03 February 2024

Waiting Is Another Story


  

This past week I got an acceptance from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which of course made my day. (The knowledge that it'll probably be a long time until the story'll appear in print didn't dampen my mood a bit. Let loose the balloons--it's an acceptance.) I admit my insecurities: I need a pat on the head now and then, and it's always a warm feeling when an editor decides to publish something I created. 

But in the case of AHMM, I've often been asked it it's worth the wait. Sometimes it's a long one, from submission to response. 

How long? As most of us know by now, AHMM editor Linda Landrigan--one of the kindest and most professional editors I know--has said she reads every story herself. That must be a daunting task--I can't even imagine it--and for the writers who submit stories to her, it means a lengthy wait. Most of my submissions to the magazine over the past few years have taken from twelve to fourteen months to get a reply--this latest one took 410 days--and the thing is, not all of those responses were acceptances. Heaven knows, waiting an average of thirteen months only to receive a rejection can be pretty discouraging.

There's certainly no guarantee. As the old carnival guy used to say, as he chewed his cigar and showed you a raised eyebrow and three walnut shells (only one of which had a pea underneath), "You pays your money and you takes your chances." Are you willing to bet a year's time for the possibility of placing a story in a leading magazine?

I love AHMM, and I love writing stories for them, but my acceptance/rejection ratio hasn't been great there. Not for lack of trying; I started submitting stories to them (and to everyplace else) in 1994, when the wonderful Cathleen Jordan was the editor. The first one Cathleen accepted was in late 1995--I'll always remember it, a 1200-word bank-robbery story that appeared in the June '96 issue--and I've sold them 25 stories since then. Which sounds okay, at first--BUT there were a lot of rejections along the way. I don't know how many stories I've sent AHMM in thirty years to come up with those 26 acceptances, but I know it was a lot more than 26. Probably three or four times that many. I can thankfully say my success rate's better there now than it used to be--I was lucky enough to have six stories there in the past two years--but there were a lot of years when I had no stories published there.

So--again--is it worth it?

Consider the alternatives. There are at least half a dozen other mystery magazines out there right now that I think are respectable and worth our time as writers and readers. I submit stories to all of them pretty regularly, and I have been fortunate to have had stories published in all of them. And none of those magazines take as long to respond to submissions as AHMM does. Some are surprisingly fast. Should we mystery writers be sending the fruits of our writing efforts to those places, instead?

 

Some of my writer friends have chosen to do that. Several have said that a year or more (usually more) is just too long to tie up a good story that might've been submitted, accepted, and even published elsewhere in less time than it takes to receive a rejection from AHMM. Some of these are authors I admire a lot, and it's hard to say they're wrong.

As for me, I've decided to do both. I do submit stories to the other magazines--I think it'd be silly not to--but I also submit stories to Linda, and I plan to continue doing that. I realize the wait is long, and since I'm not as young as I used to be, I find myself more conscious of time, and of wasted time. I understand all that. And yes, my AHMM batting average isn't the best. But anytime I start thinking too hard about that, I think again about the thrill of getting an acceptance from them--and I send them another story. I can't resist it. I keep remembering the old saying that success isn't guaranteed if you try, but failure is guaranteed if you don't.

I hope their wait time decreases in the future. I'll welcome that, if it does. And I hope I'll get better at writing in the future, so I can be certain everything I send in gets accepted (ha!). But even if neither of those things happen, I plan to keep sending stories to all the mystery magazines, Hitchcock included. Why not?

What's your opinion, on this? Are you fed up with what some call unreasonable response times to submissions? Have you decided, however reluctantly, not to submit to AHMM anymore, because of that? (By the way, there are other magazines that also make you wait awhile.) Do you accept those long wait times as a necessary evil, sort of a cost of doing business? Do you compromise, and still submit to AHMM but not as often as you once did? Do you send them stories only as a last resort, stories that have been rejected several times elsewhere? (I'm not sure that's a good idea.) Either way, pro or con, please let me know in the comments. Am I--and Rob Lopresti, who's said he's also hanging in there--the only ones who've decided to hold the course?

