Analog Submissions

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hazlett
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:08 pm

Martin,

I agree with you on the one flaw with my analogy of there being only "one" you. That's a fair point. However, I think the housing analogy is even less appropriate. If you sell a house, whether it's your only home or if you're a developer who has multiple homes, you can show any given home to as many buyers as possible before accepting offers. And even then, people actually bid for your home. And people only buy homes relatively infrequently, so word of mouth is relatively less important than in the case of editors buying stories. If I were to apply the housing analogy to short fiction markets, I would be able to submit a single story to as many different editors as possible, and if there were any indication of interest, it would initiate a bidding process. I'm not arguing that there should be a bidding process, just that one would likely exist if the short story market were a direct substitution for home-buying. Oh, and you'd have to work through an agent in most cases to sell your stories. Actually, the housing market turns out to be a direct analogy to the novel market!

In regards to the probability of selling a story, there are also certain things that greatly enhance your probability of selling a story. The one most indicative of that is already having sold a story to a particular market. In fact, Trevor has admitted that he looks at the work of published authors much earlier in his process than unknowns. I'm not arguing it's right or wrong. In fact, there's a great commercial reason for it - big names attract readers. It is almost certainly the case that a poorly written Stephen King short story will beat an excellent written unknown writer's short story every time - and for good economic reasons.

And that's the reason I argued that it made far less sense for a professional author to sim-sub than an unknown. And in the case of an unknown, the only data you have are the acceptance rates on Duotrope to go on, so for the average given author, those are the most appropriate probabilities to use -- after all, it's the only concrete data one has. Sure there are half a dozen reasons why one story might get rejected, but as an unknown one has no data to assess that, so he or she should use the averages.

But I think while we may disagree on the relative risk of sim-subbing (I think the probability that two editors decide to purchase one's story simultaneously is over 900 times less likely than my dying of an accident this year, you, I think, believe it is somewhat higher), I think we both agree that the reputational consequences of a dual-sale could be extremely dire. Each writer should decide what level of risk he or she is willing to assume and run with it.

wotf007
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby austinDm » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:59 pm

I try not to worry about it and just write the next story. wotf017

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:21 am

There are other fantastic publications with fantastic turnarounds - so I can't see why I should accept that Analog uses a "pile" of submissions and skims the best but leaves unknown writers hanging for up to a year at a time. That's a great way to piss off talented new writers. Clarkesworld will usually respond in a day. Lightspeed will usually respond un under two weeks - and often a couple of days. The fact is, having a lot of people submit is no reason not to roll out rejections. Why not skim those new authors you aren't so bothered about and quickly reject the stuff you obviously don't want?

Anyway, I'm fairly new to the writing business. The FIRST story I subbed anywhere was the one waiting at Analog. In the time it has taken them to respond I have written and sold 14 stories to other markets.

What's the incentive to try Analog again?

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby TomKnighton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:59 am

There's a reason why I wrote earlier that Analog is where my submissions will go to die. I'm saving it for the very last pro market I submit to from now on because of the slow turn around. The incentive is pro level pay. That's it. Six months on a story that I'm sure I can sell somewhere isn't making me happy. I can only imagine what it's like for others who have waited longer.

However, I still think it's best to play by the rules. If you don't want to submit, then don't. Analog will either do just fine without your work, or even some of the best by other writers who take my approach, or they'll die a fiery death because readers aren't getting to see the new writers there. Some point in between is also a possibility. But not playing by the rules can earn a reputation that I'd rather not have.

In fact, that's the reason I haven't withdrawn my submission so I could send it to another market. I'd hate to start out on the wrong foot. Sure, it could be said that they're doing just that with me, but right now I need Analog a lot more than they need me.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:43 am

TomKnighton wrote:In fact, that's the reason I haven't withdrawn my submission so I could send it to another market. I'd hate to start out on the wrong foot. Sure, it could be said that they're doing just that with me, but right now I need Analog a lot more than they need me.


And this is the most compelling argument about why one shouldn't sim-sub.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:51 pm

I agree about not sim-subbing. It's something I don't do. But there comes a point when it looks like your story just isn't on their agenda.

Seriously, am I going to bother submitting to Analog again? Nope.

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:43 pm

Leo T. Lion wrote:I agree about not sim-subbing. It's something I don't do. But there comes a point when it looks like your story just isn't on their agenda.

