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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Anybody Have This Happen Lately?

   
Author Topic: Anybody Have This Happen Lately?
Robert Nowall
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I just got a printed manuscript back, rejected, from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction---F & SF, for short, for those of you who don't know it. (I might've not named it, but since they did it, I have no objection to naming names.) The usual rejection, usual phrase, usual signature on the computer-generated form letter. I don't mind that, I'm oh-so-very used to that.

But what I do mind is this---the first page was missing! Name and address and word count at the top, title and byline in the middle, "the first thirteen" (more or less) at the bottom. Gone.

I can certainly reprint the first page when I send it out again (I've got one more market in mind)...but why did they do this? Compiling a mailing list? Carelessness? What?

(I do remember that the Writers of the Future had a policy of doing just that, back in the days, a decade past now, when I submitted stories a few times...but, then, you were supposed to print your MS so that the name / address / title were all one one page with nothing else.)

Anybody else have this happen, at F & SF or elsewhere?


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Bent Tree
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I would imagine it was an oversight. I can envision the first page being used by different editors or slush and then if it passes they return to a filing location for the remainder. I don't think I would let it bother me, but if you are disturbed, you could querry them and ask them for its return. However, besides being more expensive to buy a stamp than printing off a new front page, it might put you on a 'list' and your future attempts to submit might then become futile.
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goldhawk
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My, but you are paranoid, aren't you? If they were going to use it for some nefarious purposes, they would copy it to a computer and send everything back. That way you wouldn't be tipped off to what they're up to. And searching a database is much easier than searching a stack of front pages.
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extrinsic
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I've gotten manuscripts back that were dented, bent, multilated, stained, and with mysterious odors. What little information I could glean from their conditions led me to conclude they'd enjoyed rough handling.

Anyone notice the forum was slow loading over the last week? A new feature has been added to the post reply page. The nested frame below the post reply section that incorporates the thread? A good, handy, and useful feature, in my estimation.

[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited December 05, 2009).]


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Robert, did you send a cover letter with the manuscript? If not, it may be that someone used your first page the way some editors use a cover letter (to make notes, to put a coffee cup on, etc) or it may have had coffee spilled on it and tossed away in the clean up. At least they knew where to send the rest of the manuscript.

extrinsic, that "nested frame below the post reply section that incorporates the thread" has been a feature for years. And you are right, it is a "good, handy, and useful feature." It allowed me to quote you exactly, for one thing.


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extrinsic
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I recently noticed it because I was looking for changes that might explain why pages were slow loading earlier in the week. My suspicions range from high traffic to temporary bandwidth limitations to a kink in the Internet to changes to the site format. Oh, well, I thought I'd figured it out.
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djvdakota
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;-)

I've received two form rejections from them--both with the wrong name.

Dear Ms. Wright...

Um, I'm not Ms. Wright.

As a writer, it was annoying. As an editor, I understand letting things slip ocassionally. I've sent our rejections with the wrong name, with my space for story title empty (Thank you for submitting your story "," but we've decided...), double sent rejections, etc.

We're human, too. Give us a break.


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Robert Nowall
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Just so the general consensus is "carelessness" and not "something malicious." I've had my share of coffee-stained pages and battered MSS come back to me---I've had several fail to come back at all. No, no cover letter, just the MS. Also I know the guy whose signature is on the rejection slip is leaving shortly to head up some new Internet magazine, or somesuch.

As for addresses...back in the day, and maybe still for all I know, they used to save the envelopes the MSS came in to get the return addresses, to compile a mailing list they could sell to someone. After awhile you start getting subscription offers for other magazines, offers for workshops or agents, then...other things. I'm sure it's still a practice. (I can generally tell who gave out what address---a combination of what-it-is, how-my-address-is-formatted, and how-my-name-is-spelled.)

(Oh, and don't count on it being the editorial office where your MS is messed up. I work for the USPS and know what happens. A while ago, they installed and ran some flat-sorting equipment---that's the equipment that handles the stuff larger than a letter and flatter than a parcel, like your MS envelope or any magazine you care to name---anyway, they installed and ran this equipment, even though they knew full well that it shredded a good chunk of what it ran.)


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genevive42
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I have to admit that when I send a hard copy of a manuscript I tell them it's disposable right on the first page. I figure that after the handling it undergoes it's not likely to be in good enough condition to send out again so why bother trying to get it back? Sometimes I get the form rejection with the first page attached. That helps me know what is was that got rejected.

Also, so many publications are doing electronic submissions that I rarely have to send out hard copies. F&SF being the biggest market that doesn't take electronic subs. Any idea if they're going to get into e-subs anytime soon? It sure would be nice.


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Foste
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Gee, I only found two or three magazines handling electronic submissions!

And word on the street says that Jim Baens Universe is about to close .

Could you perhaps name a few publishers/magazines who work with online submissions? I'd be really grateful!


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babooher
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Hey Foste,

www.ralan.com
and
www.duotrope.com
and
www.samsdotpublishing.com/expressions.htm

all are great places for markets


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genevive42
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I think duotrope is the most extensive. And if you register it can help you track submissions and keep track of deadlines for anthologies and stuff.
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Foste
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This is splendid!

Thank you babooher and genevive42!


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extrinsic
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I recently received an overdue payment check without postage, rubber stamped, Returned for Postage. The sender forgot to put a stamp on it. So no cancellation mark, but the envelope has a routing barcode on it. It got here anyway, without being returned to sender, and only a few days past expected delivery. Messed up backward, as far as I'm concerned.
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Pyre Dynasty
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I just want to add that I've never had that happen to me from F & SF. I think it is just an error, but I wouldn't put it past them to start stripping addresses though. (Or perhaps the editor kept it for sentimental purposes.)

(Oh and Foste when a doublepost happens it better to edit away the stuff you just said in the last post and just leave the "my bad" line so we don't have that, "hey he just said this" moment.)


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Robert Nowall
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It's the switchover to high-speed sorting machines that did it. A letter without a stamp gets into the mail stream---used to be my job to spot it and put it in the holdout for postage due mail, but, since I got stuck with this automation job, I don't do it---and, apparently, nobody else does, either. It just goes through.

(I wouldn't make a habit of it if I were you, especially if it's something important...there are several chances of it being looked at, sent back to you---and delayed.)


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