Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Waiting Games

Since I'm still at home sick so regular day-to-day life has come grinding to a halt, I thought I'd just bitch and complain about submissions that are out right now.

I had mentioned before that October's sort of "D-Day" in terms of responses to a bunch of my submissions being due. I have to say that I have three that are late in responding and I'm annoyed. (This doesn't count McSweeney's which I consider just a total non-responder.) I sent a query to one magazine already -- but was a little miffed to find that the only address I could find to contact them was a "submissions" address. So I got an auto-generated response: "Thanks for your submission!" it chirped. I found that a bit annoying.

And, as I've already revealed that sometimes I'll take a chance with a story and send to a big name that I don't expect to get anywhere with -- one of the late responders is The New Yorker. (I also decided to give them a whirl when I realized they do accept emailed submissions now.) In my past experience, magazines like New Yorker and The Atlantic tend to get back to you fast. You know, it doesn't take them long to throw some form rejection in an envelope and all that. ("Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.") So... I'm a little annoyed. After all, don't they have a vast army of peons weeding through the slush pile?

Anyway. I guess here in a bit I'll just start resubmitting these pieces regardless. For now I just sit around being peevish and sick and annoyed.

Write on!



Blogger maikopunk said...

i've been thinking about the term slushpile. all that carefully submitted work in manila envelopes (for the most part) waiting to be rejected by some unpaid intern. kinda tells you how much some magazines value undiscovered writers.
for me, i find october/novemeber a flurry of contests. see the announcement, think i should write something, or do i have something? then promptly foreget altogether.
hope you are feeling better.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

If it makes you feel any better, I'm waiting on the New York, too (piece submitted in late July). I guess they just have a ton of great work they're digesting!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Hebdomeros said...

Someone recently suggested to try sending to anthologies and contests. My friend's theory is that they have more define deadlines and get back to you quicker. I may give it a try after some hunting around online for some.

2:32 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Maikopunk - yeah, really, "slushpile" is such an unattractive word -- like we're all slush, ew.

Jen, you submitted in July eh? That was way before I did. Have you queried yet? I always thought they were pretty timely, but maybe they've let go of some of their vast army of peons. Hmm... I like your theory, though, that it's all such great work! Especially yours and mine! :)

Hebdomeros, you and Maikopunk both mentioned contests. We had some spirited discourse about contests here over the last couple months. Like, the whole idea of reading fees... I know that Fiction Warehouse is supposedly running a contest right now, and Night Train is (the latter has a reading fee)... Having taken my stab at Glimmer Train's recent contest I am feeling a bit burnt (especially since it took 5 months to report back) but yeah, at least they do have true deadlines to get back to you.

5:53 PM  
Blogger M said...

Reading your conversation made me wonder, what would you look for in a submission, if it was your job to go through piles and piles of work written by other people - regardless of whether or not you were payed good money to do it? Would you become desensitized, and not pay much attention to it after a while? I imagine some people just read the first few lines and if they're not "hooked" then and there they must just move on to the next.

11:51 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hi Gatochy,

That's what I have always heard happens -- that if a story doesn't hook an editor with the first page, that often your manuscript just gets tossed aside. I do think that the idea of an onslaught of manuscripts with deadlines probably does encourage the editors to be pretty brutal in that first few minutes...

5:41 PM  

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