Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby george nik. » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:45 am

Got my first personal rejection from Liminal Stories, in the second try -- incidentally, this was for my last week's HM, so it's the second "close but not that close" for this story in a week. They said that the worldbuilding was "wonderfully done" and they look forward to my next submission. So I'll send them my last year's HM, though I doubt they'll like it as much, as it's a more classic / straightforward adventure. Then again, I've no idea what they actually like, so why not try?

So that's about my 40th personal rejection this year, and I've had enough. Someone give me a form acceptance, please. wotf005

Also, now that I'm on the mixed feelings thread, I was quite happy with the emergence of Liminal Stories and Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores. We've had too many markets closing down recently and two new pro ones are a great addition. However, how on Earth can someone submit to Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores? I've been trying to register for a whole day and they keep saying "Sorry, there is a problem sending an email this time please try to signup again". wotf016 Has anybody else experienced any problems with their submissions manager?
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:48 am

I managed to sign up without problems but I had trouble submitting; bizarrely, in the end, I had to remove all punctuation from my cover letter before it would submit. In combination with the Comic Sans MS they've chosen for the submissions page (urgh), it made it look like an eight year old's English homework. Make sure you put your word count and genre in the opening paragraph, little Timmy, and don't forget to mention your publishing history...

I messaged the editor (Fran Eisemann) on Facebook when I was having trouble, as I couldn't find any contact details on their site: https://www.facebook.com/fran.eisemann
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby george nik. » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:41 am

Thanks, Mat! wotf008

In the meantime, an email address magically appeared on the guidelines page as I refreshed it, along with the lines: "There is a small percentage of people who may find that the spam filters on their email host don’t allow them to register. If you can’t get your filters to accept contact from us, email us and we will manually input you into the system — editor@cosmicrootsandeldritchshores.com" -- so it seems other people experienced problems as well. So I tried that, and if they don't reply (it's still early morning if they're US based) I'll try the FB link you provided.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:26 am

Fran replied to me in the same circumstances George. wotf008
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:27 am

Dustin Adams wrote:I want to read it.


Actually Dustin, you were in on the very beginning of this when we did a 450 exchange way back. It's one of my Russian stories. wotf008
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby george nik. » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:40 am

Ishmael wrote:Fran replied to me in the same circumstances George. wotf008


She did reply to me, too, quite early in the (US) day. So I logged in and submitted without any further problems. wotf008
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby alpha » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:19 pm

2 new markets to submit to; I wasn't aware of either one. Thanks for the (inadvertent) tip, George!

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby george nik. » Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:45 am

alpha wrote:2 new markets to submit to; I wasn't aware of either one. Thanks for the (inadvertent) tip, George!

My pleasure! wotf008 But I suggest you check the Grinder (or Duotrope) often. There are a lot of markets coming and going, or temporarily opening to submissions, and of course many new anthologies all the time -- so if you don't check you'll miss a lot of opportunities.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:12 am

MattDovey wrote:I managed to sign up without problems but I had trouble submitting; bizarrely, in the end, I had to remove all punctuation from my cover letter before it would submit.

I had the exact same problem, although I left in my periods and commas. Apostrophes and ampersands were the big culprits, so I'm guessing they aren't sanitizing their database input, which is Not A Good Idea (TM). Hopefully things will smooth out a bit as they get more established.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:55 pm

s_c_baker wrote:
MattDovey wrote:I managed to sign up without problems but I had trouble submitting; bizarrely, in the end, I had to remove all punctuation from my cover letter before it would submit.

I had the exact same problem, although I left in my periods and commas. Apostrophes and ampersands were the big culprits, so I'm guessing they aren't sanitizing their database input, which is Not A Good Idea (TM). Hopefully things will smooth out a bit as they get more established.


I'd suspected the same, and removed an ampersand, but the apostrophe in an "it's" was invisible to my eye and I didn't clock it to try without.

It looks like they're using an off-the-shelf submissions manager, albeit an older version of, so really not good that the database input isn't being sanitised, especially given that all it boils down to is $input = mysqli_real_escape_string($input). Not exactly rocket surgery.

Of more immediate concern to me is the Comic Sans MS though. The font choice on their main site is fine, what in blazes possessed them to use such a horror in the bit the professionals will see when considering to submit or not?
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:51 pm

I agree. Comic Papyrus would have been a much more rational choice...

Image
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby LDWriter2 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:20 pm

alpha wrote:2 new markets to submit to; I wasn't aware of either one. Thanks for the (inadvertent) tip, George!



That goes for me too. I will have to check them out.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:39 am

s_c_baker wrote:I agree. Comic Papyrus would have been a much more rational choice...


OH DEAR SCIENCE WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME

WHY CREATE SUCH AN ABOMINATION

DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN

IF JAMES CAMERON SEES THIS BEFORE AVATAR 2'S SUBTITLES ARE FINISHED... OH GOOD GRIEF /cries
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:15 am

Once upon a time all we Times readers used to drive around with bumper stickers:

I'VE BEEN TO SAN SERIF wotf008
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby alpha » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:50 pm

So, this story that is, to use an acronym I picked up from Ishmael, TBTIEW (the best thing I've ever written), keeps getting personal rejections along the lines of, "I like the story, but it doesn't fit here." Well where the heck does the stupid thing fit? (By stupid thing I mean work of incomparable genius). Everyone likes it; just buy it!

