Monday, August 18, 2008

A New England Rejection

The coldest rejection on earth, and not the only one.  And yet I keep trying with them.  Why?  

From: pshares@emerson.edu
Subject: Your submission to Ploughshares

Dear Writer:

We regret that the manuscript you submitted does not fit our current editorial needs. Thank you very much for sending us your work.

Sincerely,

The Editors of Ploughshares

2008-08-15 xx:xx:xx (GMT -X:XX)

11 comments:

KATE EVANS said...

brrrrrr...it can get really cold in August.

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, I got a handwritten note from Margot Livesey sitting on my desk. She liked my story but it didn't seem right for the current guest editor. It was very warm and thoughtful, but they still ain't publishing my story. :)

Elizabeth said...

I've subbed to P'shares three times -- and twice withdrawn my work because I get fed up with the maddeningly lethargic response time. (Even though it's not that much longer than, say, The Sun or Zoetrope All Story or certain other notoriously slow journals). I have a piece there now, but every time I check Duotrope, I'm tempted to pull it.

W,R: How many months did you wait for this this chilly missive?

BTW, The New Yorker's form rejection is equally icy:

"We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.

Sincerely,

The Editors"

Feh.

Writer, Rejected said...

8 months

Jade Park said...

New Orleans Review sent me the tiniest rejection slip thus far, measuring in at 2.5" x 4"

Ploughshares has taken (to date anyway) the longest to send a response. For me: 7 months, 13 days.

Elizabeth said...

Seven months! Eight months! 256 days! That's the latest response Duotrope shows for Ploughshares tonight -- 8.5 months. Gyawd, what are they doing over there?

I know it's nowhere near the worst, and I realize they accept simsubs. I guess what gets to me is the truncated form reply. Really? Too damn busy to either send a timely rejection or a personal note after 3/4 of a year? It just strikes me as so self-important. Everyone's busy; manage it.

End of rant. I think.

Anonymous said...

What are they doing at Ploughshares? Their editor of many years is stepping down and they are transitioning to a new one in October.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who used to work at Ploughshares. The journal gets over 8-9 thousand submissions during a given reading period. A lot of the readers are volunteers who are also graduate students that have their own crap to deal with. The reason it probably took so long was because (obviously) it takes a long time to read that many stories, most averaging 20-25 pages long, especially when you have a small staff to begin with.
Personally, I think it's self-important to expect anything other than a form reply. You're just a writer, there are nine thousand more of you sending work. Seriously. Also, what does a form rejection matter versus a handwritten one anyway? A rejection is a rejection is a rejection. Deal with it. Move on.
If you want a faster response time, apply to a smaller journal, one that not every writer is submitting to with no regard for the journal aesthetic. Or don't submit at all. I've worked for two journals so far and most of the stuff that came in really shouldn't have been sent in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who used to work at Ploughshares. The journal gets over 8-9 thousand submissions during a given reading period. A lot of the readers are volunteers who are also graduate students that have their own crap to deal with. The reason it probably took so long was because (obviously) it takes a long time to read that many stories, most averaging 20-25 pages long, especially when you have a small staff to begin with.
Personally, I think it's self-important to expect anything other than a form reply. You're just a writer, there are nine thousand more of you sending work. Seriously. Also, what does a form rejection matter versus a handwritten one anyway? A rejection is a rejection is a rejection. Deal with it. Move on.
If you want a faster response time, apply to a smaller journal, one that not every writer is submitting to with no regard for the journal aesthetic. Or don't submit at all. I've worked for two journals so far and most of the stuff that came in really shouldn't have been sent in the first place.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, I've worked at journals, too. I work at one now. I think the attitude that I'm "just a writer" is crap. Without writers, journals would have no reason to exist. There are plenty of journals that get hundreds of submissions per month and manage their workload in a timely manner. (And as I said above, there are those equally as egregious as Ploughshares.) Glimmer Train runs on a staff of two, and manages to stick pretty close to its projected response of 60 days. Missouri Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Ninth Letter, Cincinnati Review, AGNI -- all staffed by graduate students, all credible if not exceptional journals, all garnering enormous numbers of submissions, all with average response times under 90 days.

Ploughshares is an exceptional journal, otherwise I wouldn't fool with it. But it's always been slow going (I don't think the editorial turnover has much to do with it).

Seriously, though. Deal with it? Move on? Thanks for the great advice. You realize you're posting to a blog that is devoted to bitching about this stuff, right?

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, deal with it. Move on.