Thursday, March 11, 2010

Detailed Slush Update & More

We are still accepting requested rewrites until March 15th, so the final totals for our April issue may change, but here are the stats so far:

We have received 277 submissions. Of those 277 submissions, we have accepted 1, held 6, sent 16 back for rewrites, and had 4 withdrawals. So far, we have rejected 209 submissions. We have 14 submissions before the editors (dated February 25th and 26th) and have 27 left in our inbox.

For the July issue, we have received 16 submissions to date, but we will not be reviewing any of them until we have finalized the April issue.


It's been a while since I blogged about some of our slush pile complaints. Overall, the submissions have been following our guidelines, which is a huge relief. I've been training a new administrative assistant, and the slush pile has been kind to her in terms of correct subject lines and necessary submission information.

My complaints this quarter have mainly been with attachments. I'd like to think that every prolific author has heard of standard manuscript formatting, so in this day and age when I open attachments that don't follow standard formatting, I have to conclude that the author is either new to submitting their work, or they just don't care. It's unprofessional, and it makes me shake my head every time.

Other notables this quarter are authors that submit more than three stories at a time. It doesn't particularly matter to us if you sent seven stories back-to-back, but I think these authors are doing themselves a disservice. Most authors have a distinct style, so the editors can tell that stories were written by the same author. If all seven stories have the same problems, the editors get weary of making the same comments, and the feedback they give isn't as in-depth as it might have been had they not grown bored with seeing everything in the author's trunk.

Do yourself a favor - don't submit a bunch of stories all on the same day. Space them out. That way, you're not getting a bunch of denial letters in your inbox at one time, either, since we generally send rejection letters in chunks.

And finally, we've sent back sixteen stories for rewrites this past quarter, which is unprecedented for us. It's our effort to give the authors a better chance of being published in the future. With the raise in our pay rates comes a decrease in the number of stories we'll publish each quarter, which means we can only hold on to the best stories for voting.

That also means stories that we may have sent back for rewrites before will be rejected outright. If a story doesn't have enough redeeming qualities, we won't ask to see it again, even if the editors gave several "maybe" votes. It's a judgement call - usually my judgement call. If I think a story can be easily fixed and the editors enjoyed the story, we may request a rewrite. Otherwise, we'll pass on it and hope our feedback helps the story get published elsewhere.

To give yourself the best chance at publication:

Only send us your best stories.
Proofread your stories before submission.
Use standard manuscript formatting.
Follow all submission guidelines.
Space out your submissions.


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