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:56 pm

alpha wrote:So, this story that is, to use an acronym I picked up from Ishmael, TBTIEW (the best thing I've ever written), keeps getting personal rejections along the lines of, "I like the story, but it doesn't fit here." Well where the heck does the stupid thing fit? (By stupid thing I mean work of incomparable genius). Everyone likes it; just buy it!



I can see why you would say that.

But from what I have heard from various sources over the years, more than likely someone will, even that isn't one hundred percent. But they more you have of those the more chances and it means you are closing in on them.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby AliceBrook » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:14 am

george nik. wrote:Got my first personal rejection from Liminal Stories, in the second try -- incidentally, this was for my last week's HM, so it's the second "close but not that close" for this story in a week. They said that the worldbuilding was "wonderfully done" and they look forward to my next submission.


Liminal Stories sounds awesome! They thanked me for the read, complimented the writing, but decided not to take my story [it's hard to pin down, so I don't even know where the hell I should submit it to.] Theirs was one of the prettiest rejections I've ever received.

Now, let me ask you something about Tor.com... They've been holding a story for 190 days. It's kinda making me nervous, when they're so silent, not a word on what's going on, I'm beginning to think they forgot about it.
I did expect a rejection sooner, so this silence, while not unusual, it's still...confusing, I guess.

Ishmael, I know they held one of your stories for centuries, didn't they?
Anybody else with experiences with Tor?

Oh, and happy holidays and a happy new year wotf007

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby alpha » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:27 am

Yeah, Tor takes forever. It's normal. As a $0.25/word market for short fiction, I guess it's their right.

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:53 pm

AliceBrook wrote:Now, let me ask you something about Tor.com... They've been holding a story for 190 days. It's kinda making me nervous, when they're so silent, not a word on what's going on, I'm beginning to think they forgot about it.
I did expect a rejection sooner, so this silence, while not unusual, it's still...confusing, I guess.

Ishmael, I know they held one of your stories for centuries, didn't they?
Anybody else with experiences with Tor?

Oh, and happy holidays and a happy new year wotf007


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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:27 pm

I actually heard Tor.com isn't going to be accepting unsolicited submissions anymore starting January 7th. Get 'em in while you can, I guess?
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby AliceBrook » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:13 am

Hm, well, I guess I should just keep waiting. I only hope they'll be able to answer soon...

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Muri McCage » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:18 pm

This seems to fit somewhere between the Mixed Feelings and Five Minute Rant threads, so I'm putting it here as closest.

I get personal rejections that seem very encouraging to the point of almosts, then they go back to barely personal (brief reason why) next time. I recently had a very nice personal from a second top genre magazine editor, who signed informally with their first name after always being formal before. I followed suit in the cover of my next sub to them, only to have them revert to a signature block and barely personal rejection for my next sub. The other time this happened with a different magazine, the editor remains informal but fluctuates among personal, personalized forms, and barely personal.

I always focus on being professional and try to follow the lead of the fiction editor I'm in contact with, but it gets really confusing at times. Anyone have experience with this kind of thing and know if there's a particular protocol for it? It's always gratifying to get personal interaction with fiction editors even when they don't buy, but I wish it was easier to figure out the nuances of ongoing and varying degrees of it.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby AliceBrook » Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:49 am

Hey, Muri

Personally, I don't think you should read too much into it. We're about, what, 40 years too late for personal correspondence with editors, right? [I read in Tiptree's biography she'd just strike a conversation post-submission, and a friendship would be born] I don't think we can do that anymore.
Their signatures, I think, are set to some sort of default. I always send a basic cover letter, 2-3 sentences, no matter what kind of vibe I get from the editor [unless they're particularly chatty, which has never happened to me]

To set your mind at ease and assure you it has almost nothing to do with your creative ability [since you've been getting the almosts, as you say], I'll tell you what happened to some of my friends at uni.
So, my major was journalism and the TAs would grade our articles. 20pt was max. A lot of my friends would get 15pt along with notes for corrections. Some revised their articles and got - guess what - 11pt, instead of the promised higher mark. Others wouldn't even bother with correcting the piece at all, and submit it again, in its original form - those got 18pt. Remember, this is the same damn article that got 11pt the previous week, unchanged.

