bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann January 13, 2019 - 4:54pm

I've recently submitted a couple of stories to a few places. It's my first time submitting anything for publication. They all seem to have a 4ish month response time. Feels like forever. Anyone else submitting their work? Any advice? And what do you do while you're waiting for a response? I'm just trying to keep on writing and reading... The wait is still painful.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman January 14, 2019 - 1:36pm

Ah! I have a column going up about this very topic later in the month. But yes, I'm going through the same thing.

My advice:

-Submit to places that accept simultaneous submissions, and keep finding more. I use entropy mag's "where to submit" to find a ton of options, and I'll also look for smaller presses that have put out books with a similar flavor to mine, see if they have submission windows and when. Keep researching, keep sending it out. 

-It's old advice, but start working on the next thing. It's a great way to occupy your time. It doesn't always work because, hey, it's cool to take a break sometimes. But it can help if you just feel like you're sitting around, waiting for others to do their part. 

-Celebrate your victories, and put those victories in your hands. In other words, celebrate if you get picked up, but set up your own celebrations too. Did you put your 10th submission in? Celebrate that in a way of your choosing. 

-Keep dotting the I's and crossing the T's. Submission fatigue is real as hell, but you have to treat each submission like it's The One. Write good letters, format things correctly. 1 good submission is a better use of your time than 5 less thoughtful submissions. 

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann January 15, 2019 - 8:36pm

Thanks, helpfulsnowman. I didn't know about the Where to Submit list. I've bookmarked it. I had made up a spreadsheet for my own use with different publications, their details, and my dates of submission. Just researched and added a dozen more to my list the other day. Keeping it all organized seems to help with staying sane.

Regarding simultaneous submissions. One of the submissions was to a contest, so I feel odd about sending that one around for simultaneous submissions. The other one, I'm pretty certain the piece is too weird, so I'm interested to see what the few places I sent it to say, if anything, before I keep throwing it out there. After reading your post, I did just now send it out once more to get that story up to 5 submissions. That could be a celebration, I guess? Everyone has told me it's the one that sticks with them, but I have no expectations. It's half in broken English.

One of my "Received" submissions has changed to "In Progress" on Submittable. I am surely torturing myself. No more checking for now, I think.

It's old advice, but start working on the next thing.

My problem is that I'm constantly writing. To the point that it's just my routine; no more of a distraction than eating or sleeping. I almost feel like it would be more helpful to put writing aside and zone out. But my brain doesn't work that way. Time for a video game or Netflix binge, maybe.

helpfulsnowman's picture
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helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman January 16, 2019 - 7:48pm

Oh man, yeah, you have to stay off that Submittable as much as possible. It's so tempting to check all the time, but it's like checking a social media post or something. It's that slot machine, random reward thing that's so addicting. 

Organization is definitely key. That's a big part of the column. I keep a spreadsheet with:
Sheet 1: Potential Submission spots with dates, requirements, etc. and a column with a rating, 1-3, of how excited I'd be to see my work published there. 
Sheet 2: Completed Subs, transferred from sheet 1.
Sheet 3: Rejected subs. Not to dwell on, but to keep good records, see which places I might try with another piece in the future. That page lets me delete all those emails. 
Sheet 4: Submission spots that aren't right for me for whatever reason. Saves me looking into them multiple times (I have a terrible memory).

Harry Nill's picture
Harry Nill from Greece is reading Rant January 22, 2019 - 2:06pm

Hi, concerning submissions... I have been thinking about it for a while now and it might be time for me to submit my fiction short stories for publishing to a magazine or something. As people with more experience, what's your advice? Where should I start? What do I need? Any recommendations on where to submit? In case it matters to your answer, I usually try to experiment in my writing and my themes are usually dark.
Thanks in advance.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann January 22, 2019 - 8:56pm

I only started submitting in December, so I haven't got much more experience than yourself. All you really need is the work you want to submit, a brief cover letter, some places to submit to that publish similar writing, and a good attitude toward rejection.

"Any recommendations on where to submit?"

If you write genre fiction, the publications that I'm submitting to may not be appropriate for your writing. I write literary fiction. I can't really tell what you write based on your description. Mine is also experimental. Experimental is often literary but not necessarily, so I don't feel confident saying one way or another. Can you explain more or maybe give us a sample?

You should research manuscript formatting and put the work you want to submit into the standard format. I Googled "manuscript format short story" and found examples that way. A lot of the places I've submitted to charge a small reading fee. One didn't charge a fee at all. Of those that charged, the lowest was $2 and the highest was $13 (or it might've been $18, can't remember). Make sure you read the guidelines of the publication you're submitting to. They will tell you if you should send your script in the mail (with a self-addressed stamped envelope aka "SASE"), if they accept online submissions, when they accept submissions, if they want a detailed cover letter, or if simultaneous submission is okay with them. The online submissions I've done have all been through the website Submittable. Seems popular among literary journals. I think it was free to make an account.

Most of what I've figured out has been through Googling. I found this helpful.

As I said, I made a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. It seems like staying organized from the start will save a lot of hassle, and the spreadsheet is also serving as my list of publications, the dates they accept submissions, their requirements, if they pay and how much, etc. I also have columns for when I submitted and what their typical response time is.

"Where should I start?"

I started with researching places that publish literary fiction. Do some research and make a list of places that publish whatever genre you write in. My first project was basically the spreadsheet. It doesn't commit you to anything. You're just making a list. Nice and easy and not scary. I made the list, I researched each one, and then I kind of built up steam from there and actually submitted to them.

Helpfulsnowman will probably be more helpful than me.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 23, 2019 - 10:06pm

My advice: assume it'll get rejected the second after hitting SEND so you're not disappointed when it is. (Seriously.)

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann February 15, 2019 - 8:34pm

So much rejection today. So much. Glad to be stoned reading this latest rejection. I don't know how I feel yet. (: I have no feelings.

TheScrivener's picture
TheScrivener from Seattle is reading short stories February 20, 2019 - 11:25am

Thuggish is totally right. ALWAYS. ASSUME. REJECTION.  it is the total beatdown. getting published is basically 1/3 talent 1/3 hard work and 1/3 submitting like a maniac. 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 20, 2019 - 8:44pm

I'm with you both on that one.

The column I was talking about went up a bit back.

I think it's one of those things. There's a tiny amount of luck out there to go around, so you just have to keep going until you get a little more than your fair share.