Meanwhile, good luck with all your submissions, to any and all markets. I'll watch the sky for balloons.


Hey, nobody said this would be easy . . .



53 comments:

  1. It's frustrating, John. AHMM is my best market, with 45 sales, but I have had 93 rejections (starting in 1976). Under Linda my batting average is 55% but it has been dropping since she rejected my most recent five stories. The fact that I have had stories in the most recent two issues and will have more in the next two makes it seem like I'm doing great there, but that's because of the long wait to publication that you mentioned.

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    1. Indeed it is, Rob. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for beginning writers. Such a long time to wait to receive any response at ALL. Congratulations once again, though, for your outstanding track record, there. You and R.T. Lawton continue to inspire the rest of us, at AHMM.

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  2. Congratulations once again, John. I think your batting average is pretty darn impressive! (Mine is zero.) I’m not prolific to begin with, and I write more horror than mysteries, so I’ve decided to give AHMM a pass. I’ve had good luck with Mystery Magazine and a number of anthologies, and will stick with them.

    It’ been said before, but I’ll say it again. You are an inspiration to us all.
    Edward Lodi

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    1. Hey Edward. Yep, Mystery Magazine is a great market, and pretty receptive to those cross-genre stories I like, with some horror or other supernatural elements thrown in.

      Interesting to see your comment alongside Rob's, one of you having decided not to keep trying AHMM and the other deciding to continue sending them stories--and good reasons on both sides. I suspect there are plenty of folks divided on that issue. A year is just SUCH a long time to wait.

      Thanks as always for the thoughts!

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  3. I don't send them anything as I know I am not good enough to have a chance there. I do think the wait time is something to think about as one would like to see stuff in print before it all ends.

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    1. Hi Kevin. Don't say you're not good enough to have a chance at AHMM--I've read your stories. And you know how subjective all this is. But yes, the response time is certainly discouraging. Hang in there, and keep writing.

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  4. My first sale of any mystery story was to AHMM, "Grown Ups Are All Alike", which Cathleen Jordan, God bless her, took from the slush pile in 1997. That made my whole YEAR. Since then, I've sold 31 stories to AHMM, and 3 of them have made it to the Honorable Mention list of "The Best American Mystery Stories" of 2012, 2022, and 2023. (Someday I hope to crack into making the top 20).
    But oh, yes, the waiting time is... infinite. I'm still hanging in there with her, but the last one was a rejection.
    Meanwhile, I send to Black Cat, Mystery Magazine, Murderous Ink Press (they seem to like me in Britain), and many others. Haven't ever cracked EQMM, or The Strand... maybe someday.
    AND CONGRATULATIONS, JOHN!!! Huzzah and balloons indeed!

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    1. Eve, I doubt I'll ever catch up to you, at AHMM--and you started there after I did!! And how many writers can say their first-ever mystery story was published at AHMM?

      Congratulations, by the way, on those Honorable Mentions at BAMS--what lots of folks don't realize is, that meant each of those stories of yours made the "top 50 mysteries of the year" list.

      As for other mystery markets, yes, we should mention Murderous Ink often--in fact, I just got my copy of Crimeucopia: Say It Again (Murderous Ink's anthology of reprints) and I see that both you and I are in there. (Always an honor for me, if I share a Table of Contents with you!)

      Keep up the great writing!

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  5. First of all, congratulations on the acceptance, John. Certainly worth celebrating!

    I made my first professional sale to AHMM, and in total they've published six of my stories. Like you, I still think it's worth submitting there. That said, it's rare for me to have more than one story in their queue. I can justify tying up one story that long, but I don't write enough stories to want multiples in that situation.

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    1. That's a good point, Joe. Having several in their queue does tie up all those stories for a long time. The other side of that is, if you don't have several in the queue at once, it'll certainly be a long time between having stories published there.

