Simultaneously Submitted

I am all for bouncing back. Rejection, um, smejection. In fact, I bounced back multiple times and sent out my story simultaneously to some more literary journals I admire. So there. Fingers crossed, maybe I’ll find a place for this particular story yet.

I am also finishing up drafts of two new short stories. (I told you I’m obsessed with stories right now.) Truth be told, it took me months—months and months—to write them and then let them sit long enough to have the perspective to return to them. This process is just not fast enough for me.

And just imagine if I sent out my stories one at a time to journals that only accept submissions exclusively. I don’t think I could stand waiting, and that’s a real shame because some incredible journals refuse to accept simultaneous submissions. I want to try the Antioch Review, The Hudson Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, the Sewanee Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review. Such good journals. I love reading them. But the idea of sending one of my new stories there, and then waaaaaaaaiiitttttttttting, with the chances so slim… well, if you know me at all you know that would be unbearable.

If any fiction writers are reading this, do you ever forgo submitting simultaneously and send exclusively to the above journals? What kind of response times are we looking at? Weeks? Months? Dare I say it… a year? (Hi, Zoetrope.)

I wonder why some magazines still do this. Is it that much of a pain to withdraw submissions once they’ve been accepted? I’ve had to do that with all of my accepted stories—send the letter or email asking it to please be withdrawn, apologies, apologies, apologies, et cetera—and in some cases the magazine just ignores me completely. Once, I got an acceptance for something about to be published. More than once, I’ve received rejection letters for stories I’ve withdrawn. I got one just last week. Clearly the system isn’t perfect. I guess the only solution is for me to write more, and more quickly, so I can try these incredible journals. Also, to be patient.

Ha. Like that’ll happen anytime soon.

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