Seriously, am I going to bother submitting to Analog again? Nope.


You never know, Leo. Analog may actually still be considering your story. Maybe they're just holding it in case a slot that length opens up. Or perhaps Trevor is considering whether to ask you for a rewrite. Who knows?

I'm willing to give Analog the benefit of the doubt...for now.

I just hope Analog ultimately provides some sort of personalized feedback at the very least, after having held my story for nearly nine months.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:01 am

Wouldn't it make sense to at least put the story to in process if they had looked at it? Or to say as much when we queried? I would love to believe I am being held for a special occasion - but if that's true then I am not impressed with the way they treat their potential writers!

Two weeks to respond to a query? Holding some stories back for months longer than others while claiming you are doing stories from June - even though it is clear from the grinder that you are really looking at September. Not hugely encouraging.

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:42 pm

Leo T. Lion wrote:Wouldn't it make sense to at least put the story to in process if they had looked at it? Or to say as much when we queried? I would love to believe I am being held for a special occasion - but if that's true then I am not impressed with the way they treat their potential writers!

Two weeks to respond to a query? Holding some stories back for months longer than others while claiming you are doing stories from June - even though it is clear from the grinder that you are really looking at September. Not hugely encouraging.


I know. It's very frustrating. I'm just going to withhold my judgement until I receive a form rejection.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:21 pm

Between Duotrope and the Grinder, there are 24 responses in the past week, ranging from 155 to 185 days. Over the past month, it's 42. [Insert Hitchhiker's Guide joke here.]

Everyone must make their own decisions regarding which markets to submit to. There's no right answer. For me, a pro-paying market with a circulation base of 27,803 (as of 2012) is worth the wait. Especially considering it's also the longest-running market in the business, by decades now, so it has a long heritage and lots of prestige.

And my patience there -- waits as long as 234 days, if you don't count the 323 days for the story that got lost in the system -- has been reward with two sales and my name on the cover twice. That has gotten me lots of attention. Toni Weisskopf knows my work, knows me by name, and has talked with me about what sort of novel she expects me to submit. Mike Resnick has bought two of my stories for Galaxy's Edge. Marianne J. Dyson has nominated one of my stories for a Nebula. Jack McDevitt has told me that "Murder on the Aldrin Express" was brilliant, and he wants to read more. "Murder" has also been selected for both Year's Best Science Fiction 31 and Year's Top Short SF Novels 4.

We can never know for sure, but I firmly believe that my stories would never have garnered that much notice if they hadn't appeared in Analog. I think it's a market worth waiting for. If you disagree, there are plenty of other markets.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:14 pm

All very good points, Martin.

Having sold to Analog in the past, do you have any theories as to why some people might have much longer wait-times than others?

For instance, if Analog is seriously considering one of your stories, do they typically send you an indication that it's in the running beforehand? Or do you just receive an email when they want to buy it?

Thanks!
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:02 pm

hazlett wrote:All very good points, Martin.

Having sold to Analog in the past, do you have any theories as to why some people might have much longer wait-times than others?

For instance, if Analog is seriously considering one of your stories, do they typically send you an indication that it's in the running beforehand? Or do you just receive an email when they want to buy it?

Thanks!


Sean, I have guesses (not proper theories in the scientific sense) and personal experience (i.e., anecdotes, not data).

My guesses are...

1. They're not as organized as we wish they were. They get something in the neighborhood of 10,000 story submissions for every one they buy from the slush pile. Ten. Thousand. It's hard to keep that many submissions straight. They have 8 or so stories per issue. If only half of those came from slush, that implies 40,000 submissions per month. Of those 40,000, as many as 4,000 or so show up in paper, actual physical manuscripts that have to be managed. Their system is imperfect, and Trevor is still learning skills that Stan built up over 34 years. One of my stories got lost. Two of my stories have been read, but then Trevor's responses got lost for a month or more.

2. All things being equal, shorter stories are easier to place, because there are more slots available.

3. All things are never equal. Names that will sell magazines get preferential treatment. Welcome to the real world.

4. Unlike Asimov's, they never use the Under Review status.

Beyond that, I can tell you that neither Stan nor Trevor has ever sent me any indication at all that a story was in the running. My results have always been one of the following:

* A form rejection. Lots and lots of form rejections.

* A lost story (once).

* A semi-form rejection: a form, but encouraging me to send more.

