Look: I know every third man, woman, and manwoman in America is walking around with an unpublished technothriller, cozy mystery, category romance, or space opera stashed on their hard drive. An agent might get fifty novel queries a day; a strong short story market is probably reading through 200-300 stories a month. I know this is an incredible amount of work, and each agent and editor deals with it in whatever way they can best manage.

That said.

Fantasy and Science Fiction, one of the SFF short fiction markets, has a reading time of one or two days–when I mail them something from Washington state, I can bank on getting my SASE back in a week. I remember reading John Joseph Adams, their soon-to-be-former slushreader and assistant editor, saying they did this so they would always be the first market people sent their new stories to, meaning they would have the best possible stories to draw from. This is probably a mixed blessing–it means they have to read all kinds of slush from bozos like me–but writers notice these things, and you can be damn sure their strategy works.

When I was querying my last novel, one agent from a big firm sent me back a short but nice and personalized rejection within a day. You can bet that, when I’m ready to query my next one, he’ll be the first guy I go to.

Around noon, I emailed a magazine submission, then went off to watch Brothers to review for the paper. When I got back at three, I already had a no in my inbox. Was I happy about that? Fuck no, rejection always sucks. But I do sometimes write publishable fiction. You can be sure when I’m looking at markets in the future, they’ll be high on my list. And in the meantime, I can get this story off to a different editor who might be looking for exactly what I’ve now got on their electronic desk.

I know everyone in publishing is putting in crazy hours, frequently for too little pay. But these guys have found a way to be really, really fast. We notice. After that, they get our best work first. It’s worth keeping in mind.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Me

I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
My Book Genres