Solutions not Resolutions – Dirty Work

January 14, 2013 at 4:37 am (writing) (, , , , , , , )

I’m tweaking my second rewrite at the moment (yes – it is finished) and prepping for my next round of submissions (I’m anticipating 6-7). This includes something I don’t like to do at all, but I consider it a necessary evil. I’m sending a retraction of a submission.

This is only my third retraction, which isn’t bad considering the number of submissions I’ve made to date. It was almost my fourth. I received a response mere days before I was going to send one out one summer – a very belated rejection (the story has since been published elsewhere.)

I’d like to wait until I get a response to the retraction, to make sure it has been read, but the truth is, I could end up waiting just as long (another delay) in order to *not* get that acknowledgement, and I’m not about to do that. I’ll give it a few days and then put it back on my “available for submission” list. Considering it has been sitting with the publisher for fourteen months for an anticipated charity anthology that doesn’t seem to be manifesting, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable, and I did withdraw it in a civil manner.

Of course, it could be like my first retraction and be ignored. That was a story I retracted after a year’s wait without response and I had an acceptance for it elsewhere within a month. Two months after that, I received a rejection letter from the original venue where I had sent the retraction – and this from a pro-rate market. I’m not going to name names, or point elbows, but I thought that was very “un” professional and I let them know it in a polite way. I don’t intend on submitting anything else to them after that.

My second retraction didn’t get an acknowledgement right away, and I had just re-submitted the story when I got an e-mail begging me not to withdraw it – that they wanted it and apologizing for the delay. I felt bad when I withdrew the submission from the second publisher, and I explained why I was doing it, but I haven’t submitted anything else to that second publisher since. I’ve heard publishers will blacklist you for things like that and I don’t feel like testing that theory.

So what merits a retraction? I’ve heard established authors who only sell for pro rates say that after five months they’ll pull their submission, because anything beyond that is unreasonable. I usually wait at least six months after the submission closing date (longer if they state it will take longer up front) or twelve months if there is no closing date. I’ve let this one slide a little more, but I’ve reached the end of my rope. This is twice I’ve had issues with this publisher being tardy with a response and I’m not up for giving them another chance – not when I have several other publishers I’ve worked with who have been much more reliable.

Oh well – back to the grindstone…


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