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What my story submission cost me

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Keith H.
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 10:32 am:   

Well, I made the plunge last month, starting what will no doubt be a nice collage of rejection slips from F&SF and elsewhere. Sure it took a little while to write the story and then four times as long to agonize over it, so it ate my precious time, without question. But on top of that, no one told me how damn expensive the submission process was going to end up:

- I felt obligated to buy the current (Dec) issue of F&SF at the great big Barnes and Noble ($4).
- Then I had to buy a subscription to F&SF ($32).
- Then I had to buy Geoff Ryman's recent novel, so impressed was I with his published novelet ($14).
- Then I had to spend more time writing another story (worthl--I mean, priceless). These collages don't just put themselves together, you know.

Total dollar cost of one submission is now running $50, and who knows what the next one will amount to. You people are insidious!

Keith

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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 06:45 pm:   

You know what the drug dealers say, right? "The first one's free."

By the way, I recommend Geoff Ryman's story collection, Unconquered Countries, (it's out of print---you'll have to find a used copy) and his novels 253 and The Child Garden.

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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 08:21 pm:   

Also, if you like Ryman's short fiction, I understand Tachyon Publications will be putting out a collection of Ryman's work next year. Keep an eye out for it, as it is sure to be good.

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Sean P.
Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 11:49 pm:   

Keith,

Right there with you, amigo. You left out the cost of postage, and the eventual crushing emotional toll of the inevitable first rejection slip from JJA. Thank God Critters is free (money-wise... it only eats time). I tossed the rejected story at Critters and started writing the next one for submission to F&SF.

Sean.
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Keith H.
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 07:05 am:   

Nah, I write a lot of proposals at my job, and I'm pretty inured. I figure the stories will at least get rejected on merit.

Not familiar with Critters, but I avoid internet fiction sites like the plague. It is too easy to find myself reading them at work.

I was disappointed at first to find that Ryman's Air was based on a short story I'd already read (and hadn't grabbed me much), but I enjoyed the novel immensely. He's got kind of a spare prose style that nonetheless carries a lot of emotional heft. A nice trick if you can pull it off.

K

(and oh yeah, god damn the pusher man...)

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Jeffrey J. Lyons
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 08:15 am:   

And postage goes to 39 cents next year! Gasp.

I may be wrong here but I don't think editors cross-reference their subscriber's list to determine whether or not to accept a story from someone who might not be a subscriber. I think they only care about whether the story is something they'd publish.
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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 09:49 am:   

As annoying as this is for writers, it must be doubly annoying for editors, who will now have a stack of manuscripts on their desks with insufficient return postage.

So what happens now? Do editors rely on the grace period from the Post Office to get the responses back?
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Sean P.
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 02:18 pm:   

Ah, nertz... I'm going to have to put extra postage on my next submission. I never considered the subscriber's list thing, Jeffrey; I can't imagine they'd do anything like that. I currently grab 'em off the rack at B&N, probably resulting in more profit for the mags themselves.
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Charlie Finlay
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 04:35 pm:   

Vy, I think editors splurge on ten bucks worth of two-cent stamps and add them to the SASES as needed. It's not a big deal. Or shouldn't be.
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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 04:53 pm:   

Well, that'd give editors a chance to put their own two cents in, over and over.
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Charlie Finlay
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 06:29 pm:   

*winces*
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A.R.Yngve
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 09:22 am:   

I understand that most editors won't accept electronic submissions -- the postage fee acts as a buffer against a flood of subpar manuscripts.

Still... this IS the year 2005, not 1955. Isn't there some way to make a viable system for electronic submissions? That won't be choked with spam.

I've stopped doing snail-mail submissions altogether. It's just too slow, unreliable and expensive.

-A.R.Yngve
http://yngve.bravehost.com
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Tribeless
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 02:02 pm:   

Agree with you A.R. Indeed, I'm only submitting 'literary' short stories now, not speculative, partly because there are so many high quality literary markets (including New Yorker ... no, I'll never get there :-) ) that accept email submissions. It is so ironic that the set of professional markets that haven't yet made it too the electronic age are the science fiction markets!!

For example, one of the newest literary magazines, 'A Public Space, with a high reputation already given it is set up by an editor from 'The Paris Review', plus verified by the line up it has for its first edition, not only accepts online subs, but look what they say about this:

"Welcome to A Public Space’s Online Submission Center. We encourage you to submit online for a number of reasons: it saves you time and money on postage, it saves us time with paperwork, and you’ll be able to check on the status of your submission at any time. We will always accept pieces submitted by regular mail, but we prefer online submissions."

I can submit to Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, Barcelona Review, Glimmertrain, etc, etc, all online. Editors, why are the sci-fi markets so stubbornly backward on this issue. I live in New Zealand, no way am I going to the inconvenience and cost of snail mail submissions again.
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Loquacious Lad
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 03:44 pm:   

I have some reservations about that. With email submission, all that is required of the recipient of the submission is to push a button to send a canned response. I can imagine, especially in the literary journal world where editors are not held to turning a profit, that when the editor falls behind on reading slush he/she might be tempted to batch respond and delete. I have this nagging suspicion that the NY has a program in place that holds submissions for 4 weeks then automatically sends a response, without a human being putting an eyeball on them.
In mail submissions, someone has to at least open the envelope and stuff the SASE with a response.
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Sean P.
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 10:09 pm:   

Am I an old fashioned geek in believing that perhaps they just like the feel of paper? It's reassuring to feel some weight to a thing you spent weeks (or years) working on. You can crumple or tear up a manuscript, or bleed all over it with a red marker before tossing it at a wall... there's got to be some cathartic release in handling a twelve ounce chunk of paper, absolutely more than merely lifting a finger and pressing the DEL key.

Then again, I'm in the States and it only costs me about six bucks round-trip for anything I submit. I can only imagine what you folks abroad have to go through to get things to Jersey or NY.
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not again...
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

This discussion is like herpes.
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Safe Sex
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 09:59 am:   

"This discussion is like herpes."

Avoidable through the diligent use of condoms, monogamy or masturbation?
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TCO
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 02:03 pm:   

If you consistently sell stories to top outlets (as Yertle does) then the cost of postage is no big deal. You maggot wannabes.
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DA
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   

Jeez, TCO, you're a dick on *every* message board.
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TCO
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:40 pm:   

:-(
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Informed Sex
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 09:43 am:   

If Safe Sex thinks condoms prevent herpes, he/she might have an unpleasant surprise coming up...
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Patrick M.
Posted on Monday, December 26, 2005 - 06:46 am:   

Jeez, TCO, you're a dick on *every* message board.

Nah, you should see the boards where he dresses like a woman.
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DA
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 11:25 am:   

If I hear him use the expression *wannabes* again, I'm going to scream. Hanging out with folks trying to accomplish things and constantly referring to them that way is too sadistic, and downright counterproductive.

Of course, from what I've read of him, TCO likes books no thicker than the month's offerings from Marvel or DC.
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TCO
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 04:16 pm:   

I was just being mean for no good reason above in this thread. I will try to restrict the sarcasm to when it's called for.
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DA
Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - 08:57 pm:   

Thanks, bud. I usually follow your message (you're not afraid to piss people off, and don't mind pointing out negatives- it's refreshing), but breaking into writing is a ball-busting, depressing bitch all by itself. Happy New Year.

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