Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Just a little moan...

I've recently heard of a magazine I won't name, which has held on to stories for 8 or 10 months before responding (rejections, but with a 'we like your style, please try us again' note attached).

I have to say, I think six months is the longest we should have to wait for a response. Many writers would give up after no response for 8-10 months and would assume the story was lost or that they'd missed logging the rejection. You wouldn't blame them for subbing the story elsewhere.

Come on mag editors. We try our hardest to please you at all times - in return, please try to respond within six months. Pretty pleeeease!

52 comments:

Ceka said...

Oh, don't I know THAT little moan! It's a bore, but they're the buyers after all and unless you are TA or DG or possibly even GR, you get to wait as long as it takes them to get through the pile. The longest I ever waited (for a 'no') was ten and a half months. If we wanna get published, we just gotta put up with it and keep sending anyway!

Glynis Scrivens said...

It's been an eye-opener having Billy Higgins at The Weekly News. When you send a story he acknowledges by return email. And he gives you a yes or no within a month.
He's certainly setting other editors a shining example
Like everyone else, there are stories of mine that've sat at various magazines for more than a year

Queenie said...

The People's Friend, also, have been turning stories around within a week - the straight rejections, anyway; acceptances take longer, but not stupidly long. If they can do it, and as Glynis says TWN can too, how come the others can't? I very much doubt The Magazine That Shall Not Be Named gets more subs than The People's Friend. Maybe TMTSNBN should send their fiction editors up to Dundee for some on-the-job training!!

McKoala said...

After three months I consider it a 'no' and resubmit. It hasn't come back to bite me...yet.

Emma B said...

I agree, I would consider a piece rejected after six months and I think you have to otherwise you are sitting on something you could be sending elsewhere.

Writing is a business and to get somewhere and be sucessful at it you have to treat it like that.

Personally, after six months without a response I would approach the magazine to follow it up. I think this is reasonable after that time.

Quillers said...

One magazine, which says to assume rejection after six months, had a story of mine for eight months, then accepted it. Luckily they were the last place I'd subbed it anyway, so it hadn't been sent elsewhere.

We are the ones in the awkward position, because if we complain too much, then there are plenty of other writers quite happy to step into our place.

Olivia Ryan said...

I agree, and commiserate. My rule is to follow up after six months. But recently I've done that, only to get the response that it's still under consideration. So ... faced with a possible 'yes', I have hung on. I do think it's too long. But I don't know what the alternative is!

Tickle said...

I know how other writers feel but the mags don't do it on purpose. The editors have very few staff but get so many submissions every week - it has to take ages.
I find the best way is just to have lots of stories submitted (I currently have 34 out) and then you don't really notice the time for individual stories. It used to eat me up when I only had one or two out there but not now I have so many out.
And as Quillers so rightly says, the ball's firmly in their court - they pay so it's their say!

Diane said...

Just because it's a buyer's market, just because the ball's in their court, doesn't mean they can take the mickey like this. It's downright rude and I think they should be named and shamed because if a magazine was taking longer than 6 months (which is already very long - imagine if they asked us for a story and we took 6 months to send it), it would be the last on my sub list too, if at all.

Patsy said...

It is annoying, but ... They don't ask us to sub and they don't ask the hundreds of other writers to sub either.

Imagine if every insurance company wrote to ask if you'd like to buy their services. Would you quickly write back a polite note to each one saying no and explaining your reasons?

Rena said...

I know that magazine you refer to, Womag, that hangs on to stories for 10 months then rejects with a "like your style send more" note.
I have also waited 6 months for a response from Candis only to discover that they lost the story. I was asked to re-sub and this time received an immediate email to confirm it had arrived safely. Another six months later, and yes, you've guessed...a rejection.
There are plenty of times when I wonder why I bother - and then a lovely email arrives in my inbox saying "Yes please, we'll have this one" - and once again it's all worthwhile.

Quillers said...

Aesthetica magazine, which as far as I'm aware, didn't pay, used to cite that it would take them a year to make their decision.

Apparently they've cleaned up their act, but I think a year, for a magazine that wasn't even a professional publication, but run by someone in their spare time, really was taking the proverbial. I don't believe for one minute they'd get as many subs as the average womag.

I don't mind naming and shaming them as I've never ever written anything that they'd be likely to publish, and they don't pay (or don't pay much) so I don't sub to them anyway.

happydaze said...

Yes, I too know the magazine in question because I got a short story back after 10 months with those exact words. Unfortunately it was a seasonal story so I couldn't re-sub for a while after that. I appreciate they are the buyers but I still think its inconsiderate to sit on something for so long. Even worse is MW with their 'don't tell' policy. It's horrible not hearing back about a story,one way or another. It means more time wasting for the writer - and it takes the excitement out of subbing somehow.

penandpaints said...

Yes taking such a long time does seem unprofessional.
I just got a story back from PF in just a week! Shame it was rejected but I was still impressed with that speedy turn around. They have the right idea. The Weekly News is pretty quick too.
I feel rather out of the loop as I'm not 100 percent sure which mag you're referring to, but I've narrowed it down to two likely suspects! Haha

Anonymous said...

