Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and the Clerically Ill (Ongoing) Part 5

All right, it's been some time since my last three, and for good reasons: A complete computer crash (motherboard shorted out) in my new laptop, a long spell of return-to-senders, my general life became more exciting, and I've been growing a rather large backlog of things that could easily fit in with 'The Bad'. But, as usual, I did create a new three, and here they are:

The Good: Andy Robson @ Krax
This is probably the most pleasant and personal rejection I've received in the last year, possibly ever. A completely handwritten rejection spanning a very large paragraph. Signed and whatnot. Basically, they thanked me and mentioned their backlog, that they weren't going to be able to use what I'd written, as it didn't fit their usual style well, and best of luck to me, whatever. This rejection was written interestingly and was not the usual carbon-copy one-off that I'm used to. This was a thoughtful rejection and a rarity, and most definitely deserves a place in 'The Good'.

The Bad: J.M. Freiermuth @ Timber Creek Review
This editor returned my full submission, which is common, with no rejection at all, scrappy or otherwise. I have recently begun using a 'Manuscript Disposable' red stamp on my cover letters to solve a problem I've been having with publications returning my entire submission plus their ads and flyers, which usually ends up not fitting within the constraints of a .39 cent SASE, so my post office has me come down, and I have to pay more money to pick up a rejection. I used to put, in bold, Manuscript Disposable' on my cover letters, but too many editors didn't notice it, so I have initiated the red stamp, which seems to be working wondrously. This editor, however, circled my 'Manuscript Disposable' stamp and wrote a note about it, though didn't bother to send anything else, much less a rejection. I can only assume this is a rejection. He circled the red stamp and wrote: "Lose this loud and preachy statement. If you don't ask for the poems to be returned, they are disposed of." That was it. This is an odd response. Preachy? How is a stamp of 'Manuscript Disposable' preachy? I'm not trying to sway him into some kind of diatribe or way of life, so that term doesn't really make any sense. I agree that the stamp is loud, which is its purpose, and I'd rather not use it at all, if it weren't for necessity. The funniest part is, while 'Manuscript Disposable' certainly seems to have gotten his attention, and while he did write that if I didn't want the poems back, they'd dispose of them (which is why I have that stamp, to tell them exactly that), this editor STILL sent back all the poems, despite everything my rebellious stamp and his irritated note seemed to have been about. Here's my take on it: WE DON'T LIKE YOU TELLING US YOU DON'T REQUIRE THESE COPIES OF POEMS BACK. ALSO, IF YOU DON'T WANT THEM BACK, JUST TELL US. NOW, IT SEEMS YOU'VE TOLD US YOU DON'T WANT THEM BACK, WHICH IS WHAT WE WANT, AND ALSO DON'T LIKE, AND HERE ARE YOUR POEMS BACK.
The Clerically Ill: Editors @ Carus Publishing
This is a long one in coming, and involves a rather large publishing house that prints material for children, Carus Publishing, responsible for putting out Cricket Magazine, Spider, Ladybug, Cicada, and others. I've been fond of these magazines since I was a wee spider, myself. I have now sent to this publishing house three times, to three separate magazines, Cricket, Ladybug, and Spider. I'm fairly certain my last, Spider, will also end in rescinsion, like the other two. Basically, I sent, waited an extended and undue amount of time, finally sent them an email asking the status of my work with them, and waited some more. When they did finally get back to me, it was only to explain I'd waited for nothing. Now, you may be wondering, Why would I send to this house if it has already burned me in the past? Well see, I expected that since each of these publications is edited by a different person, the incident with Cricket, my first submission (of which you're about to read) would be an isolated occurrence. Not so, my friend. Here are my results:
1. First submission, to Marianne Carus @ Cricket Magazine: After ten months, I ended up rescinding my poems from this publication. In response to the rescinsion notice I sent, I received a letter explaining that they have no idea where their submissions go. They get sent out to test readers, and the test readers, themselves, are supposed to contact the submitters, and not the editor (I wonder what the editor actually does, then, if test readers yay or neigh the work, and even inform the submitter about it-- maybe they go over the final group of accepted poems and remove one, or even two?). So, sorry, no records are kept of who your poems would have gone out to and it's possible they lost them, who knows, we don't. But, the editor did explain I could send again sometime, since they hadn't technically rejected the work. The response was brief, and then tapered into a form-letter that was the word-for-word cut and paste from their website submission guidelines, which I had followed. Cricket had a response time listed at six months, max. I sent to this magazine on July 1st of 2004, and rescinded in late April of 2005, about ten months later. Ten months is exorbitant, though I allow it if a publication at least states that's how long it's going to be. Even more ridiculous was that this publication did, eventually, get to my submission and send me a rejection based on it, 17 MONTHS AFTER I RESCINDED. That's right, a whopping 26 months after I sent these poems to them. The amount of time it took them to read the five short poems I sent was just over two years.
2. Second submission, to Paula Morrow @ Ladybug: I rescinded this, again, after nearly 10 months with no response, contrary to the maximum of 6 months their guidelines read. In response to my submission, as above, I was told they had no record of my poems. If history repeats, despite that I've now rescinded, I can expect to receive an actual rejection from this magazine somewhere around April of 2008.

3. Third submission, to Heather Delabre @ Spider: I sent this out in September of 2006, unaware that I was going to rescind from Ladybug shortly after, and am currently waiting to hear back. This will most likely be the last time I attempt submitting to this publishing house. Hopefully, this one will at least get back to me before 2009. Of note is that the email address for submissions to Spider is the exact same email address as the one listed for Ladybug.