      I try to send them a story every few months, but in recent years I've held off a bit longer. At the moment I have two in their queue that I've not heard anything on yet (one of them submitted in January of last year, so it's coming due soon) and two more that have been accepted but are not yet published. The most I've ever had in their queue at once is five. It's hard to know what's right and what's wrong, on all this. I guess we just try whatever seems to work . . .

      Congrats on those six stories! As I mentioned to you recently, you have accomplished more in a very short time than any other writer I know. Keep it up!!

      Thanks as always.

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  6. Linda's encouraging comments about a story she rejected led to a publication in Rock and a Hard Place Issue Seven (Looking for Mishka). I submitted a new story to AHMM last spring and will wait until late this summer to see if she likes it. But I wrote it for AHMM and I'm willing to wait. If she doesn't want it I'm confident I can place it with one of my other publishers. A "Published in AHMM" credit is valuable coin of the realm. Hoping for my first.

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    1. Hey Jim. I love it that you got a positive note from Linda and then sold that story to RaaHP. That sure eases the pain of rejection, doesn't it! I also like it that you sent AHMM a story that you wrote specifically for them. (I've done that only once, with a short story about MacGuffins--she took that one, and I'm hoping she'll take yours as well.) Keeping fingers crossed for you--please let me know the outcome.

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    2. Will do. Thanks.

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  7. The Internet made it easier to submit. Yay! But publishers were flooded, increasing wait times.

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    1. Mike, I think that's certainly one of the reasons for the long wait times. I once heard a writer say, "Isn't it great? Now it's SO easy to submit our stories. Whoa. Wait a minute. That isn't great at all."

      In the old days, submitting stories took quite a commitment. We wrote our stories using a typewriter, stuffed them into an envelope along with a cover letter and an SASE, beat feet to the post office, stood in line awhile, and paid to mail the envelope. Now we type stories on the computer, send them off free via email or an online submission system, and that's that. One can only imagine how many BAD stories get submitted, that do nothing but clog the queue.

      That's just the way it is. Whattayagonnado?

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  8. I've had six acceptances and nine rejections for AHMM and seven acceptances and 18 rejections for EQMM. But that doesn't tell the whole story. All but one of my EQMM acceptances were between 2009 and 2013, but I still send them everything first, because why not? But as I've developed as a writer, my stories are no longer a good fit. Also, the market has become terribly crowded for fewer and fewer slots in only six issues a year these days. My last rejection was for a rare story that was perfect for EQMM, the best I've ever done according to one Edgar-nominated friend (I have several, so don't try to guess). Janet's rejection letter said, "This one came close." My first AHMM acceptance came in 2015, and Linda has been more receptive to my work in recent years, accepting the other stories from 2019 on. AHMM is a better home for most of what I'm writing now.

    It's about far more than the numbers and the cachet of having stories with (and most times, my name on the cover of, along with some of the greats) the two best crime fiction magazines in the world, as many agree. The money is better than anywhere else, and that's a factor too. But the other thing I can't get anywhere else (even by publishing novels with a major house, as it turned out), is having thousands—tens of thousands—of mystery lovers, including fabled crime fiction writers, read my work and remember my name. Especially read my work. As the credit card ad used to say—priceless.

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    1. You're right, Liz, it's such an honor to be featured in either of the two magazines. And you mentioned something I hadn't thought to say--some stories just "work" better at certain publications. I still can't accurately predict which stories of mine will sell where, but we all know that AHMM is receptive to certain things that EQMM isn't, and vice versa, and the same goes for other magazines in our mystery community. I salute you for figuring out how that works, and thus sending your own stories to the places where they're the best fit. (This really ISN'T easy, is it?)

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    2. John, thanks for this illuminating and candid post. You say "we all know that AHMM is receptive to certain things that EQMM isn't, and vice versa," but I guess I'm one of those who doesn't know. Can you say more about that? I've been published twice in AHMM and once in EQMM (with two more forthcoming), but I never really know what they want except for my best stuff. I will say that Linda and Janet are both great--I live in NYC and have met them both a few times.