So that experience taught me that, when it comes to writing, results are fickle. There is always something more at play than just creative ability. Basically, stay away from rejectomancy and just write wotf008

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby dbeavers » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:11 am

AliceBrook wrote:Hey, Muri

Personally, I don't think you should read too much into it. We're about, what, 40 years too late for personal correspondence with editors, right? [I read in Tiptree's biography she'd just strike a conversation post-submission, and a friendship would be born] I don't think we can do that anymore.
Their signatures, I think, are set to some sort of default. I always send a basic cover letter, 2-3 sentences, no matter what kind of vibe I get from the editor [unless they're particularly chatty, which has never happened to me]

To set your mind at ease and assure you it has almost nothing to do with your creative ability [since you've been getting the almosts, as you say], I'll tell you what happened to some of my friends at uni.
So, my major was journalism and the TAs would grade our articles. 20pt was max. A lot of my friends would get 15pt along with notes for corrections. Some revised their articles and got - guess what - 11pt, instead of the promised higher mark. Others wouldn't even bother with correcting the piece at all, and submit it again, in its original form - those got 18pt. Remember, this is the same damn article that got 11pt the previous week, unchanged.

So that experience taught me that, when it comes to writing, results are fickle. There is always something more at play than just creative ability. Basically, stay away from rejectomancy and just write wotf008


I had a similar experience in a 'hard' math related class. I worked as a TA for a Fluid Mechanics professor while at engineering school. He asked me to review the grades he assigned on a test and I was a bit shocked. Some test takers received zero partial credit points while others did well when providing basically the same answer. I learned two things from the experience. (1) It's hard to be objective, it takes work. (2) We're are a lot less objective than we like to think we are.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:04 pm

Muri,

Bearing in mind I know as little as anyone, I would say: don't let it weigh on your mind one jot. CC Finlay @ F&SF said he received 10,000 submissions last year; Asimov's had around 7500; most pro mags are getting around those numbers, as far as I know.

Our names are like grains of sand carried up by the surf and deposited in the slush pile, then washed away again by the next wave.

I don't expect any editor to remember my name until I've been published there two or three times, frankly, and given that so far my only acceptance is WotF, there's not an editor in the world knows who I am yet. If I've gotten a personal, bloody marvellous! They're like gold dust. If I get a form R, oh well, not every story suits every market. But it's never me getting that personal or that R--it's the story.

To answer your query directly: if they've given you their name once, use it, I say. The impersonal name on the form is because it's a form--it is literally a template email fired off with a single click. They're not going to look up if you've had a personal in the past and then amend the signature block accordingly, because 10k-subs-a-year. Don't read anything into it.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Muri McCage » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:39 pm

Thanks guys.

Alice, I must be some kind of fluke or throwback or something. I've actually found myself in varying levels of personal correspondence with a number of levels of editors at top magazines of different genres. Not to the level of Tiptree's friendships, though. Sometimes ongoing, sometimes sporadic, mostly very brief, often never. My writing attracts attention, but I think it falls just badly enough between genres that it doesn't quite fit in anywhere.

I agree that staying away from rejectomancy is best. I do fall victim to its deep black quagmire call on occasion, but this particular situation is more...um...protocolomancy. I want to always put my best foot forward, but sometimes in the submissions world I need to be an octopus to have enough feet for it!

Matt, first, don't underestimate the power of WotF anything. Winning is an incredible accomplishment, and looks very good in your self promotion. I also believe that being here in HMland has helped me gain the notice of editors. I started putting them in my cover/query bio early on and could see it start to make a difference. Now I think my bunch of screenwriting competition advancements may make more of an impact, but the line about 13 WotF HMs and 2 Quarter Finalists looks good in that bio block too.

Your last paragraph really helped put my question into perspective. It makes sense that if they've used their first name once, I can consistently use it, and roll with their fluid actions according to how each individual submission falls into their personal tsunami of paper with words.

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:57 pm

Muri McCage wrote:In case anyone hasn't noticed yet...I think too much.


Isn't that a prerequisite for being a writer?
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:27 am

Wasn't sure whether to post in the "almost success" thread or the "success" thread, since this is somewhat of a success for me. I've submitted to DSF many times and received Form-Rs each time until now.

Randall,

We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that your story has made our second round, rarified company that more than 90% of submissions do not reach. While half or more of our second round stories will not ultimately see publication under the DSF rocket, this story has reached the final go/no-go before launch.

The bad news--and I promised you some bad news--is that it will take us time to make that final decision. Expect an additional two weeks or so, but don't be surprised if it's a month from today. Thanks for your continued patience, and thanks for sending us this worthy submission.

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:51 am

Randy Hulshizer wrote:Wasn't sure whether to post in the "almost success" thread or the "success" thread, since this is somewhat of a success for me. I've submitted to DSF many times and received Form-Rs each time until now.


Getting the Good News/Bad News notice is success indeed--I've never had one, in 8 times of trying. But it's not a final success, so shouldn't be in the other thread, but you should have unambiguously excited feelings about this, so shouldn't be in this thread...

In summary: yay!
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:32 am

MattDovey wrote:
Randy Hulshizer wrote:Wasn't sure whether to post in the "almost success" thread or the "success" thread, since this is somewhat of a success for me. I've submitted to DSF many times and received Form-Rs each time until now.


Getting the Good News/Bad News notice is success indeed--I've never had one, in 8 times of trying. But it's not a final success, so shouldn't be in the other thread, but you should have unambiguously excited feelings about this, so shouldn't be in this thread...

In summary: yay!


Thanks, Matt. And congrats on your acceptance at FFO. Saw it on the Grinder.
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