Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

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Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby Chris533 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:33 pm

Would it be safe to assume getting an honorable mention increases the odds of getting that story published somewhere? Are there any publications you know of that seem to especially like stories that get an honorable mention? Thanks -
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Re: Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby disgruntledpeony » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:55 pm

Honestly, it doesn't seem to help. Even having a semi-finalist story doesn't seem to help (I speak from experience). Finalist or better, I think, are the only things that really count as being worth mentioning in a cover letter.
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Re: Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby MattDovey » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:51 am

Only insofar as a story with an HM must have something going for it, and has lifted itself above the noise somewhat. General advice is not to mention it in the cover letter, though; whilst an HM *is* an achievement, it's also (sorry) just a fancy rejection, and it's not good to mention other markets that have rejected a story in your cover letter! wotf001
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Re: Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby reigheena » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:59 am

I think you're asking about the likelihood of selling an honorable mention as is, not about whether mentioning the HM in your cover letter helps. So, here's my data points.

My submissions of HMs and SHMs have gotten me a pile of rejections and one sale to a semi-pro zine.

Some of those are only now working their way down to semi-pro zine markets after exhausting the pro markets, so I still expect to sell some of these, eventually. But my poor success rate is the reason I'm holding back on submitting my latest SHM elsewhere.
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Re: Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby vjalrik » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:07 am

Dave says he gives HMs for 4 reasons (

1.) Idea isn't fresh or interesting;
2.) Execution is off;
3.) Plotting problems;
4.) Missing elements.

These are going to remain problems wherever you submit, so you might want to take a hard look and figure out what was missing before submitting elsewhere, unless you think it was a borderline case. These are somewhat subjective, so you might luck out and catch someone who has a different opinion about how your story measures up, but I haven't had success placing any of mine elsewhere yet.
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Re: Submitting Honorable Mentions To Magazines

Postby preston » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:53 pm

I agree that in most cases, mentioning that the story you are submitting earned an HM is a definite no-no. IMHO, this is particularly true for pro and semi-pro publications, which as a rule, are not impressed by cover letters mentioning publications that are anything less than pro. Some pro editors have said flat-out that such mentions can actually count as a point against the author.

Some writers submit only to pro level publications, and will not submit to semi-pro or token. Other authors submit to pro, semi-pro and token. While a pro or semi-pro editor is not likely to be impressed by the mention of an HM, the editor of a token mag might feel differently and might be inclined to take a closer look at an HM-winning story. This is just my opinion, but is based on my own experience with submitting. When submitting to a token mag, I do sometimes mention that the story earned an HM, and in some cases, the story was, there you go. A few times I have seen that the author mentioned their HM status in their bio. Once I saw an editor write that the story you are about to read earned an HM in the WOTF. So yes, I think in some cases, mentioning that the story you are submitting earned an HM might be helpful, but in most cases, probably not. Also, mentioning that you've earned X number of HMs can, I think, be helpful too, particularly for a beginning author who's looking glumly at how short their resume is, and has little else to offer. But again, IMHO, probably only effective with token, and perhaps some semi-pro.

I've sold 6 of my HM winning stories, to both token and semi-pro mags. Most times, my HM stories make the first round, or get a personal rejection. I have also sold straight rejects too, so just because a story earns an HM, doesn't mean it will definitely sell. However, an HM winning story is a very good sign that this story will do well. DF has mentioned more than once that HM stories are stories that are publishable, that he read from beginning to end, and that he enjoyed. Flawed in some manner, perhaps and probably, but still a sellable story. With the number of entries in each quarter to be a verified "several thousand," earning an HM means that you are in the top two percent, assuming that several thousand means at least 4000. I think it's probably a little more than that, but that's another thread to unravel. The point is, earning an HM is not a fluke. It means the story was good enough to rise to the top of the slush pile and get a second pass. It's something, I think, to be proud of.

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