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When Do You Surrender?

June 11, 2009

Two years ago, I learned of a writing friend’s acceptance to a horror anthology, a market which was still accepting submissions. I had a story that fit in the theme. So, I submitted it and of course, the waiting began. A writer headed up the project and posted updates on it’s progress. Everything, in my experience, seemed pretty standard. Unfortunately, the progress began to slow down mainly due to the writer’s health issues.

A few months later, life was all good again. A couple of people were brought in to help with the anthology responsibilities. All signs pointed to this book being published. I, however, had yet to receive word whether or not my story would be in it. I remained patient. Months after this new surge of activity, updates pretty much ceased or rather I never saw any. I talked to my writer friend and sent follow-up emails which suggested the project was still in the works. A few days ago, about two years after submitting, I officially withdrew my story from consideration.

Writing is a process. You submit and wait. Most guidelines list the market’s average waiting period. If you’re involved in a similar situation like mine, do you wait for two years before waving the white flag or withdraw sooner or wait it out for the official word? What amount of time do you consider is too long to wait? Does it matter if you know writers also involved in it?

Andrea didn’t like having to withdraw her submission from the above mentioned project. She certainly didn’t like getting a rejection letter for a different story, but keeps her spirits up. Check out her website.

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4 Comments
  1. June 11, 2009 7:46 am

    Two years is a really long time and you would think if you had friends involved they would have, professional courtesy aside, told you what was going on as a friend.

    This was something which came up at my critiquing course last month – how long to wait? The people running the anthology in question should have had a ball park response time in any information which they gave out.Of course ill health and other issues will get in the way or something like that (Paul and I who are in the process of floating an anthology know all about it) but keeping in contact with people is a must if you want to run a professional publishing project.

    If a response time isn’t clearly stated in information given out on a website/publication specs – I think it is well within an submitting author’s rights to ask for a response time. We have the Australian Online Writers Marketplace here in Australia, and one of the things listed is the time expected for a reply.

    I think you deserve a medal for patience – two years is a long time to wait and also a long time for a story to sit idle.

  2. June 11, 2009 7:50 pm

    having submitted stories to a variety of sites and competitions, the worst thing is to hear…. nothing…. a rejection letter – as harsh as it may feel to you at the time at least gives you feedback – its just not what they are looking for at the moment. It might be a straight out” no” – its just a “no not right now”…
    Its not fair on anyone- your muse, the characters in your story, you – or the place you submitted – if you have no definitive “yes or no” – even a maybe with a DATE for review is better than… nothing….
    I personally think that unless they state a specific date for feedback and closure/ publication of results – a month is enough time to wait. Its not like we are waiting on smoke signals or the pony express any longer for communications.

  3. June 11, 2009 11:48 pm

    I would’ve pulled it sooner, but it’s very unprofessional for them to not even respond to a query about the status of it.

  4. June 12, 2009 2:44 am

    I was going to pull it when all the health problems started and it stalled. If my friend wasn’t involved in it, I would have. Should have anyways. Oh well. Lesson learned.

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