Thursday, October 02, 2008


I received my 35th acceptance of the year in today's mail, for a Christmas story I submitted in August 2007.


sandra seamans said...

Does it ever drive you nuts that it takes so long for an editor to get back to you or are you just happy that the story's accepted finally after all that time?

Michael Bracken said...

I've been freelancing for so many years now, and I've spent enough time on the other side of the desk, that neither choice quite describes how I feel.

While I wish every editor responded promptly, I'm fully aware that editors can be overloaded with work and that slushpiles aren't their primary concern. I'm also aware that material tied to particular holidays or events have extremely narrow opportunities for acceptance and that missing that opportunity by even a day can mean that an otherwise acceptable submission may sit in an editor's file for a full year.

Even so, there are three key reasons that long response times don't bother me:

1) I sell most of my stories to publications where I have previously been published. Over time, I have learned which editors respond in weeks, which in months, and which in years, and I have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

2) I try to keep so many manuscripts circulating that I can't remember which particular manuscript is at which particular publication. This prevents me from obsessing over each submission. (Currently I have 30+ manuscripts or proposals circulating; at my peak I had 100+.)

3) I sell almost everything I write. It took a long, long time and many, many rejections to reach this point, but it has a significant impact on my attitude. I'm better able to roll with the lag times because I'm reasonably confident I know what the ultimate response will be.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Quite a turn around from a couple of days ago, isn't it, Michael? And it's always that way--I had 2 things published yesterday (first of the month releases) and a rejection today. I always remember if you don't send 'em out you'll never sell 'em.

By the way, I found your blog via the Shortmystery group.