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Monday, July 22, 2019

Submissions and Slush Pile Update #4

Twelve weeks into our 2019 reading period, things aren’t quite where I wanted them to be, but on the whole, I’m cautiously optimistic. New submissions continue to show up in an unsteady stream: we’ll see fifteen new stories one day and two the next. The weekends are particularly submissions-intensive. Thus far we’re mostly keeping up with the flow. As of this morning there are:
  • 29 stories either with a first reader or waiting to be assigned to a first reader
  • 19 stories waiting to be rejected (form)
  • 16 stories waiting for me to write a personal rejection
  • 12 stories waiting for me to send an acceptance letter
  • and here's the blockage: 65 stories in the holding tank, either with a second or third reader or in the “Well, do we buy it?” bin. Of these, 53 have been here more than 30 days, and 25 have been here more than 60. 
Though now that I look more closely at the report, I see that at least 15 of those stories should be in one of the “to be rejected” bins, while another 10 or so should be in the “to be accepted” bin.

I’ll take responsibility for this. If I didn’t insist on at least skimming every story that came in here, we’d have a much faster turnaround. But then, isn’t getting me to read your story, and perhaps tender my opinion on it or offer some advice, the whole point of submitting to Stupefying Stories?

My weakness is the personal rejections. If I could just muzzle that little inner voice of mine that wants to offer critiques and suggestions when I see that a writer is getting so close to writing a great story, and if they’d just address this one problem...

No. Memo to self: I’m here to sell books, not teach creative writing. Must. Resist. Temptation. To Teach.

7 comments:

Mark Keigley said...

You do GREAT personal rejections by the way. Even a ONE-LINER can make all the difference between realizing you're almost there.

GuyStewart said...

Suggestion: Everyone and their sister's brother's neighbor's dog has an online "writing school".

Why not offer something like that? You'd avoid having to read "everyone's" stories and maybe make a little Paypal on the side. You've got all the attractiveness there -- "award-winning"; "executive editor"; "helped thousands" (well, maybe hundreds); "President/Secretary/VP/??? of the SFFWA"; probably more than one person willing to write a "glowing endorsement" (I would!); I'm sure there's something I've forgotten.

I'm pretty sure the foray into that idea would satisfy (or terrify) you!

Guy

M. David Blake said...

My sticking point (and Achilles heel) was that I insisted on personally reading every submission, in its entirety, before rendering a decision. The plus was that this netted a few stories that then received exceptional reviews, when they might not otherwise have been deemed publishable; the minus was that I lost too much time in the process, holding out for "exceptional review"-worthy, and lost any number of good, honestly entertaining stories in the process…

… all of which goes in my "learn from mistakes" column. If I ever tackle another editorial gig, I'll certainly rememberl a few errors to avoid.

M. David Blake said...

Thousands by proxy, at the very least, if you include submissions to all Rampant Loon publications past and present.

ray p daley said...

I recall during the previous call in 2018, I got an almost. You said "If I get time, I'll give you a tip which will turn this into a saleable story."

That time never came. I would literally kill (Military vet, quite capable of same) for advice like that.

~brb said...

@ray - Oh yeah, "Mushnik's Guitar." I should be able to exhume my notes for that one -- next week, after I've got issue #23 buttoned up and out the door.

ray p daley said...

Thanks for letting me know! Something to look forward to.