* A personal rejection, explaining exactly why they didn't want the story. NOTE: I never got a personal rejection until my first sale. Since then, I have never gotten anything less. I think Trevor has very limited time for personal rejections, and he saves it for established authors.

* A rewrite suggestion. NOTE: Not a rewrite request. Neither Stan nor Trevor says, "Please change X." That comes too close to a commitment, and they're not going to be tied down that way. But if they say, "I liked this, but not X," you're a fool if you don't try to fix X and send it back.

* A rewrite suggestion followed by a personal rejection. See? He didn't commit, he suggested. My follow-up still wasn't good enough, and that was my one shot. Trevor made it clear he was done with that story.

* A rewrite suggestion followed by a sale. That was "Not Close Enough".

* A sale the first time. That was "Murder on the Aldrin Express".

It's definitely a Schrodinger Market: you have no news until you have THE news. There is no correlation between how long I waited and what my results were.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby TomKnighton » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:It's definitely a Schrodinger Market: you have no news until you have THE news. There is no correlation between how long I waited and what my results were.


Well crud.

Thanks Martin, for killing my delusions! wotf004

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Thank you, Martin. That was VERY HELPFUL. And don't worry, I won't take your "guesses" as gospel, but at least they're based on your experience with Analog, and they go a long way to paint a picture of what "might" (and perhaps most likely) go(es) on behind the scenes.

I had actually assumed the worst. Now it sounds like there's a non-zero chance that many of our stories may still be under consideration (notice, I said non-zero, which to means still means something far less than 5%). But if Analog doesn't inform professional writers in advance that it is considering their stories, there's absolutely no reason to expect Analog to inform newbies that they're stories are under active consideration.

We'll see. I figure, if I don't hear from Analog by the beginning of March and their flurry of responses die down, I'll query again (very respectfully, of course). wotf019
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Jeffrey » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:58 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:* A rewrite suggestion. NOTE: Not a rewrite request. Neither Stan nor Trevor says, "Please change X." That comes too close to a commitment, and they're not going to be tied down that way. But if they say, "I liked this, but not X," you're a fool if you don't try to fix X and send it back.


Martin, thanks for the insights! wotf009 I'm curious as to the rewrite suggestions. Once you fixed X, did you mail it directly to him or put it back in the slush?

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
1. They get something in the neighborhood of 10,000 story submissions for every one they buy from the slush pile. Ten. Thousand. It's hard to keep that many submissions straight. They have 8 or so stories per issue. If only half of those came from slush, that implies 40,000 submissions per month.


40,000 submissions a month seems at least an order of magnitude too high to me. Sheila (Asimov's) at WorldCon said she gets about 600 submissions in the slush a month. For Analog to be 66x higher would be surprising, given the Duotrope and Submission Grinder total responses are 1/3 lower than Asimov's. Sheila's response also fits in with other observations (empirical) I've made that Duotrope users typically represent 5-10% of the total submissions a market receives.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:49 am

Jeffrey wrote:
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:* A rewrite suggestion. NOTE: Not a rewrite request. Neither Stan nor Trevor says, "Please change X." That comes too close to a commitment, and they're not going to be tied down that way. But if they say, "I liked this, but not X," you're a fool if you don't try to fix X and send it back.


Martin, thanks for the insights! wotf009 I'm curious as to the rewrite suggestions. Once you fixed X, did you mail it directly to him or put it back in the slush?


Back in the slush. Brad recommended that. Besides, I didn't have any other email address at the time, other than a do-not-reply response address.

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
1. They get something in the neighborhood of 10,000 story submissions for every one they buy from the slush pile. Ten. Thousand. It's hard to keep that many submissions straight. They have 8 or so stories per issue. If only half of those came from slush, that implies 40,000 submissions per month.


40,000 submissions a month seems at least an order of magnitude too high to me. Sheila (Asimov's) at WorldCon said she gets about 600 submissions in the slush a month. For Analog to be 66x higher would be surprising, given the Duotrope and Submission Grinder total responses are 1/3 lower than Asimov's. Sheila's response also fits in with other observations (empirical) I've made that Duotrope users typically represent 5-10% of the total submissions a market receives.


Sheila's data is more reliable than my inference, so trust her. But let me tell you my inference:

1. From Mike at WorldCon 2012: Analog received about 1,000 slush stories for every 1 slush purchase back in the 90s. This was old data, but he had seen nothing to contradict it. (And I may be misremembering the exact number, but it was in that ballpark.)