I'm really curious to know which mag this is you've mentioned, Womag!

Anonymous said...

If I haven't had a confirmation email from the Weekly News (I sent a story in early November), should I be following up?

Simon Whaley said...

I appreciate that editors are busy people. But then, I'm busy too. I just like to know the decision. It really wouldn't bother me if an editor wrote across my story in handwritten pen, a four letter expletive before sticking it back in the SAE that I ALWAYS supply. At least I know where I stand, and I know I am safe to submit elsewhere.

I've just chased a magazine recently for a story submitted in August 2007. Okay, it's come back rejected now, but at least I can do something with it.

But as Quillers says - there are plenty more people happy to step into out shoes. That's the nature of the game. I just hope that magazines who take longer than 6 months to make a decision are prepared for the extra work involved in answering our 'chaser' letters. But then, if we didn't issue chaser letters, the editors would have more time to read and make a decision on out work!

Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Jeeze oh what magazine is it?? It's no the blinking gistapo you know

Anonymous said...

Woman's Weekly (note how I'm posting this anonymously...)

Lydia said...

I agree with much of what has been said including that it might be a buyer's market but more than 6 months is taking the...
However, I also agree that the only answer is to have LOADS out there. I know when your writing time is limited this is difficult but it does help. Then when, as happened to me recently I got one of those lovely "Yes" emails, I thought: oh, I forgot I sent them that! I have also recently chased a MW they've had for 8 months. If I don't hear back, I'll probably resub. which I'm sure will be O.K. I don't think there's any point in getting worked up about it: editors are all busy and we all work differently! Let's just all vow to bombard them with more excellent stuff they can't turn down - that way 12 months from now we might all be celebrating lots of sales!!
www.lydiajones.co.uk/blog

Anonymous said...

Anon, who asked about a confirmation email from The Weekly News. If you sent it in November, no,you probably won't get a confirmation email. I think Jill was still working up till about then, or was passing stuff on to Billy, and she never sends a confirmation.

Billy always does. It's just a different style of working.

Rena said...

The truth is, Anonymous, that it could be any magazine, so there is little point in bad mouthing any particular one when we don’t know the reason why it sometimes takes months for a decision. Their slush piles could be mountainous, half the editorial staff could be off sick – or maybe they just don’t have enough staff in the first place to deal more efficiently with our subs.
The trick is to have enough stories in circulation so that long delays don’t really matter.
The magazine editorial teams are not there for our convenience and with so many writers honing their skills and producing better and better stories, the competition is getting tougher all the time.
I do believe, though, that if your story is good enough, and has been targeted to the right (researched) market, then the acceptances will come.

Gina said...

WW is usually better than this. 3 months max. Maybe your ms fell foul of the postal strikes?

Frances Garrood said...

My experience of Woman's Weekly is that they either (a) reject the story, quite quickly; (b) accept it, again fairly quckly; or (c) hang on to it for ages in case they find a slot for it. They really do have the upper hand as they receive hundreds of stories and pay very well.

Anonymous said...

It's not really fair to complain about how long they hang on to stories when they've just decided to publish more FSs than last year as well as having to find two stories each week and a serial too, which in itself must be a full time job. As far as I know there are only two people working there full time and their support only comes in a couple of days a week.

Kath said...

Further to Anonymous's reply to Anonymous re the Weekly News, I've had emailed acknowledgements from Jill, especially when nearing the point at which she went on her maternity leave. Could it be possible that your story arrived just as she left and has somehow been overlooked? Might be worth checking, especially as they're usually so quick.

Tickle said...

On a slightly different note - what's the longest writers have waited to see their stories in print? My longest was 5 years! It was with My Weekly and they were waiting for the artwork to go with the story. In those days they paid on acceptance so it wasn't so bad.

Olivia Ryan said...

Five years, Tickle?! Wow, bet you were glad they paid up front! My longest was almost three years ... long enough! Story was accepted in August 2002 (and paid for) - and not published till April 2005. I'd forgotten about it by then!

Quillers said...

Womag, sorry to hijack this post, but I wanted to point you and everyone else to this fab blog post by Sue Moorcroft on writing magazine serials.

http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/writing-serials/#comments

vismum said...

Another hijack ... sorry - I don't know how to start a new thread. Can I have some advice on negotiating payments? I sold my first story - a one pager - to WW and got £100. I sold my second to TAB and they are paying £200. I have a couple subbed to Claire at WW and am wondering what to say if she comes back to me with an offer of £100 again. Does anyone have any experience in this field? Thanks.

Quillers said...

Vismum, I don't think it's possible to negotiate higher payments. Each magazine has its own rates, and just because one magazine has paid more for a story, does not mean that another magazine will also stump up that fee for stories submitted to them.

The truth is that as with us complaining about waiting times with very little we can do about it, there are plenty more writers out there willing to sell their stories for the set rate, so if we were to argue, then the editor would just give the space to another writer.

I don't know if well-established writers - for example novelists commissioned to write shorts for mags - are able to negotiate.

Olivia Ryan said...