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    3. Jeff, you might find this piece I wrote useful about this: https://www.sleuthsayers.org/2019/10/the-last-lesson-queen-vs-hitchcock.html

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    4. Hey Jeff -- Only just saw your note. First, congrats on getting into both magazines! I snuck in somehow to AHMM pretty early but it took a long time for me to break into EQMM.

      Looks as if Rob's SS post in his comment will probably have already answered your question, and I agree with all the points he made. I've seen firsthand, with my own stories, that EQ seems to prefer longer, more traditional mysteries, Sherlock Holmes-type stories, etc. And AH is certainly more receptive to shorter and more lighthearted mysteries, including stories that are outright humorous. AHMM has also bought a couple of my Westerns and a couple of stories that had supernatural elements, and I'm not sure those would've flown at EQMM. But honestly, I would suspect either magazine would be receptive to almost any excellent story, even one that pushed the limits a bit. Hope all this helps!

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    5. Thanks to both of you!

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  9. The numbers are impressive, John. I've had 12 stories published in AHMM, one in the pipeline (coming soon), and one rejection. For me the wait has been worth it, so I don't really mind it. But as I get older (and I'm definitely older), I worry that I'll be gone before the story appears. Still, I'm working out an idea right now, so obviously I'm still optimistic.

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    1. Look at it this way, Susan: Surely you have an obligation to stick around until all your accepted stories get published. So if we keep getting acceptances, maybe that's the secret to living a really long life.

      Only one rejection, at AHMM?? Whoa. THAT is what's impressive. My hat's off to you.

      And I agree with you--the wait is worth it.

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  10. My very first 'real' professional publication was with AHMM, over 20 years ago, so I have a special place for it in my heart. Nowadays, my concentration is novels, which require deadlines, so writing a short story is a wonderful, sneaky little pleasure I give myself a couple times a year. Usually, this means writing for an anthology, which is rather nice (not having to do the magazine roulette.) But I do miss the thrill of being accepted in Hitchcock or Queen. One day, I will leave the novels behind and get back to my true love.

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    1. I hope you *don't* leave the novels behind, Melodie--your novels are wonderful. And you're so blessed to be talented in both forms of fiction.

      You're right, though, there's something special about shorts--they ARE so much fun to write. Don't give up on either one.

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  11. It looks like I'm writing in good company. A few days ago, I too got an acceptance from AHMM. This one only took 404 days for a reply, and followed a drought of four straight rejections.

    One of my future blogs will concern some of my stats and conclusions with AHMM.

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    1. I look forward to that, R.T.--As mentioned, you and Rob are my AHMM heroes. And congrats on this latest thumbs-up.

      Man, 404 days is a long time.

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  12. Since my first publication in AHMM in 2016, I've had 12 stories published in AHMM and have another accepted and awaiting publication. With EQMM, I've had 5 published and one awaiting publication. So, I've clearly had better luck with AHMM.

    What I try to do is alternate submissions. If I write a story that doesn't have an obvious target market (say, something written to fit an anthology's call for submissions), I send it to EQMM. I send the next one to AHMM. Then back to EQMM for the third story. And so on. Of course, if a story is rejected by one magazine, it often goes to the other one next.

    This means I'm sending approximately the same number of submissions to each magazine.

    Though I'm not as prolific as I was a few years back, I'm still submitting several stories a year to each of them.

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    1. Michael, we're together on that--I too have had better luck at AHMM than EQMM. I've been in EQ seven times, and my appearances there have been few and far between (latest one this past summer). Also like you, I probably send about the same number of stories to one as to the other. I do like the fact that I usually hear back in three or four months from EQ. Acceptances there generally take about a month longer than my rejections do--or at least that seems to be so.

      Knowing how much time you spend on editing your anthologies, I'm always surprised you have ANY time left over for writing. (Is Temple any relation to Lois Lane?)

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  13. I have submitted 46 stories to AHHM, including several Black Orchid Novella Award entries. I have had six accepted (I'm still waiting for the contract for the acceptance on 1/19, for which I received no email). When I first submitted in 2005, the wait time was about four months, and now It's nearly fifteen.

