Periodically I like to send questions to my fellow submitting Submittable Warriors, also known as “writers.” Their answers show that we all share a similar range of experiences using this technological convenience. Here’s a sampling of the Q & A’s.
What is it like waiting for RECEIVED submissions to flip over to IN PROGRESS submissions, and IN PROGRESS submissions to progress to a decision?
- “It’s like watching water wait to wait to be boiled.”
- “Like political ads. Excruciating and maddening.”
- “Have you ever played fetch with a tortoise? You know. You fling the lettuce, then yell in its face: ‘Go on, boy! Go on!’ Like that.”
- “Like looking forward to Christmas on December 26th.”
- “Auditing a course on studying wallpaper.”
- “The word ‘Received’ is my mantra for morning meditations, ‘In Progress’ for nightly ones. Has been for 8 months. Maybe your question’s a koan.”
- “Like watching The Food Network. Eternal similarity. Stubborn persistence. Few payoffs.”
When is it worth paying a reading fee?
- “When you’re accepted and it’s a paying market. Other than that, never.”
- “When the journal is worthy of financial support. That way, you can look at it as a non-deductible contribution to a good cause.”
- “When no one will read you for free.”
- “I do it to reward audaciousness.”
- “I haven’t done so because every time I email an editor about my writing fee, I get virtual crickets. Have you ever heard a virtual cricket?”
- “When you want to brag about a certain magazine soliciting your stuff. Just don’t mention that your ‘stuff’ is a credit card as opposed to your poems.”
How many simultaneous submissions do you typically make for any given work?
- “Three. Maybe I’ve been hard-wired by bad jokes, but everything comes in threes and that includes my submissions ceiling.”
- “I don’t believe in simul-subs. This gives me plenty of time to revise my work between submissions, meaning no two submissions of the same work are ever alike.”
- “You mean you count them?”
- “I take it as a challenge. I once had a poem out at 53 markets over the course of two years, all eventually demurring. Would you say it needed work?”
Is Submittable is more worthwhile for writers or for markets?
- “Well, let’s see. I’m a marketing dunce, so it’s a godsend. Writers.”
- “Definitely markets. Journals pay for the service, but if they charge a reading fee, they more than offset their costs. They profit handily. In some cases footily.”
- “More and more markets use it, so I guess there’s good financial reasons to do so. Markets.”
- “Submittable itself is a market. Markets benefit markets. It’s in the same aisle as corporations being people according to SCOTUS. Different but the same. Ka-ching!”
- “Writers. How else would I know what I sent where three years ago? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.”
7 thoughts on “Submittable Q & A”
Enjoyed this. I don’t recall seeing these questions posed before. I guess I’m more laid back about the process than many. I don’t get antsy about how long they’re taking until I notice they’ve been sitting on the work for 3 months already. If the journal or Duotrope says they’re average response is 4 months, I’m patient a bit longer, then I ask them. Mainly, I see Submittable as a big advantage to the process. Some journals that still do their own thing pile on a long list of rules for formatting a submission that make it absurdly time-consuming. What I do HATE is journals that don’t send any notice that they’ve tossed my work aside. I try to avoid simultaneous submissions and want to get those poems right back out the door. Thanks to your post, I’ll go check my status now.
What? A laid-back writer? You’re rare indeed? As for Duotrope, I don’t partake because I think they are pay-to-play nowadays (a poem). I just looked and the longest back submissions I have are from February. Only 8 months ago. ONLY! Thanks for reading. And waiting so patiently.
I was ready to fuss with a journal who had taken way too long and discovered my submission was still sitting there waiting for me to hit the send button. Duh. I’m tensed up about too many things to worry about slow editors. I’ve been an editor, and know they aren’t paid enough, if at all, to put up with angry people hassling them.
Agreed. I never harass editors, except on the rare occasion when a submission hits the one year mark. When they don’t respond, I just withdraw it, figuring it’s not the type of operation I want to be associated with. But, to your point, most editors do their best under crazy conditions — an inundation of submissions.
Hmn. Is more writing (both good and bad) another by-product of Covid?
Not from me, it isn’t. It has slowed my writing, but increased my Goodreads library. I’ve heard from a fair number of others who feel slowed. In my case, it probably had more to do with my surgeries, but I still blame COVID for my fretful brain. I’m really not interested in reading pandemic anthologies.
Well, reading is FEEDING future writing, so take some comfort in that. Me, I just repeat the wisdom of the ages: “This, too, shall pass.” First I said it about Donald Trump. Now I say it about Covid, too. (Now THERE’S a pair!)