sales and an agent, but got no special treatment, no shortcuts. They look at stories in the order of arrival.

    Not getting a reply in a month or two is not being disrespectful to the writers. The editing staff just doesn't have the time.

    And yes, their time IS more valuable. They sign the checks.

    Twenty-five to fifty stories come in EVERY DAY, up to 100 a day on weekends as writers take a deep breath at two in the morning and hit the Send button on their effort, then haunt their email for a reply on Monday.

    The submission flood does not stop. Slush readers start the day with a 200-story backlog. I got good at spotting easy to reject stories on page one--often on the opening paragraph. Those took less than 3 minutes. The better stories? I was told give them 5 pages before deciding whether to continue reading. Say that's 5 minutes. I could get though 24 - 40 stories in about 2 hours and then have to take a sanity break.

    I was usually good for 4 hours before I had to quit for the day. It is called slush for a reason. You have no idea how many bullets I took to protect the reading public from the stinky word-goo that's out there. In one case it was child torture porn (supposedly horror) and I can't unread it, though I sent a warning to the publisher about that writer. It gave me the creeps.

    The 2% of stories that might be publishable we read all the way through and kick upstairs to the next editor -- who also has a huge backlog to read, plus all the other work required by their job (meetings, planning layout, dealing with agents, writers, the Suits Upstairs, and maybe dreaming of the luxury of a 5-minute lunch).

    So if it takes them a long time to get back with a reply, be mindful you are not the only writer sending stuff in for their consideration. You are one of thousands every month.

    What I came to value as an editor was a SHORT cover letter (title, genre, word count) and if the writer SOLD something to another editor. I don't care what venues they submitted to, have they SOLD anything? Did another editor pay real money for their words?

    It is okay to be unknown and unpublished! We all start that way and editors are well aware of it. It doesn't count against you.

    No editor is going to dis any writer by taking their own sweet time delaying a reply to a submission. They are trying to get through the backlog because they have the hope, the tiny fragile flower of a hope, that they will find a fantastic story in the slush.

    Whenever I found one (rare) I was delighted to send it along. It made all the eye pain worth it.

    While waiting to hear back, the writer needs to write more stories. Working on something new keeps your head from exploding.

    An editor-in-chief at one of the Big Five recommended this: "Write a story every week or every two weeks. At the end of a year you have 25-50 stories making the rounds. If one comes back rejected, then you still have 24-49 others out there. You reassess the rejected one, tweak it, and send it out again. Rinse, repeat. Keep a submissions chart. Writing one story, hanging all your hopes on it, just makes the crash worse should it be rejected. Selling any story in that crowd is still going to be sweet."

    As for simultaneous submissions: Check their submission guidelines. If they say "no simultaneous submissions" take it seriously. If they do not, you don't need to inform the editor. Send the story to other venues. If it sells, inform the venues that it is no longer available. Include the same info on the subject line (title, your name) with the addition of "withdrawing this title from submission." Give the date you sent the story so they can find it in their email. No need to explain why. The slush reader will be glad to delete it and wish you well, it's one less thing on their to-do list.
    Last edited by Gillhoughly; 10-04-2019 at 02:33 AM.

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