2. From Stan at WorldCon 2012: Since going electronic, the number of submissions has gone up by a factor of 10, but the number of salable slush stories has remained constant.

3. My assumption that 4 stories per issue come from slush.

Multiply 4 salable stories in an issue by 10 and by 1,000, and that's my inference. Neither is based on hard, recent data.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:53 pm

And lest I sound unsympathetic: my last two responses from Analog were at 204 and 234 days (and both were personal rejections, including one on a rewrite suggestion). I understand entirely how long that wait can feel.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:19 am

I am currently at 271 days. At 300, I fully expect to receive a telegram from the Queen.

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:58 pm

Leo T. Lion wrote:I am currently at 271 days. At 300, I fully expect to receive a telegram from the Queen.


I'm also at exactly 271 days, and just received another rejection from Analog at 151 days, earlier this week. In fact, Analog's rejected three of my other stories during the same period the 271-day story's been in the queue. I just hope Analog hasn't lost it.

Since it still looks like Analog is on the move right now (the latest rejection on Duotrope is today at 138 days), I'm going to wait until the slew of rejections slows to a trickle before I query again.

wotf017
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:03 pm

hazlett wrote:
Leo T. Lion wrote:I am currently at 271 days. At 300, I fully expect to receive a telegram from the Queen.


I'm also at exactly 271 days, and just received another rejection from Analog at 151 days, earlier this week. In fact, Analog's rejected three of my other stories during the same period the 271-day story's been in the queue. I just hope Analog hasn't lost it.

Since it still looks like Analog is on the move right now (the latest rejection on Duotrope is today at 138 days), I'm going to wait until the slew of rejections slows to a trickle before I query again.

wotf017


I would query again. At 271, it's lost. Same advice to Leo. They're processing stories now, so try to catch them while they're thinking about the queue. Just my opinion.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Will do.

Thanks, Martin!
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby TomKnighton » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:12 pm

I'm at 191 days right now, while The Grinder is showing stuff a fair bit more recent getting the word. Not sure when I should query or not...

...or even how to really do it. wotf017

Hopefully I'll hear something in the next day or two and it will be a moot point.

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:50 pm

TomKnighton wrote:I'm at 191 days right now, while The Grinder is showing stuff a fair bit more recent getting the word. Not sure when I should query or not...

...or even how to really do it. wotf017

Hopefully I'll hear something in the next day or two and it will be a moot point.


Tom,

I'd wait until you hit 200 days before doing anything. When you do, email Analog at: analog@dellmagazines.com.

In the subject line of your email write:

QUERY: "Name of Story", Submission #123456

For my first query, I wrote the following:

Dear Mr. Quachri,

I hope all is well. I'm sorry to bother you with this request as you're probably buried under a mountain of slush, but can you please provide me with a status update for my story, "Name of Story", which I submitted on June 6, 2013?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Very respectfully,


Sean Patrick Hazlett
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby TomKnighton » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:10 pm

Much appreciated. I'll freely admit that this is something I didn't really expect to encounter too much, so I haven't really done much research on the "how" aspect on this one.

Might need it as things stand...but I might not, either.

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:11 am

Hazlett, do you think it is a worry we both sent our work on the same day? Could there actually be a technical hitch?

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby hazlett » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:27 pm

Leo T. Lion wrote:Hazlett, do you think it is a worry we both sent our work on the same day? Could there actually be a technical hitch?


Anything's possible.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby LDWriter2 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:57 pm

Yesterday I received a rejection after 140 days or so. I need to go back and recount but I think it's less than 150.



Of course it was his usual rejection...he likes it to sound not so bad but of course a story with bad writing- mediocre at best-isn't a fit for his magazine.
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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:06 am

I have queried again. wotf017

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Leo T. Lion » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:33 am

Analog just replied to say I am still under consideration. Is this a good sign? Does this mean they might actually like it? Or just that they haven't read it but will do? It feels like quite a positive response...

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Re: Analog Submissions

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:50 am

Leo T. Lion wrote:Analog just replied to say I am still under consideration. Is this a good sign? Does this mean they might actually like it? Or just that they haven't read it but will do? It feels like quite a positive response...


It's certainly not a BAD sign! I have my fingers crossed for you.
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