Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Live Site/Dead Market

This economy is knocking over businesses like empty water bottles in a wind storm and literary publications are no exception. As someone who has worked with literary zines, I sympathize with those who have birthed and nurtured their babies or taken over for others, only to see them tank. However, I can't sympathize with them not taking the time to add a sentence to their websites or not replying to submitters within a reasonable time.

Last month, within the same week, I received word from two publications that had gone under, but only after my submission had sat with them for nearly a year. Always one to second guess myself, I visited their websites to see if I'd missed something, like a line stating, this journal is no longer accepting submissions. Instead, both sites were filled with information about future issues, contests, and more.

As difficult as it is to get published these days, it is downright cruel to leave submitters hanging, especially, as with the market I submitted to, they do not accept simultaneous submissions. If someone can't take the time to go into the office and staple a simple notice to submissions before stuffing them in an SASE, they can at least take the few minutes required to update the website. Today in a forum I frequent some posters mentioned a market with an online submission system that appeared to be dead–-again, with nothing noted on the website. How hard can it be to set an online sub system to automatically reply to submitters?

It used to be that a long wait was a good sign. Today, it more likely means the market is defunct and you don't know it. I'm sorry to see so many publications biting the dust, but I do think we writers deserve the respect of at least being notified.


Rebecca Nazar said...

The same thing happened to me recently--very disappointing.

I also wish all editors would set up auto responses, informing the writer they received a submission. Twice I've waited and waited and waited only to discover my manuscript never arrived--very disappointing. Thankfully, both were accepted, if not, what a nightmare.

Nannette Croce said...

I'm in a similar situation with another journal. They had just opened to e-mail subs when I sent mine six months ago. The site estimates a three month response time and says longer usually means it's under serious consideration. Just in case I contacted them a couple of weeks ago and have heard nothing. Is the market dead? Did they not receive my submission? What's up?

Angie Ledbetter said...

Should be an accepted rule of thumb: If I don't hear back from you within your STATED response time, I'm free to submit elsewhere and it will NOT be considered simultaneous!

Go get 'em, Nan! :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

I agree with you, Nanette.
Is there any recourse?


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