    Since Ellery Queen MM is published by the same publisher and the office is in the same building, and the longest I've waited for any of my 56 rejections (no sales) is about five months, it's hard to reconcile the difference. I've met Linda three times and agree that she's delightful and professional, but the wait time is nonsense. Art Taylor and Joseph Walker (and maybe others on this blog) teach writing, and I'll bet they agree with me on this: After a few weeks of a class, you have a clear understanding of what a student will produce, so you can read more quickly, even skim. After 30 years of editing the magazine, you should know by the end of the first page, or maybe even the first paragraph, whether the story will fit or not.

    Yes, I keep sending to Alfred and Ellery because they pay more. They also pay on acceptance. Sign the contract, and the money is on the way. Black Cat Mystery Magazine, on the other hand, doesn't pay until publication. I had a story accepted there in October of 2021, and my best estimate is that it will appear early in 2025. It works out to roughly a dime a day.

    I send many stories to Mystery Magazine and Tough because I like working with the editors. They pay quickly, too. As my age increases and my health diminishes, that's a factor.

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    1. Join the club, Steve--sounds as if you too have been more fortunate at AHMM than EQMM. I keep asking my buddies David Dean and Josh Pachter, who have each published TONS of great stories at EQ, for the secret handshake, but they keep wandering off and changing the subject.

      Yes, Art and Joe and all of us agree that thirteen, fourteen, fifteen months is too long to wait for a response to a submission, and I can't blame you a bit for not continuing to send stories to AH. All I can do is join you in wishing it wasn't such a wait--but I also can't stop submitting stories to them. Been doing it for too many years, I guess. And, as has been said, Linda is just wonderful.

      I certainly agree with you on Mystery Magazine and Tough--both their editors are a pleasure to deal with. I of course also like the Strand and BCMM and Sherlock Holmes MM, and Woman's World (which is also a mystery market, if you write very very short). I will say, though, that a story I had published at Mystery Tribune took an extremely long time for a response. It's a crazy business.

      Thank you as always, my friend. Best of luck to you with all these markets.

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  14. I am so thrilled to get an acceptance from AHMM that I don't mind the wait and kind of think that waiting time is just a natural part of the writer's life. So I keep busy with other projects. For instance I just finished helping a Japanese friend with the translation of his book into English. Then I received an acceptance from Linda Landrigan and it was a great feeling! I also like to support AHMM by contributing to their blog and podcast programs. I worry that the days of pulp fiction are numbered. I have submitted to other mystery pubs, and one of them hasn't replied one way or the other at all. Also AHMM pays well and right away after you sign the contract which is nice.

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    1. Floyd, you're right: I think the secret to surviving long wait times is to forget the story you've submitted and start working on others. And I of course agree with you on all the advantages AHMM does offer. Congratulations, by the way, on the many successes you've had there recently. Keep on doing what you're doing!

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  15. Congrats to all who have had success with AHMM, not an easy market to be sure.

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    1. I'm not sure ANY of them are easy, Jacqueline. Thanks so much for stopping in here--always good to see your name, here AND on publications. Stay in touch!

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    2. Inspirational...I will, I will keep submitting. I'm a 'street puppy' compared to the 'registered' breeds...but if I don't keep wagging the tail, no one will give me a pat on the head. I have submitted 5 times and received 4 rejections. One in waiting...4 months...no problem, it fits well for AHMM. Worth the wait. But I had one rejection so fast, 21 days, it made me laugh. On reflection, I understood why it was rejected. More Edgar Allen Poe than Ellery Queen. Lesson learned. My goal this year, thanks to the pros who have contributed to Sleuth Sayers is to keep the flow going...4 minimum, 6 the bullseye. And I'm paying attention to the leaders of the pack. They know what sells. Thanks J, R, M...and all you other successful writers.
      Cheers, Wil

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    3. Hey Wil! Thanks so much for stopping in.

