At this point I’ve submitted to a lot of different magazines, and here are my top four favourite things that make the process easier :
- An email receipt of submission from the market.
- A clear guideline about how long an author should wait before querying a submission.
- An email if the story makes it through the first round and is under consideration.
- A response to a query about a story’s status.
Number 1 almost never applies to markets that only accept postal submissions, but I really love it when I get a quick email from a market to say that my story has been received safely. The second item is not always covered in the submission guidelines of a market, and it would certainly help me a great deal if I knew when I should query the status of a submission. Of course, if number 1 occurred I’m less liable to worry that my story has disappeared into the ether, and I’m likely to give the publication more leeway.
The third item makes sense to me, but I’m surprised at the number of editors who just hold on to the story longer rather than informing the author, via a simple email, that his/her work has been sent up the chain of command. This would also cut down on emails from authors wondering what’s up with their story. Finally, I appreciate that editors are busy, but responding to an email query is good form.
I don’t see the point in complaining about how long the submission merry-go-round takes: I’m aware that most editors are overworked and underpaid, and I have a great deal of sympathy for their plight. Editors care about stories, and potentially could publish my writing. I respect them as a default. I strive to adhere to their guidelines for submission so the process can be as easy as possible for both of us.
I’m patient. I’m even more patient with markets that employ the above four criteria. And kudos to the publications that follow them already!