A place for writing off-the-cuff
|In keeping with my "Dear Me" goals for 2011, I've been submitting my short fiction to literary magazines. As outlined in my letter, I made my goal two-fold: I want to be pubbed in a lit. mag., and I want to sell a story. Being able to call myself a paid author (even if we're only talking about pennies ) would be the coolest thing, in my eyes.
Two days ago I received an acceptance email from the editors of Slice Magazine for my short story "In the Wake of Silence." I was thrilled!! But, there was a catch...
Slice is a nonpaying market. Who cares, right? It's a tough literary magazine to get into. But....my story was on simultaneous submission to a batch of paying markets, too. One of those markets, called Independent Ink Magazine, had my submission for 258 days -- far longer than the usual 120 day turnaround time cited in their guidelines.
According to Indinkmag.com, if you don't receive a rejection from them, it means they haven't read your story yet, or they read it and loved it, but it doesn't fit with the issue currently being put together. In case of the latter, it would be accepted for a future issue.
I emailed the editor at Indie Ink and explained there was interest in my story, and asked if it had been read by their editorial staff yet. Within thirty minutes I received a response by the founding editor, who told me the story was short listed by his staff and had been passed on to him for approval. He apologized for being so far behind, due to the incredible number of submissions the magazine had received. He said he was reading my story and would give me an answer by the evening's end.
However, two days later when I didn't hear from him, I decided I would grant first publishing rights to Slice. It felt like the right decision, and I'm thrilled to know my story will be included in the Spring 2012 issue. A "Dear Me" goal accomplished!
I sent the Indie Ink editor a follow-up email, thanking him for the interest they'd shown my story but explaining that I was withdrawing the submission due to its acceptance by another market. He responded with equal professionalism and kindness, encouraging me to submit more of my work and apologizing for "dropping the ball."
I learned a lot during this experience, about professional communication and protocol when dealing with industry insiders. And most importantly, I learned that in this business, my art -- my stories -- are a product, and that editors are in the market for products that maintain the integrity of the magazines they produce and that will sell those magazines. It's not personal, you know? That really takes the sting out of rejection, don't you think?
There is a great article about the literary magazine industry, written by a lit. mag. editor. Here's the link: What Editors Want; A Must-Read For Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines I highly recommend it!