Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Submissions and Slush Pile Update #3

Six weeks into our 2019 reading period, we’ve settled down to a pretty consistent average of seven new submissions daily. Of these—

• 60% are first-round no-comment rejects, for any of a number of reasons.

• 10% are set aside waiting for me to write a personal rejection, because the story deserves more than just a “Thanks, but we can’t use this story at this time.”

• 5% are sitting in the Probably Accept bin, but we haven’t made the final final final decisions yet.

At some point I’ll start writing about the 60% and the 10%, because there’s much to be said about these stories and why we chose not to accept them that might be of value to other writers. Until there’s time to do that, though, here’s one quick hint: we reject stories, not writers. Just because one story you sent us got a quick form rejection, that doesn’t mean the next story you send us might not be exactly what we’re looking for.

Conversely, getting a personal comment or even a critique doesn’t mean we love you and you can send us just anything the next time. Sometimes even well-known authors—sometimes even authors who’ve had the cover story in a previous issue—still get form rejections.

Reading unsolicited submissions is a lot like panning for gold. We need to sift through a lot of gravel to find those rare 24-karat nuggets, and the faster we discard what we clearly can’t use, the more time we have to focus on the stories that we might be able to use.

Speaking of which: no doubt you’ve noticed that the numbers mentioned above don’t account for 25% of the submissions we’ve received. These are stories that survived the first readers and are now in The Horrible Limbo of Second and Third Reads.

Where I’ll admit things were getting bogged down for a bit, but I’m pleased to report that last week we added three new second readers to the crew, so things should resume flowing smoothly.



Mark Keigley said...

Welp, I suspect that I should run my latest up the Stupefying flagpole....

James Rumpel said...

Hey, I think that’s my story going into the fire!