After the post about all the great submissions for the Lasting Love anthology, I had to follow up with this short post. As I said, all the submissions were good, and I have a feeling that the one I didn’t actually get a chance to read was good, too.
I’ll explain. Last Friday afternoon I received a last minute e-mail from a writer who wanted to submit for the anthology, but didn’t see the call for submission until that week. The deadline was Saturday, and the writer wanted to know if they could submit early the following week. They couldn’t submit on Saturday because of religious reasons, and apologized a thousand times. So I replied and said they could submit on Monday or Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if I’d be working on Sunday (I did anyway) so there would still be time early in the week to read the short story. I don’t know how other editors feel, but when someone contacts me at the last minute with a well written e-mail and a good voice, I’m curious and I want to know more about them.
As it turned out, this writer didn’t get a chance to submit anything because of the time factor. And I understood that; I’ve been there myself. The writer e-mailed me after reading the Lasting Love post I wrote, and explained this in another well written, professional e-mail.
So if this writer is reading this post, I’m hoping they continue to follow the ravenous romance calls for submissions, because now I’m really curious.
The Lasting Love anthology is coming along well. So well, I’ll be able to submit it earlier than I’d originally planned. And I have to admit that everyone who submitted did an excellent job. The writers worked hard and they produced some sexy, romantic short stories that I’ll never forget. I’ll post about some of the stories later, but in this post I wanted to thank everyone who submitted. Each and every submission was fantastic!!
I only wish I’d been able to include more submissions, because so many people took the time and effort to produce such great work. But the problem with any anthology or collection is that there’s a word count, and some things have to be rejected. That’s the part I hate; having to tell a writer I couldn’t include something because too many people submitted stories and I had to decide which fit best with the title.
So when I write back, and I will write each and every writer who submitted to Lasting Love, and say that the rejection was based on a subjective, unbiased opinion, I hope they understand. Rejections like these are not personal; if an editor could include all the stories submitted, he or she would; but that’s not possible or practical. As a writer, I’ve had many of these rejections myself in the past so I know the feeling.
But I wanted to thank everyone who did submit. There’s a lot of talent out there and I hope these wonderful writers from all over the world continue to submit more work to ravenous romance in the future.
I’ve been receiving so many wonderful submissions for the “Lasting Love” anthology I thought I’d post something about replies from editors. First, we all know there are no hard and fast rules and that every editor has his or her own style and opinion. But I can tell you from experience, the best always reply. And they do it fast, too.
When I first started submitting work to editors, everything was done through snail mail, so things were a little different than they are today. Along with the submission, I’d write up a brief cover letter with a three or four sentence plot description, and then I’d enclose a SASE so the editor could let me know the submission had arrived in tact. If I wanted confirmation, it was my job (and at my expense) to include the SASE. No problem; I never minded doing this. But the big problem then was that you never knew whether or not a story was actually accepted. It took months to hear a reply if the editor wanted it, and if they didn’t want it they rarely ever bothered to tell you. So I’d usually give each submitted story a six month time frame, and if I hadn’t heard anything by then I’d resubmit to someone else. Building good relationships over time with editors was extremely important to me. They usually responded one way or the other if they knew you…even with snail mail…because they wanted you to continue submitting to them in the future.
Then the world changed and we entered the electronic age. The transition didn’t happen overnight, but I think it’s safe to say that very few things nowadays are submitted through snail mail. (In 2001, I was actually told by an editor at a fairly large publishing house that either I started submitting electronically, or I’d be wasting my time.) It was a good thing, too. Editors and writers were now communicating with little effort. We didn’t become pen pals; the e-mails were short and to the point. But it was finally nice to hear, a few days after submitting something, that short note that said: “Got it. I’ll get back to you one way or the other.”
Now, since we started submitting and communicating electronically, I’ve found that different editors have different approaches. Some will reply that they’ve received the submission without being asked to do so, others ask you to mention that you’d like a confirmation, and some won’t reply one way or the other. (I have a habit of always stating, “If you could let me know that you’ve received this, I’d appreciate it.”) But once again, and I can say this from experience, the best editors will always reply. And for me this has never been about etiquette; for me it’s about business. When I write something and submit it to one editor, I do not submit to anyone else until I hear from that editor. But I also know that if the piece is not accepted for publication with the first editor, I’m going to re-submit it to someone else as quickly as I get the rejection. Writing is a business, and I’ve learned there’s little time to sit and worry about rejection. And in all the years I’ve been writing, I can say with confidence that when something has been rejected by one editor, I’ve always found another one who is ready to buy it.
But when you don’t hear from the editor, it ties up the submission and it can get confusing. Because if I don’t hear anything in six months (or whatever the deadline date was for submission), that piece is out to another editor before my computer can say “file’s done.” I can’t even list the amount of times I’ve submitted something to editor #one, and then after I’ve submitted it to editor #two and sold it, editor #one wants it. Sometimes it’s a matter of days (you hear nothing for six months, and in two days time everyone wants it), and all editor #one had to do was keep me updated and I’d never have re-submitted it to anyone else. I hate to turn them down, especially if they were the first choice. But life is about moving on and moving forward and I learned a long time ago that if you don’t think this way as a writer you’re usually sorry later.
Of course, even with e-mail now, I’ve also had the experience of never hearing anything at all from the editor. I’ll submit something and they never reply one way or the other. That’s fine, too, but I tend to remember this and shy away from working with this editor again in the future. I don’t think it’s that difficult nowadays to send a simple reply and keep the writer updated; I do this myself when I’m editing an anthology, because I know how it feels to be kept waiting. It takes one minute from my life to let the writer know that I’ve received the submission and that I’ll be in touch one way or the other. And this is something that I’ve learned from working with some really excellent editors over the years; the best. I’ve also learned that when I don’t get a reply from an editor, it’s usually because they are either amateurs or they just don’t care. But one thing is certain, the best ones always reply that they’ve received the submission and that they will let the writers know one way or the other.
Editor: Ryan Field
Deadline: February 14, 2009
Romance author Ryan Field is editing an anthology titled, “Lasting Love,” for ravenousromance.com that deals with couples who have been together a long time. Looking for short stories, or essays, that range from 2,000 – 5,000 words, about couples who have lasted. This could include married couples, or unmarried couples; just as long as they have been together for more than five years. Ages could range from couples who were high school sweethearts, now in their mid-twenties, to couples in their early fifties. This is mainly hetero, but a few same sex couple stories will be considered. The hotter the better, but the storyline and quality of writing has to be strong, and the characters have to be well developed and believable.
The romantic aspects of this are unlimited, and it’s a chance to write about a topic that offers many creative possibilities.
Submission deadline is February 14, 2009. E-mail your completed stories to firstname.lastname@example.org in MS Word format. Include all contact info on the first page of the ms, including pen name and real name. Payment: A pro rata share of a 38% e-book, 15% audiobook, and 50% subsidiary rights royalty. And an advance of 10.00.
About the Editor: Ryan Field is a 35 year old freelance writer who lives and works in both New Hope, PA and Los Angeles, CA. His work has appeared in many books and anthologies over the past fifteen years, published by Cleis Press, STARbooks Press, Alyson Books, and others including well known print magazines and e-books.