Um…What Just Happened?

Things have been…odd. Some of you may remember that I recently finished a short story for an anthology and submitted it about a month ago. I hadn’t heard anything, which seemed strange to me because every communication I have had with them gets a response within a week at most, and that includes submissions. However, there was a lot of talk on the author’s group about people being excited for this anthology call, so I figured they might have a lot to go through. When you send a submission, you get an automatic response saying that you should get an answer in 3-6 weeks.

I figured I would wait. And wait. And wait some more. I thought about sending an inquiry when it hit a month, but I decided to wait a little more because I didn’t want to seem pushy.

On Monday, I received an e-mail back saying that they were sorry, but the anthology submission was closed. What?! Of COURSE it was; I sent my submission over a month before. Not only that, but on the one other anthology submission I sent in and was rejected for, it was because I was a day late (stupid…like I didn’t own a calendar? Moving on…) I was then invited to flesh the story out and submit it as a standalone story/novelette/whatever. This time, I wasn’t.

Was it terrible? Were they afraid of oversaturating the market? I can accept both (even if my ego won’t agree). But why was the message that the anthology was closed, rather than that polite “we aren’t interested” e-mail that all agents and publishers have? I was going to leave it alone, but I decided to ask a few questions. I shamelessly asked I could resubmit it at another time and fleshed out, as I have been offered in the past (most have a policy of not doing this, but my publisher generally doesn’t). This was a calculated risk. The woman I was e-mailing is not only the acquisitions manager, but the new owner of the publisher itself. However, she is always kind, approachable, humble, and shows a good sense of humor, and she has been so in all my previous dealings with her. (This isn’t sucking up; I doubt she or anyone who would report back to her is reading this.) I also mentioned that my e-mail had been hacked in the past and I was wondering if they were getting my e-mails correctly or if I needed to change e-mails or whatever.

The next day I heard nothing. I was worried that I had overstepped and was hoping I hadn’t offended with my ballsy/stupid breach of protocol. The next morning I awoke to three e-mails: an updated W-9 form, a contract, and an e-mail to me and my editor offering me the opportunity to be in the anthology and to go a little over the 10k word limit if I needed to. She said she was getting my e-mails perfectly fine (now?). The e-mail also paid me a compliment and contained a not-so-subtle nudge for me to check out the themed calls for works of a longer sort, which she is “sure [my] writing would be wonderful for”. See what I mean? This woman is incredibly kind. And I can never get enough flattery. *blushing* Later that night I received another e-mail from her also extending the opportunity to separate from the anthology entirely and flesh out some of my original ideas. I sent her how I would expand it and told her I was 100% fine with either course, and, with her being the acquisitions manager, I would leave the ultimate decision to her. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m sure I will. Still…

Wait…what? I went from being denied to having two offers with this story, plus a gentle shove toward the other calls. What the hell happened in the first place? Was my e-mail delayed and she just got i…you know what? I don’t care what happened. Do. Not. Care. I’m just grateful, flattered, and ready to work.

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~ by Darren Endymion on March 19, 2015.

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