Quillers is right, Vismum. What you get offered is what you get! It's different for all magazines, and not only that - it can also be different depending on how often you have sold stories to a particular mag. So if you keep on being successful with them, you MIGHT get offered more. I get 3 or 4 times as much from one magazine as I do from another; that's just the way it is. Well done on your successes.

Anonymous said...

What would be useful is if we knew roughly how much each mag paid for a story. Maybe a chart starting with TAB and falling down to Yours maybe. I am writing full-time now but if I want to try a new market, I am a bit wary in case they pay peanuts. There is such a wide range on that payments. I can get over £300 from one mag but for the same story I might only get £80. Like with the serials. Do PF for instance pay more for a serial instalment than a story?

womagwriter said...

Hi Anon
Some info on pay rates here:
http://womagwriter.blogspot.com/2007/06/pay-rates.html
It's a bit old but I don't think pay rates have changed much since I compiled that listing.

Vismum said...

Thanks everyone for your advice with this.

Tickle said...

Hi thanks to everyone for their really useful comments. This is the best site for finding anything out. I've been selling stories since 1990 and you often hear how much harder it is now than in the past. But one thing makes it easier - the internet - and to find great support on a site like this.

SarahE said...

Re Lydia's comment - how is 'bombarding the editors' going to elicit a faster response time if the eds are already overworked? Surely the key is to produce the highest quality not the highest quantity? That's the only sure fire way to get your work in print.If we all bombard the editors as you suggest then there is a real danger that they will close the floodgates once and for all (MW is a case in point.) Just a note of caution.

Bernadette said...

There is a middle ground between sending the magazines anything you have lying round regardless of whether it is good enough/suitable and sending one story out at a time and waiting (im)patiently for its return.

Although the competition is fierce, there are still a number of outlets to submit to and having a few good, suitable stories with each (if you can write to all of their styles) isn't bombarding in my view. And given that the better known writers often have several stories in one issue, it's certainly the way they approach it.

SarahE said...

Dear Bernadette - I was not advocating only sending one (!) quality story, merely not 'bombarding' them. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to email stories to magazines in these days of technology?

womagwriter said...

Depends on the magazine, Anonymous. Some accept emailed subs, some don't. Click on the magazine guideline links on the right, that will tell you submission guidelines and requirements for each magazine.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, gatecrashing with a small inquiry. Is anybody still having trouble getting paid?

Tickle said...

To the 'anonymous' that asked about slow payments I'd say yes, it's still a problem. One of my stories was published at the beginning of Jan but I haven't been paid yet. I THINK some mags are paying at the end of the following month, after the story appears. So if it appears in June, you'll get paid at the end of July. So I'm expecting payment at the end of Feb for the one out beginning of Jan - not bad as it was accepted in August last year! It's my living and it's not like I can say to the bank I'll pay Jan's mortgage at the end of Feb when I get paid! But there, I love writing and wouldn't want to do anything else.

Gina said...

Ok, so talk of the devil. I got my story back from WW today (11 Feb) submitted on 03 Sep. Rejected - but at least they sent it back!

Tickle said...

Update on my 'bad' experience with the South African mag YOU. I had two stories returned 'unread and deleted' last week. Just to say I had a lovely email from the fiction ed Cecilia apologising and asking me to re-sub. I was thrilled!

Anonymous said...

Can I just ask how people sub stories to the Swedish mag Allers? The website has phone numbers for contact but no email. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Hi all, Sorry for not contributing lately I've had trouble signing on.

Can I suggest to those new to selling thier work that they discuss payment right at the beginiing of the commission. It may mzke you feel comfortable but it is the professional thing to do.

I also write articles and when the commissioning editor comes back to me with a yes I automatically ask the fee and when it will be paid if it is not mentioned.

If the fee is low just ask for more, they can only say no! Also, if you are offered less than other writers are paid say so. This is a business after all not a hobby.

I also got rather fed up of sending stories into the black hole known as You magazine and sent a rather terse email to the editor. I had nothing to lose. I can't teach students how to sell work and recommend markets that ignore writers. I've had stories sitting with her for two years or more and that's after being published with them in the past.

She replied within two days and apologised!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I forgot to say that the last post was from me - Elaine Everest

Nishant said...

If we wanna get published, we just gotta put up with it and keep sending anyway!

Work From Home

Anonymous said...

Aesthetica Magazine doesn't actually accept submissions anymore, and haven't done for over three years. Also, I think it might be best to check out the updated information - the magazine has actually re-branded over the past 12 months. Aesthetica is a professional magazine run by a team of people not by anyone in their spare time. It's actually distributed widely throughout the UK and in 15 countries worldwide, and has 60,000 readers. Perhaps it might be worth looking at the website to get the most current details about the publication.

womagwriter said...

Hello Anonymous.

I wasn't talking about Aesthetica in this post. In fact, I don't think I have ever mentioned Aesthetica in this blog, nor am I likely to, given that the blog is about writing short stories for the popular women's magazines.

womagwriter said...

Ah, someone mentioned Aesthetica in the comments on this blog. I guess that's what you're referring to, Anon. Thanks for the update on how Aesthetica is run.