      Yes, please keep submitting. If you can bear the wait time, send stories to AHMM and all the mystery markets. As for the 21-day rejection, look at it this way: It didn't take 400+ days! It freed the story up fast so you could submit it someplace else. (I once got a rejection from a market after about three hours--the wonders of electronic submission!) As for SleuthSayers, if you're learning something here, I'm pleased to hear it! I learn something every time I post here, from the comments of folks who know a lot more about all this than I do.

      As frustrating as this writing business can sometimes be, there's nothing better!

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  16. Elizabeth Dearborn03 February, 2024 15:49

    Props to all of you who have gotten past Alfred's gatekeepers! I started writing fiction much later in life than most people here & haven't published much of it at all. My favorite thing to write is flash fiction & especially drabbles, which don't fit the guidelines at very many publications especially AHMM. Two or three years ago I sent them a 3,900-word story (extremely long for me) & they took 14 months to reject it. Since I am also an extremely slow writer, I do not feel that it would be a good use of my time, to tie up a story for well over a year by sending it to AHMM. Even in the unlikely event of an acceptance, I actually don't need the money that badly.

    A person would think that if Linda, or a slush reader, was reading a submitted story & got bored, or the thing just didn't make sense, or the writing was terrible, that s/he would just put it aside & not bother reading it to the end.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth! Like you, I started writing fairly late (though I like to think all those stories I'd read and movies I'd watched before that were preparation and research), but once I started, I couldn't seem to stop. And I agree with you on the flash stories--I don't write as many as I once did, but those can be SO much fun. (And AHMM does occasionally buy a flash story--though my shortest there was maybe 1000 words, which leans more toward a weak beam than a flash.)

      I do understand your choosing not to send many stories to AHMM, because if you don't write many or write them very slowly, that year is too long to tie up the stories you have. I'm one of those crazy people who seem to write almost all the time, so I have plenty of ammunition.

      As for Linda, I've never asked her and never heard anyone else ask her this, but I suspect she does indeed stop reading many stories before reaching the end. I've been an Edgar judge three times and have judged a lot of other fiction contests/competitions as well, and I can't imagine continuing to soldier through a story that you've determined has no chance of winning or being published. Whether it's after a two paragraphs or a page or five pages, throw it out and move on the others. So I honestly don't know what takes her so long to go through the submissions--unless it's the sheer volume OF submissions. However she does it, the long wait-time is a fact at AH, and if you want to try to publish there, you grin and bear it.

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  17. Thanks John...and yes, I will submit again and again. In fact, I sent off a story to AHMM right after reading this article. Fingers on fire! Cheers

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    1. Good for you! Please keep me posted on that one (if you can remember to, around this time next year).

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  18. When I started writing, my depressing method was to submit to EQMM, and after rejection submit to AHMM, and after rejection try other markets. At that time AHMM's response time was a little quicker. I have yet to crack either market, but I keep submitting, and one change I've noticed is that AHMM will look at more than one story. At one time I had two stories in their pipeline.

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    1. Hey Bob. Depressing but necessary, I guess, right? Yes, I remember AHMM's response time being quite a bit faster years ago. Hats off to you for continuing to try both markets.

      As for more than one story at a time, I think it's a good idea at AHMM to try to have several in the hopper at one time, just because it does take so long to get a response; if a story's accepted you don't want to have to wait a whole year to get *another* one accepted. I used to try to have no more than three stories in the queue at one time anywhere, but in later years--at AHMM at least--I've had as many as five in there at once.

      A good rule to follow, according to (I think) Rob Lopresti: Send a story to a magazine as often as a new issue comes out. In other words, if a market like AHMM publishes an issue once every two months, you should feel free to send them a story once every two months.

      Thanks for the input, and take care!

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    2. Yes, I am th eone (or at least one of the ones) whose policy is to send a story as often as the mag is published, if I have enough to do so. So I send a story to AHMM every two months. I figure more often is competing with my own work. Of course, some mags only allow one submission at a time. This week a bot told me I could not submit because I already had a story under consideration at such-and-such a mag. The story they referred to weas one they had already published. I pointed this out to the publisher and they apologized.

