Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hill of Salt, Pile of Beans

This writer had recently gotten her story accepted elsewhere, and had written politely to withdraw said story from Salt Hill, where it was still under simultaneous consideration.  Apparently, however, Salt Hill prefers not to miss an opportunity to reject, so they sent a rejection out anyway a few weeks later.
Thank you very much for your recent submission to Salt Hill. Regrettably, we are unable to publish it at this time. Please know that we take very seriously the job of reading all submissions that come our way, and we’re grateful that you would consider our journal when sending your writing out for publication. We remain thankful for your support and wish you the best of luck placing this work elsewhere. All the best, The Editors
Translation: Back at you, baby; we didn't want it anyway.


twinkerbell said...

I've experienced that kind of pettiness from other literary magazines as well. It used to put me off about submitting to those places again, until I volunteered as a reader for on magazine and got a little inside dirt.

Duotrope's acceptance/rejection ratio stats are badly skewed in favor of acceptances and it makes a lot of selective magazines look like they will publish anything. The zine I worked for had a true acceptance rate of 3% and a withdrawal rate of 1%. On Duotrope they was listed as 20% and 10% respectively. Stupid D users never report rejections and it ruins the whole point of having stats.

Some magazines who have listings on Duotrope are desperate for submitters to report rejections. So they'll send a rejection note along with a withdrawal if the piece really wasn't in the acceptance pile, hoping the writer will report it as a rejection.

I can't say that is the rationale of every magazine who does the withdrawal/rejection switcheroo, but it might explain the behavior of some.

JessicaB said...

What? They expect someone to report something as a rejection when it was actually withdrawn? If I was going to withdraw something, I would withdraw it and then immediately report it as withdrawn on Duotrope. If I got a rejection from the magazine shortly after, I wouldn't go back to Duotrope and change the report to a rejection. Just like I wouldn't report a rejection and then think, oh I think I'll withdraw the piece instead and go and change the report. And for what it's worth, I always report my rejections.

twinkerbell said...

Well, you're one of the people who uses Duotrope the way it was supposed to be used. Tell that to other people who selectively report stats (I don't use it.)

I really don't get the rationale behind only reporting acceptances. It's not like an account holder's stats are made public, there is no one to impress. Too many amateurs are abusing the system (not to mention clogging the slush piles with their crap).

The other possible explanation for the skew is that the very writers who use Duotrope are more experienced and more likely to be accepted. I'm not totally sold on that theory though.

Anonymous said...

I withdrew a story from a pretty high-up-there journal that uses Mish-Mash. I withdrew using the Mish-Mash "withdraw" button, plus I went to the journal's side and sent them an email, just in case they were considering the piece (fat chance!). The next day my "withdrawn" status for that story in that journal on Mish-Mash had switched to rejected. Magic!

How about that.

Anonymous said...

It's also possible that Duotrope is just a waste of time and energy.

Anonymous said...

Duotrope is a great place to find quirkier journals that might take my more bizarro stuff, but I think their inaccurate stats are a waste of time and I never believe the numbers I see. (And what writer would even use them as a basis of where to submit or not? ) Nor do I use it to record my submissions; like most writers, I have my own system.

If what Twinkerbell said is true, I think Duotrope would be improved removing the rejection/acceptance rates. Sometimes less is more.