Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do Not Do This

I have said on numerous occasions how blessed I feel with the number of excellent submissions we received for the Dark Pages anthology. I have been doubly blessed because the final ToC winners have all been extremely professional people to deal with.

We have done our best to correlate comments from all the readers of the shortlist and provide feedback to the unfortunate few who made the shortlist but didn't make the final cut.

We have done our best to keep everyone informed and up-to-date with the process and where we are at within it.

We specifically said in our submission guidelines that we didn't want any simultaneous submissions.

So why do we get all the way through to deciding the final ToC to then be informed that one of the stories has been accepted elsewhere. The other market in question accepts sim subs, pays in copies only, and takes only FNASR - so the market is not what I would call more prestigious. We pay money and a copy, and have a publisher with a proven sales track record. Yes, we take worldwide rights, but most anthologies do. It may just be me but I don't see the reasoning behind it.

Worse, on checking it out, I find an excerpt of the story online posted on December 18 2009! So over a month ago this person agreed to let this other market publish the story - about a week after we'd emailed to say we'd like to shortlist it!

This is just downright unprofessional.

If two markets both have it listed in their guidelines that they accept sim subs, then go for your life and submit it to both of them. If one market specifically states no sim subs - don't sim sub.

But writers have to wait for ages for a response and more often than not it's a rejection so why shouldn't we be allowed to sim sub our work to multiple publications to increase our chances? I'm glad you asked.

At the moment there is 56 anthologies listed on Duotrope. The vast majority (32) are horror accepting markets. Out of these there are probably a dozen which will be targeted by writers who regularly gain publication in semi-pro payment anthologies. These few will be targeted by a large number of writers and will most likely gain similar submission numbers to Dark Pages.

Your blowing your own horn, I hear you say. Not really. I've had submissions from editors of other fiction magazines, other anthologies, HWA members and associates, SFWA members and associates, AHWA members, Ditmar and Shadow Award winners and nominees, WOTF winners and finalists, professional writers and many others from all over the world. I kid you not.

The point is, the best editors in the industry receive work regularly from most of these writers. The next tier of editors/publications receive a slightly wider circle of regular submitters (which is where I see this publication) - and so on down the submissions track. Editors get to know and recognise writers. We also talk to each other.

Writers who don't follow guidelines, or worse, sim sub and then withdraw, get known. If done more than once, work is automatically rejected because we don't know if the work will still be there when we come to a final decision. Writers who don't act professionally get known.

The writer who didn't act professionally in this instance will never be accepted into anything I'm editor of ever again. There really isn't enough doors out there for you to be slamming any of them shut. Follow the guidelines to the letter. Only sim sub or multi sub to markets that allow it.

And don't piss me off!


  1. Yeah...he pretty much said it all.

  2. Indeed. Rule #1: don't piss off the editor!

  3. I hope that writer's loss is another writer's gain.

    Very bad form.

  4. I'll go with Alan on this one as well.

  5. Yeah, Alan said it.

    That dude is either a complete newb, or just a dick.

  6. It astounds me someone could have enough talent to make it into a pretty tough antho and then throw it away like that. What narks me is I don't do it and still don't get accepted anywhere! lol

    Remind me never to piss you off.


  7. First - everyone who reads this blog wouldn't do that because they either already know the rules or they've been paying attention enough to have learned them from me and the others who comment here. We all know that there are enough hurdles to getting published without adding acting unprofessional to the list.

    Second - Katey - when you say 'dude', don't assume this was a bloke...

    Cate - yep

    Soph - Rule #1 is easily achieved by following the guidelines - that's what they're there for.

    Rich - you'll get there. The more you practise and the more you follow the rules, the further you'll go until, eventually, you don't need to practise or follow the rules, because you'll have created your own playground and the readers will come to you.

  8. Thick or ignorant or stupid, or all three. That person doesn't deserve to be involved in the anthology.

  9. Nor will they ever be. If this takes off like I expect it to, then volumes 2, 3, and onwards will never include this person.

  10. I suspect a young, or at least impatient writer who may not yet recognize that many genres, especially in short fiction, equals a small community. Hope he/she learns before burning too many bridges.