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Email from Serendipity

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Serendipity magazine emailed to acknowledge the receipt of my submission. This, I think, indicates a market that is at least well-organized and polite. It's good to see. This is a fairly common practice but is by no means universal. It's also very easy to do, at least with emailed submissions - it's probably just an automated response. But it makes a big difference.

All too often you send off a submission to a magazine and aren't sure that they ever received it in the first place when you don't hear anything back after several months. Quite often, it seemes, the submission "never reached them" and you have to start again. I'm sure running a magazine is a hard, thankless task, but treating writers with such disdain like this is surely unacceptable.

Perhaps my favourite such experience was with a magazine called "Roadworks : Tales from the Hard Road". In April 1999 I submitted a short story called Small Differences of Detail to them and in June of that year they emailed back to say they had accepted it and would tell me when it was going to appear. All well and good. But the story didn't appear and didn't appear. Occasionally I sent off a polite enquiry but heard little or nothing back. The story would be appearing "soon" etc. Then, in October 2003, over four years later, the magazine folded just as, they said, my story was really, finally about to appear. They had held on to it for four years and then did this. Of course, it's sad when a magazine folds and I'm sure there were lots of good reason. Still, this is not acceptable behaviour and is certainly no way to treat authors. If they were still active I certainly would not submit to them again.


  1. Hi, Simon.

    Funny you should post this, I did a similar post a while back on my own blog that you might be interested in reading:

    You also just reminded me of one of the worst treatments I got, which funnily enough was by Midnight Street, itself the re-branded Roadworks. They accepted a story after about six months, and then three issues came out (over a period of about eighteen months), with no sign or mention of my story. I queried and got a pretty snotty response, so pulled the story.

    Subsequently the story was published in Darker Matter (where the submission process and response was a world away from that previous experience), which is how I came to get in touch with Ben Coppin. Eventually resulting, after Darker Matter closed, in Serendipity. And the publication of your story, later this month.

  2. Hi Neil,

    Amazing - it must be, well, serendipity I suppose!

    I love your blog and I've subscribed to it so I can read all your posts at some point when I should be writing.

    I really must get that photo' you wanted to go with my story. The only thing holding me back is the need to get my hair cut first!


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