Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Why Wait?

Patricia G posted the following in the 'Got A Question?' section.

Can you or anyone else tell me why, once an unsolicited story is submitted to one magazine, should you wait (up to 16 weeks!) before submitting elsewhere? I've submitted several stories to WW, waited and waited and never heard back from them - not even an email to say they're not interested.

Waiting is frustrating, isn't it, Patricia? I quite understand why writers are tempted to send the same story out to more than one magazine at a time, especially if it's topical or seasonal.

There are several reasons for not doing this. Editors don't want to spend time considering a story only for you to withdraw it because you've had it accepted elsewhere. It's possible that by the time you inform them of this, they'll have worked on it and scheduled it for publication, so making a change will be extremely inconvenient. 

It's also possible that a story will be published by two magazines at the same time (stories of mine have sometimes appeared in print before I was aware they'd been accepted). This would be very embarrassing for both editors and if it happened because the author had chosen not to follow the guidelines, I doubt they'd want to publish more work from them.

If the story is rejected you may be told why, or you may read through and spot something that needs attention yourself. You can then correct or improve it and submit it elsewhere – unless you've already sent the original to that magazine.

Can anyone think of other reasons?

With regard to Woman's Weekly, they do usually respond to all submissions. If you've been accepted by them in the past and so submit by email, the response will be emailed. If you haven't yet had an acceptance, so posted your story, they will respond using your sae and will return rejected stories to you. The recent change of offices may be causing a delay, but if you've already waited longer than 16 weeks, I suggest you contact them to check the story was received and ask if it is still under consideration.


Lisa Macgregor said...

I agree, it can feel like a lifetime waiting for a response, especially if you've only got one or two stories out there. I think the best advice I read is to have lots of stories out at the same time. I know it's a challenge but if you can get into a routine where you've got 20 or so stories out there at any given time then you should be getting responses back every week or two instead of every 16 weeks. Plus you also feel less dejected if you get a knock back because you know you've got lots more possibilities for an acceptance. (Hope all that rambling made sense :o) x

Patsy 2 said...

Thank you, Patsy, for your reply to my question.
In view of what you said, would you advise always to include a large SAE along with any submission for its return? I ask because, up till now, I've simply asked the editor to email me with their decision. I can cope with rejections (just about); it's the never hearing anything at all I find so dispiriting.
I'm working my way through 'From Story Idea to Reader' and would heartily recommend it to all writers in need of a guiding hand through the daunting process of developing a brainwave into publishable material.
All the very best, Patricia G

Paige Elizabeth Turner said...

Excellent rationale by Lisa. And inspiring, for if contributors do not have a repertoire of 20-plus 'submittable' stories, they now have a reason to flesh out some more.

I think though, we are stuck with the machinations of the magazine industry. They will see no reason to change their long-standing formula, so it is up to us to work the system with our best resources. Lisa coined one particular resource perfectly: write, write, and write!

Lisa Macgregor said...

Hi Patsy 2, sorry for piping up here as I know you directed your question to Patsy, but in pretty much all the magazine guidelines they ask you to include a sae so your manuscript can be returned. I think they only ever email regular contributors. This will probably explain why you've never had a response from Woman's Weekly.