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    3. Sensible policy. I probably don't send stories in quite that often, but I think it's a smart move. Good luck to you on all those submissions!

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  19. I notice in writing forums a number or fledgling writers are convinced the long waits are intended to keep them out of the running.

    Author Robert Allen said when he first shopped for a publisher, he figured it would take 50 tries. When he received his first rejection, he said, "Thank you! I'm one step closer to finding my publisher." And the second rejection– "Thank you! I'm two steps closer to finding my publisher." As I recall, he found his publisher after 30-some rejections. That positive philosophy keeps you successful, John!

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    1. Leigh, sometimes it keeps all of us out of the running! Seriously, I've heard that idea also. As for Allen's thoughts, what a great attitude--I wish I had that much optimism! Any modest success I might've had probably owes a lot to blind luck.

      Thank you as always, for your insights and for your guidance to all us SleuthSayers!

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  20. I'm about to hit the one year waiting mark at AHMM on my first submission to them. I must say the waiting time is what kept me from sending anything thee past few years but I decided to give it a go and "forget" the story... we'll see. I've sent a lot to EQMM and been repeatedly rejected. Interestingly, many of these stories found a happy home at Mystery Tribune. Maybe one day, I'll make it, lol. More successful at Rock and a Hard Place these days.

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    1. Hey Martine! So glad you decided to take the leap and send something to AHMM, and yep, in a month or two you'll probably be able to see the result--hope it's an acceptance!

      Mystery Tribune's a good market, and Rock and a Hard Place also. Good luck with all of them!

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  21. Excellent essay, John. I love the quote "success isn't guaranteed if you try, but failure is guaranteed if you don't." I immediately shared that with an art friend of mine who said "Needed that today. I'm finishing up (or trying to) my portrait by tomorrow. I was debating entering it because it feels rushed, but I know I'll hate myself if I miss it. Thanks for sharing." So you not only helped me but helped a friend of mine, and I suspect a lot more people. I currently have a submission that is 316 days old. C'est la vie. If it doesn't get accepted, I'll submit it somewhere else, but with revisions, since I've been thinking (and writing) about how I could add more to the story.

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    1. Ed, I hope that AHMM submission turns out to be an acceptance, but sounds as if you have a good plan in place if it doesn't. (I still wish I could somehow predict which of my submissions will be winners and which ones won't--I'm almost always wrong.) Please let me know the verdict on yours.

      Keep thinking, writing, and sending those stories in!

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  22. I'm wandering into this topic, John, not to share the secret handshake--that would be telling and you and everyone who read of it would have to liquidated--but to add my two cents for what it's worth, which would be, I believe, two cents. Unless I'm writing for an anthology, I only submit crime fiction to EQMM. In the beginning of my writing career (such as it is) I tried AHMM several times but never scored once. So, I stuck with her sister magazine because my acceptance rate was far better than zero. Also, I learned the secret handshake. In the fullness of time, I've also learned of the very lengthy waiting period from friends who submit regularly to AHMM which has further discouraged me from doing so even though it's a great magazine. Which is a shame. So that's my story (see what I did there?) and I'm sticking to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey David! Dern, I thought you WERE writing to give me all the secrets.

      Whatever they are, you've obviously learned those secrets well. I applaud you for that continued success at EQMM--it took me forever just to learn how to get past the guards, there--and it's easy to see why EQMM's your first choice for submitting mystery stories. (But I also seem to recall your selling a horror story just recently to another market, so your talents aren't limited to mystery/crime . . .)

      As for your mention of anthologies, I've found that they have forced me to cut back a bit on how many submissions I send to magazines in general. Every day it seems there's another anthology invitation, or at least an open call for submissions to them, and I've found myself taking advantages of almost every one of them that comes my way. If it's a theme I happen to be interested in--and it usually is--I happily take time out of other projects and work on that one instead, and I bet a lot of other short-story writers are doing the same.

      Meanwhile, keep selling those fine stories to EQMM--and thanks for popping in, here.

      Delete

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