Something that we all worry about – waiting times. How long does it take from posting your story off to getting a verdict?
Well I thought I’d list out the magazines and try to give some idea of how long the wait is – generally - but when I started to count days, weeks, months – years . . . it’s impossible to say! I may as well tell you how long a piece of string is. It’s about . . . well this long . . . see?
It’s handy having friends who write for the same magazines.
“Have you heard anything recently?”
“No, how about you?”
“Not a thing, but so-and-so had one accepted last week and I heard someone else had one taken the week before so they’re obviously still buying . . .”
Cue avalanche of doubt and despair, often followed by avalanche of big brown envelopes through the letterbox (speaking of which I had two more this morning).
In the case of the People’s Friend, no news is quite likely to be good news, but it isn’t set in stone. They do tend to turn rejections round pretty fast though so if you haven’t heard anything don’t despair!
Not so with the other mags. I’ve had stories rejected and accepted within a week of sending them in. I’ve had stories rejected after a year of waiting and others accepted after six months.
They have to be read by more than one person – several in some cases. If you’ve sent two in and one comes winging its way back, you know the other one has probably gone on for a further reading and is in with a chance.
It would be nice wouldn’t it, to follow a story on its journey, to see what happens when it arrives, who reads it and what the process is? Or maybe it’s better left as a bit of a mystery!
What about chasing them up? I’d give it six months – at least! I’ve chased up stories in the past only to have them arrive with rejection slips days later. Would they have held on to them for future consideration if I’d left it? Or were they rejections that had simply been forgotten? Who knows? I don’t.
And just to illustrate why you should never give up, a friend of mine recently sold a story she’d written in 2001. It was entered for two or three competitions, but wasn’t suitable for any of the magazines. However, there was something she liked about the story and she rewrote it and sent it off to five different magazines in turn – the fifth one bought it.
The same friend had a rejection from The Lady after two years – her story had fallen down the back of somewhere and they’d only just found it. Best magazine found one of hers in a filing cabinet after eight months – and rejected it.
There are stories of mine that have been out there for years. I assume they’ve been lost or forgotten (maybe they’ve fallen down the back of somewhere) and one of these days I’ll get round to resubmitting them – maybe.
I wish I could have been more helpful! But it may help to know we are all crammed into the same little boat – waiting . . .