Have you heard anything yet?
When I get to hang out with my fellow writers, this is usually one of the first questions I ask or they ask. Normals (non-writers) phrase it a little differently. “So when is your book coming out?” If only it was that simple 🙂
When I started querying magazines with my short stories, it was my first experience with the waiting game. I was so nervous when I sent out my first short story. I was aiming high, so I sent it to one of the more prestigious magazines. They didn’t take electronic submissions, so I had to send it via certified mail. I know they received it, yet December 15th will be a year, and I still haven’t heard anything.
When I sent out my second short story, I decided not to sent it to a magazine that didn’t accept simultaneous submissions. It was still six months before I heard anything from the three magazines I queried. The good news is that one of those magazines, Bards and Sages Quarterly, wanted to publish my story, and they did so in their October issue two months ago. They list on their website that they will get back to you in three months, so after that deadline passed, I figured they weren’t interested. A few weeks after they accepted my story, the other two magazines sent me rejection letters. So far my average response time was not fast at all.
My third story saw much quicker responses. One magazine sent a rejection after a week. Two others sent them within two months. I’m still waiting to hear from the last magazine I sent it to.
What does all this mean? Quite simply that there is no fixed answer to when we as writers will hear back from those we send our material to. Sometimes I realize that’s part of the gig. Other times it can be maddening. After my first two short stories didn’t receive quick responses, I concluded that a long wait meant they weren’t interested. But that’s not always true. It really seems to do with how busy the editor or agent is at the time. And from what I read on agents blogs, they are super swamped most of the time.
Which brings me back to my original question. I had three requests for a full manuscript for Soul Yearning this year, but haven’t heard anything yet. Thankfully my experience with short stories has taught me not to read too much into the length of time it takes to get a response. Once it’s sent off, the goal is to keep writing and leave the results in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean it isn’t maddening at times, but it’s how this gig works.
So, how about you? Are you playing the waiting game right now? How long did it take for you to get a response (positive or negative) when you submitted your story somewhere?