Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Unheard Voice

Here's my rant for today. Magazines that never, ever respond to submissions.

Literary magazines have quite the reputation for putting themselves first and writers last. For example, magazines that demand "no simultaneous submissions." Simultaneous submissions are when you have your short story under consideration at more than one magazine at one time.

From the writer's point of view, literary submission is a numbers game. You're dealing with all sorts of variables in the journey toward getting a home for your short story. You're dealing with a massive volume of other talented writers' stories also vying for just a few slots in upcoming issues; you're dealing with editors' tastes, which, let's face it, are often subjective. So first of all, that's one very good reason why magazines' demanding "NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS" kind of means you, as a writer, have anything but the upper hand. When you have your story at only one magazine for consideration,for six months or whatever the response time is, there goes the numbers game.

So, what's quite possibly worse, is when you send your story to one market, and never receive any response. No rejection, and no response to your queries. What's with that? If writers are giving the benefit of the doubt, leaving their story to one market at a time, how is it fair that the magazines deem themselves so "important" that writers don't deserve the benefit of a response?

Markets that I have experienced this within the last year include Pif and Exquisite Corpse. Upon posting on a Zoetrope discussion board about Pifsome time ago, I learned that other writers had had the same experience. So those are likely markets to avoid -- save yourself the trouble of waitingsix months or more for a response and never receiving one.

I'm sure the "no simultaneous submissions" rule is one that could be expounded upon at a later time. For now, I wanted to put out a "writer beware" shout out about a few markets that don't favor writers with responses.

Thanks for reading,



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