Thursday, February 5, 2009

So Long Gone

How long is too long to wait for a response from an editor. That is the question posed by K.C. today. With a book I can see waiting up to a year for a response. I mean, it is a book. Lots of pages and yours isn't the only one out there so literally thousands of pages get sent in every day to some of these publishers.

I am sure some of the literary markets have the same problems. I can't imagine the slush that Crazyhorse (I know they get over 1000 stories a month) and Fantasy and Science Fiction (at least they are quick about weeding out what they don't want) get every day. It can't be healthy. I don't know what a smaller market would get, although we could ask Aaron about Sand and their slush pile. I guess the question remains, how long is too long to wait. I can understand a five month wait. Not a problem, I can handle that. Eight months? Okay, we are pushing it. Ten months? A year?

Aaron brought up an interesting point. K.C.'s book has been out 431 days. I have a short out 392-ish days. Aaron says he has one that is right up there (I wonder if it is to the same market). Since I subbed out to that market my writing has evolved. A lot. Once it comes back, if it is a rejection and at this point I am counting on it, it is going into my dead story file. It was a bad story. The line was sloppy, the characters unbelievable, the dialog craptacular. The description was pretty good but that does not a good story make. There was no plot to go off of. It was just a rambling description. Not unlike this post.

Wwhat do we expect out of our editors and does it have anything to do with what the story could pay if it is accepted? It does with me. I waited eight months with Crazyhorse because they are a prestigous market and I know they get a lot of submissions from the best in the country. I wasn't going to piss that chance down my leg by bothering the editor. Now if a non-paying or token market is going to try the same thing I am going to inquire. There is no reason for it. (For all I know the response got lost in cyberspace somewhere, as what happened with a tale I sent to Black Ink Horror.)

Sorry to ramble on. Happy Thursday!


Aaron Polson said...

My longest subs right now are with New Genre and Dark Discoveries (both just over a year out). I fully expect rejects from both; those stories just aren't that good. I've seen some responses from New Genre to take upwards of 500 days. Nearly two years.


I don't read all the slush at Sand, but I know Ed eliminates about half because a)they didn't follow the guidelines or b) the first paragraph is of such poor quality it, in his words "makes his eyes bleed".

Two lessons there: a) follow the guidelines and b) make that first paragraph a doozy.

Sand has received more submissions in each successive sub period, but the number of keepers has remained about the same. I don't know what that means, but it must mean something.

Jamie Eyberg said...

That is interesting. I would think that more subs=more quality subs.

H said...

I like knowing how long I'm going to wait for a submission to be out there, but not all markets post that information. It's hard to think of some magazine responses taking up to 2 years. Sounds like they need a 'slush monkey' to plow through the stuff. (Maybe they have one or two already, though.)

Cate Gardner said...

My longest subs are with Horror D'Ouvres (it's crap and if it's ever rejected, the story will go straight into the retired bin), and Doorways. The last one is with Mort Castle - I can wait.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Mort is great at tearing apart stories. I really enjoyed the reject I got from him at Doorways. (I can't believe I just said that)

Fox Lee said...

Thanks to Duotrope, I always know when to annoy an editor. Actually, I usually tack an extra week or so on. Just to be safe!

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Man...I only have twenty subs career total, but my longest wait has been four months (for Hotel Guignol)...I suppose that could be explained by the fact that I've only been submitting for seven months or so. When I sub, I keep everything on a spreadsheet, including the date by which their states SLA hits...if they pass that date, I'll check Duotrope, and if they're past their stated timeframe AND are significantly past their Duotrope average, I'll ping them.

Danielle Birch said...

Anything over 4 or 5 months is seriously painful. 5 months is the longest I've had to wait and it was for a rejection. I do the spreadsheet thing too, I have a thing for spreadsheets and stats.

K.C. Shaw said...

I figure if Duotrope says a market has, say, 15 submissions pending, it's at least 10x that, so I figure 150 subs. That helps me keep things a little bit in perspective (and I know with some of the better paying/more prestigious markets, it's bound to be way more than 10x).

Still, it's more than just frustrating when a market consistently takes a long time to respond (I figure more than about 4 months is too long). If they're that snowed under, they need to close to submissions until they get caught up.

I'm guilty of getting fed up and simsubbing if a market has ridiculous response times.

Anonymous said...

There really is no excuse for a magazine to make you wait longer than a month or two. These markets that hold stories over a year are a joke. What happens is a combination of laziness and unprofessionalism that snowball into a mess. Like a writer who forces him or herself to write daily, an editor has to force him or herself to sort through the slush. It's obvious when an editor slacks off. Also, life's short, so simultaneously submit.

BT said...

First off, sim subbing, unless allowed specifically in a publications guidelines, is a no-no. If you are lucky enough that one day the two markets both want the story and neither allow sim subs - dont expect to get anything else published at either of them. Going against guidelines is just unprofessional on your part.

Most markets list a response time you can expect. If it goes past that by a couple of weeks, then fire off an email and ask what's going on--politely.

My longest subs are to HotSpot and to Doorways. I have since queried both and received nice emails back letting me know they are both still under consideration.

I will wait until the query deadline has doubled before sending another email but I'll never just wait.

Spread sheets are definitely the way to go. Mine is colour coded and everything ;c)