Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Which Market?

Ok, so I'm a newbie on the writer's circuit. Still getting used to the whole process of submission and waiting. But I'm interested in the processes and how they work.

So far now I've submitted to a number of Aussie markets and far less US markets.

I understand that many of the publications I submit to are run as an act of love by individual/s trying to create something for the greater good. And I think that's fantastic. People giving up their free time to give people like me the chance to put stories under the public eye. Thank god.

As a result I try and exert every courtesy in my submission protocols. I write a brief cover letter, I set out my ms in double spaced format - a readable typeface etc. I'm patient and wait until 3 or 4 months have passed without querying - and then if I do query try to do so in understanding and friendly wording.

Here's the crunch - what's the correct expectation on a similarly curteous response time.

I offer no conclusions - but here's my experience to-date.

I've submitted once to Borderlands (probably 2 years ago). At that time it took 6 months to receive a rejection (and a well deserved rejection it was too - an early story that I have now wisely shelved). But I haven't submitted to Borderlands again - despite its good reputation - but I'm not prepared to wait 6 months. (For the record some of my friends have submitted here and had faster responses - so it's possible my humble submission might have hit at a time of large back log in the slush pile).

ASIM, Shadowed Realms, Ticon Online, F&R have all been within the 3 month mark. I'll submit again to any of them.

I've submitted twice to Aurealis. They sent a prompt confirmation of receipt. The first story I queried at the 3 month mark and got a friendly rejection. The second story I received a polite - 'can we hold the story a bit longer?' They've now held the story 9 months - if it gets printed I won't mind the wait. If it's a rejection then it was a long hard wait. But then Aurealis seems to be in a state of flux. I haven't yet seen the next edition which was at the printers in December - is this a dying market?

Internationally - Sci Fiction (sadly gone now) was a 3 month turn around.
F&SF is usually a 9 day response (2 rejections and counting)
I've got stories with Dark Wisdom (hitting the 4 month mark and I'm about to query) and Polyphony (they have advised that they will notify in April).

Feel free to add your own experiences with different markets - share the knowledge.


Blogger Suzanne said...

Places on the net to get a sense of response times:

The Speculations Rumor Mill Rejection/Acceptance log:


And the black hole market tracker:


Ralan also posts average response times:


11:36 PM  
Blogger Shane Jiraiya Cummings said...


You're spot on with almost all your projections there, Sooze.

I know Shadowed Realms is on top - response times are a deliberate 3-6 weeks. TicOn, ASIM, and F&R are pretty darn reliable too.

Then there's Aurealis and Borderlands. The scoop on Borderlands is they've just put on three new readers, so responses are MUCH faster now. 6 months was typical - I've had the same on 2-3 subs. However, with the new readers, they appear to be a good bet for a quick turnaround.

Aurealis is a different ball game. I doubt they're dead or dying, because advance copies of #36 are slowly leaking out, but they are terribly slow right now, even with Robert and Ben at the helm. Perhaps even more so. Under Keith Stevenson, they were a *little* more reliable, but response times are simply woeful. 6 months+ seems to be standard.

Internationally, F&SF is just phenomenal. Always a few weeks, even with snail mail. Surreal and Flesh & Blood (pro horror mags) are also excellent, with a few days to a few weeks turnaround.

Cemetery Dance (another pro horror mag) is pretty slow, 3-4 months+, often 6months. Similarly with Book of Dark Wisdom. They're a great crew (and I've sold a few stories there), but they don't respond to queries well, and their response times are typically 3-9months, averaging about 6months. I really wouldn't query them right now, they appear to be swamped and fighting a backlog. Give it until six months, then query away!

Rule of thumb with markets is there is no rule of thumb. You get to know the prompt ones, and the not so prompt ones. Some are worth the wait (like Book of Dark Wisdom). Many others are not.

Anthologies are also peculiar beasts. With most of them, don't expect to hear back until after the deadline. They're usually a one-shot/sub deal.

I hope that helps (it's all based on personal experience). If you wan't a better idea of response times, check out the Acceptance/Rejection log on http://www.speculations.com or look at the Black Hole at http://www.critique.org/users/critters/blackholes/sightdata.html

11:51 PM  
Blogger Shane Jiraiya Cummings said...


Suzanne beat me with her sexy and short URLs!

11:53 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Great feedback - thank you.

I forgot that Strange Horizons has twice given 3 month rejections (one of them a very kind rejection too).

6:44 AM  

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