I recently submitted Angelhands to Clarkesworld Magazine, a fantasy/sci-fi magazine. After submitting, I discovered something truly amazing about this magazine. I’m not talking about the content, which is entirely excellent, and which you can check out on your own. No, I’m talking about that little word circled in red on my poorly-done MS Paint edit above. If you can’t see it, the word is queue.
A queue. Can you believe it? This is a magazine that tells the reader exactly when it can expect a response, and lets you track the progress. How cool is that? I’ve been submitting my work for about three years now, and I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’ve seen submission managers that let you check on your story, but all they ever say is “received”, “accepted”, or “declined”. There’s no in-between. I never expected any kind of in-between. Until now.
When I first submitted my story, two days ago, it was #66. Now it’s #38. Therefore, I can reasonably assume that I’ll be getting a reply in the next few days. Because this magazine doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions, this is important to know. The more information that I have to aid my planning, the better.
This queue is fantastic, and I thank Clarkesworld for providing it. Whether or not you accept my work, you guys are rocketsauce awesome.
Angelhands, a story about Natalie Heidelmann, a girl with the ability to make people sick by touching them, has just been rejected from Asimov’s Magazine. This is after being rejected from Daily Sci-Fi and The New Yorker. Unlike some my stories that were widely rejected, I have yet to come to the conclusion that the work isn’t good enough. I still believe in the quality of this story. I just haven’t found a home for it as of yet.
I’m not sure what angle to take with it. So far, I’ve been submitting to paid markets. I don’t know why, I guess I was feeling ambitious. The fact that I want money could also be a factor. The New Yorker was obviously rather unlikely. The other two were both difficult to break into, but I thought they were worth a shot because my story can be categorized as sci-fi. From here, I’m not sure where to go. Do I keep trying with paid markets, or is that an exercise in futility? Do I keep trying with sci-fi markets, or do I send it to mainstream literary markets?
Sigh sigh sigh. All is complexity and woe.
Yesterday, I got rejected by the New Yorker. It was the best thing that had happened to me all day.
Sounds weird, right? It definitely sounded weird to the friends and family that I told this to. Who wants to be rejected?
The thing is that the New Yorker was a long shot. I never expected them to publish me. They publish Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, and Junot Diaz. Why should they look twice at someone with three published stories to her name? Besides, it had a fantasy/sci-fi edge to it. Not really the New Yorker’s style.
I submitted it because they sometimes publish unknown writers, and they sometimes publish sci-fi. Both are rare, but I was confident in the story and I thought, why the heck not? The worst thing they can do is not respond to me.
They did respond. Here it is:
Dear Anna Lindwasser,
We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.Sincerely,The Editors