Withdrawal Symptoms

I’ve withdrawn two short story submissions today. And that is disappointing. Really, really disappointing.

The first was sent last September. I received no acknowledgement of its receipt and heard nothing when I emailed to see whether it had arrived.

The other was sent this year, in April. Again, there was no acknowledgement of its receipt and I received no response when I emailed to find out if it had reached them, and this despite the fact that the guidelines encourage writers to email in if they’re not sure their submission has been received.

As writers we know we’ll most likely have to wait a long while for a decision on our stories and poems. It’s not ideal, goodness it can be really frustrating, but we know that that’s how things are. That’s the way it’s done. That’s fine. But to hear nothing, to not even have the piece of mind that the submission is there, with the editors and/or readers – and be expected to wait months for a response – or to not even get a decision when it’s made, I think, is unreasonable and unfair.

And do you know the worst bit about it all, what’s the most disappointing? The two magazines were ones I loved to read, and I would have loved my work to be in them, even though neither pay.

Sad. But, we learn and move on. I don’t hold grudges, but I also very much doubt I’ll be sending anything their way again.

As I say, sad. And avoidable, I think. Both of those subs could have got lost in the mail and my emails might not have got through to the editors. Makes what Tania mentioned in another post’s comments the other day of having an automated response sound like a very good idea.

Sorry for the moan, it’s not something I like to do on here. I just thought I’d share because it’s all part of what it is to be a writer. Warts and all!

0 Comments on “

  1.  by  Lexi

    What can one say? Poor you. And you’re a published author!Sometimes I feel I should wear a T-shirt saying, I’M AN UNPUBLISHED WRITER, FEEL FREE TO TREAT ME WITH CONTEMPT, I’M USED TO IT’.Just on bad days, you understand.

  2.  by  Nik's Blog

    I don’t think that being published should really have anything to do with it; I’m a firm believer in work being accepted/declined on its own merits. Every published author was an unpublished writer once, and all that.What irritates is when writers aren’t treated with respect I think. I can accept that my work might not fit, be good enough, be what an editor’s after et al – all I ask is that I’m told. It’s enough to have your work tied up for three or four months while waiting for a decision, and not being told that your work has arrived seems ridiculous. If it hasn’t arrived then one could have wasted four months.The mags I withdrew my subs from today aren’t bad mags and I’m sure the eds aren’t bad eds; I just don’t think they’ve got it quite right. And I have come across MUCH worse, like the new mag I chased for over two years, who completely ignored me in that time – I discovered in the end that they hadn’t actually printed anything. I’m still waiting for their decision – I think I subbed in 2004.Sigh. Ever onwards!

  3.  by  Tania Hershman

    Oy, shame, that’s so annoying. And I know just how much time is wasted wondering if they’ve got it, emailing, waiting for the reply. Even if you write to withdraw something, you might never know whether they got that email. Urgh! I would say, though, that the one you subbed in April, you might give them a little longer, no?And yes, let’s lobby for automated email responses! And clearer guidelines – I subbed for the first time to East of the Web, got completely tangled in their online subs, not sure what they actually received in the end, although I did get an automated acknowledgement, but I think they were automatically acknowledging the email I had sent to query if they had received the submission, rather than the submission itself!Human contact would be nice, too…. Too much to ask??

  4.  by  Nik's Blog

    Well it looks as though there’s been some email cock-up between me and one of the mags. I’m off to take my writing group now but will update as soon as I can…Nik

  5.  by  Nik's Blog

    Blimey! Well I couldn’t figure out East OTW’s guidelines! Fab place to be though, isn’t it?I guess it’s a bit of a no win situation with automated responses, isn’t it? Ideally, editors would be able to acknowledge things personally, wouldn’t they, but it seems that they aren’t always able to.I wish I had a better solution.I’m rambling again, aren’t I?Nik

  6.  by  Jenn

    Grr. This is close to my heart too – try being invited to sub somewhere, twice, subbing, and withdrawing twice months later because the pieces were never acknowledged and had actually been taken on somewhere else in the meantime. I didn’t assume an acceptance just because I’d been invited, but I did assume some kind of response. I always do simultaneous subs now and assume a rejection after six weeks. I keep a spreadsheet (librarians rock…) So I know where all my pieces are at any one time.I get much less worked up about ignorant, rude lack of response now because although there are some places that I’d really like to be published in, there are hundreds of lit mags and only one me. I realise that sounds arrogant, but it helps just to treat the whole thing like applying for a job.

  7.  by  Nik's Blog

    I don’t think you’re being arrogant in the slightest, Jenn. (I have a submission spreadsheet too – does that make me cool?).Gah, I can see how that’d be really bloody frustrating; doesn’t take much to whack off an email, does it?Eeh, the life and strife of us writers, eh? Nik

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