Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lost submissions

Am I the only poet submitting work to magazines whose submissions get lost on a semi-regular basis? So I send in an inquiry about a submission and get told (as I just was this morning) that "We have no record of your April submission."

I have not kept statistics (who would want to?), but it seems to happen to me several times a year that an inquiry leads to a result like that. I wonder sometimes if it's a matter of rejections that don't make it from North America to Switzerland for some reason (am I not putting enough return postage on the envelopes?), but this last one was an email submission!


Marion McCready said...

What a nightmare, I have to stop myself from hassling editors to see if they've received my submission, especially when the reply time far exceeds the website's claim.
Luckly I've not had any submissions lost (yet) but I've come to realise that when the website says reply time 6 weeks it really means 3 months, and when it says 3 months it means 6 months!

Unknown said...

You are not the only one. It's hard to get a straight answer from some journals--even some of the best--too. If I haven't heard from them in twice the listed reporting time and they haven't answered my inquiries, I just assume something got lost somewhere.

It's partly for this reason that I've finally entered the exciting world of simultaneous submissions!

Justin Evans said...


I have had submissions lost more times than I care to remember. If you do a search on my blog you can read about some of the nightmares I have had in this area, but long stories short, I know what it feels like.

You are not alone in this.

Ruth B. Shields said...

Yes, you could keep statistics in honor our father! And you could do it using an Excel spreadsheet in honor of me (known as "Charts" by my (wife)).

SarahJane said...

I've had submissions "lost." I've also had to query via snail mail, only to obviously have my query also get "lost." And I want my fucking stamps back.

Mark Granier said...

Doesn't happen to me often, as i don't often submit these days. Any suggestions on good mags/journals to submit to, ones that have a reasonable response time etc.?

Tony Williams said...

'It's partly for this reason that I've finally entered the exciting world of simultaneous submissions!'

Watch out, Karin, I also dabbled there and had my fingers burned.

I had a poem accepted over nearly two years ago by a journal which shows no signs of publishing it. I wonder if they've lost the proofs?

Andrew Shields said...

Mark, you might take a look at Steve Schroeder's database:

Jane Holland said...

I am guilty of this at Horizon Review - not so much losing the emails but absentmindedly forgetting to note down on paper which poems I've accepted from a raft of submissions, and then having to spend hours trawling Sent emails later in order to find my original response. That's when I can remember accepting the poems at all!

No, it's not that bad. I'm wildly exaggerating. I did forget someone's poem once though and had to agree to publish it in the next issue. It's frighteningly easy to do with email subs, because if you forget to transfer the YES sub out of the Subs inbox into the Accepted inbox, it may languish there forgotten amongst hundreds of NO subs.

Okay, so why don't I delete the unsuccessful submissions? Just in case I've left a YES there by accident.

I once had a poem accepted by a major journal, whose editor then lost it and forgot about me. By the time I politely enquired, the poem was already published in book form. So I know and appreciate the pain of it all from both sides of the publishing divide.

I do however attempt to reply within the 30-day turnaround rule. Doesn't always work, but I genuinely try. Sorlil will no doubt agree I can be fairly speedy though ... when I want to be!