10.20.2008

Simultaneous Submissions and Confederate Ghosts


This has been the busiest year for me in terms of submitting short fiction. I've written eleven stories since last Christmas break. Although part of me is tempted to flood the marketplace and wait for bites, I've developed a rotation of a dozen or so magazines (depending on genre) that pay semi-professional and professional rates. I've chosen these markets as a result of a number of things: quality, longevity, diversity in authors, professionalism and pay rates.

Here, by the way, are the two best resources I've found for up-to-date market postings:


About half of these magazines don't accept simultaneous submissions, and I've been careful to observe that stipulation. I've read in the blogotron that lots of writers look the other way on this rule. They flood the market and beg forgiveness later. And, while it can feel like a long time to wait (I'm mired in a seven-month wait from an admirable market--the piece was passed up the food chain, and I'm going to put it back out there the day after Halloween), I don't want to tick off any editors.

I've read that's a naive position to take. I've read that editors abuse writers, so why shouldn't it be a two-way street?

Simple: professionalism.

These people work long hours, and the great majority of these magazines are born out of a simple love for speculative fiction. I don't know how much they make in their positions, but I know Cemetery Dance receives over 500 manuscripts per month. I imagine those numbers are similar for Weird Tales and much higher for Fantasy & Science Fiction. That's a lot to consider.

But I suppose I observe the simultaneous submissions policy for two reasons:


  • I want to work with these people for the long term. I want them to understand that I respect them and their business.

  • It keeps me writing. I had a dilly of an idea today on a jog, and I'll get to work on it soon. Eleven short stories hardly qualifies as prolific, but I'm spending a lot of time with a novel as well.

So what do any active submitters feel about the policy? Any opinions, one way or the other? Any awkward stories out there?

As an aside, the heat has finally broken out here on the peninsula. We had cool air and low humidity, and I jogged out to the Round Marsh. And you know, when it cools down like this in October and the smell of woodsmoke is thick on the air, you can almost see the Confederate Ghosts in the mangrove swamps, slogging through the muck on their futile mission.

Look closely. They may not be dressed in Confederate greys where you are, but America is filled with ghosts and this is their busy season...

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