Saturday, July 29, 2006

Querying After Short Stories

The subject of querying about short stories came up recently and I thought I share the gist of my answer, since it seems relevant.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to query approximately 30 days past the publisher's guideline-stated period. I also think it's in the writer's best interest to keep said query as brief and polite as possible because whether they admit it or not, editors with an overwhelming workload will seize upon an excuse to reject a story and make the stack that much shorter. If it really is a case of a sub getting lost or overlooked, I believe editors will do their best to rectify the situation, but beyond that... I'm not saying don't go there; merely sugesting that if you do, tread lightly.

As far as IGMS is concerned, I am trying to strike a balance that reflects the fact that there are stories that have been out there for almost a year, and a smart editor knows that without stories he has no product to offer. So I’m trying my best to be helpful. I’m a writer, too, and I know what it’s like to be on that side of the equation. If you have a story that you’ve submitted to IGMS and you haven’t gotten an answer yet, pretend you submitted it in June (when OSC hired me), and base your decision to queries from that point forward.

The best advice I have for you is that after you submit a short story to a market - any market - forget it exists and go write a new one.

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