Basically I have an etiquette question...Last September, I submitted a story to a pro-market. Someone sent it on my behalf, but I forgot to tell them to attach a SSAE. One day later, I did so (as per their submission FAQs, it must happen quite a lot), so they had a SSAE to send me an acceptance/rejection.
Anyway, the critters black hole counter and the magazine's own forum tells me that they've never heard of the process taking longer than 90 days. I've sent a brief query email two weeks ago and didn't receive a response.
At this stage, it's pretty obvious that a rejection has been sent out and lost in the mail somewhere. I'd like to re-submit this story elsewhere. Is it acceptable to send an email stating that the story has been withdrawn (acknowledging that, in all probability, that I haven't received the rejection letter for reasons beyond their control) or should I simply send it out again?
My suggestion is to follow the best practices forms of submission etiquette. Paper submission, paper notice of withdrawal. Consider marking the front of the envelope with Withdrawal Notice in prominent lettering and enclosing a telephone number or e-mail address in the body of the notice. Perhaps wait several days until the withdrawal notice has likely been delivered to the publisher, then resubmit elsewhere with a clean conscience.
[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited March 02, 2009).]
I had this experience a while ago. I had submitted a story to one of the big three and heard nothing after several months.
I e-mailed the editor, who kindly replied within a few days, saying that they had no record of the story and, if they had liked it, would certainly have kept a record of acceptance. (Thjey do not keep records of stories received or of rejections.) I was invited to submit it again.
I had a postal service indication that the story had been delivered, so I'm assuming the rejection got lost in the post and feel free to submit the story elsewhere.
In your situation, I wouldn't submit my story again until after notifying the magazine of my withdrawal. Extrinsic's method seems the safest method (rather, the least likely to offend) unless the editor offered their email as a form of communication.
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I'd wait a minimum of six months before querying them about it...query with stamped-self-addressed envelope...but if you get no answer to that after a couple of weeks, submit it elsewhere.
Over the years, I've lost, oh, five manuscripts out of about one hundred eighty, not including poetry. Back in the olden days, if I lost one, that was the end of that unless I wanted to retype it...and that's not an issue these days, 'cause I can just run off another copy. (I still have carbon copies---you guys have heard of carbon paper, haven't you?)
(Of course I've also had markets sit on manuscripts for years...in this, the semi-pros and amateurs have been worse than the pros, though. No news is good news...on the other hand, it's best these things were lost, 'cause they were lousy.)
I probably wouldn't wait as long as six months unless a normal response is really that long. I always wait at least as long as their submissions guidelines say for expecting a reply, and generally wait until it's outlasted all those listed for the market on Duotrope.
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There's the story of the guy, back in the early 1930s, who submitted a story to Wonder Stories, but got so fed up with the lack of response that he submitted it to Amazing, who accepted and published it...after which Wonder did the same, a year later. (Whether any of these markets paid for the story, I don't know...evidently the guy got fed up with SF altogether and never published another story.)
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Thanks for your advice. The only problem with Extrinsic's proposal is that I'm overseas. I'd like to respond in kind, but I think I'll stick with a very brief email apologising for the inconvenience.
The longest listing in Duotrope for this market is 90 days, so it's well over. Even if it were close and was being agonized over, I think I would have received a re-write request a few months ago. There are markets I'd wait 6 months for, but not this one. Oh, and Robert , I just remember carbon paper ;-)