Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reaction Time.

There are some wonderful online tools available for researching publishing markets.

These days I use The Grinder. Its search functions make it quite easy to find current markets that align with the story for which I'm looking for a home. I can easily locate data on acceptance and rejection rates, payment, SFWA accreditation and so on. But for me, one of the most valuable functions is the ability to look at a market's response times.

Asimov's has been doing well. Their responses in the past few months have dropped from a few months to a few days. I've heard a whisper Sheila Williams has a slush reader on board now. And although I've now gone from a couple of personal rejections back to form rejections (the new slushreader obviously doesn't understand my work - ha!), it's wonderful to be able to send that piece out again within a very short time.

Analog, on the other hand, is currently still up around the four month mark. They were only a few months when Stan Schmidt was editor, but when Trevor Quachri took over, it shot up to over six months, and for that reason I didn't submit there for a long time.

There's another magazine I've been considering for some time now. It's not pro-level, but has a decent reputation and publishes some good stories by decent names. They don't pay very much - simply a token payment - but I was fine with that. It's not always about the money. Sometimes it's about the resume building.

But I was shocked when I conducted my research and discovered their response time was close to eight months.

Eight months!

Imagine I write a story and send it to them today. Just before Christmas they may respond with a form rejection, saying 'thanks for your submission but we cannot use this story at this time. We wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.'

Now I've had some stories that were rejected six or seven times before being accepted. If every market was like this, my story might not see light of day for five years or more.

On the other hand, let's imagine they choose to buy it. After eight months. It's typical for publication to occur six to eighteen months after purchase. So, it is possible I could sell it and it might be published two and a half years after submission.

All for twenty dollars or so.

Sorry, but an eight month response for a token market is ridiculous.

Yes, writers complain about response times. Publishers complain about writers submitting their stories to multiple markets at the same time. But I think you can see why some do it.

Me? I've permanently crossed that market off my list and choose to submit elsewhere.

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