How an Author Should Behave During the Torturous Purgatory Publishers Put You Through While Considering Your Stupid Story

I write stuff sometimes. The majority of it is not very good. I am not delusional. I understand that, like most writers, I am merely using creative fiction as a way to pass the brief flicker of time between life and death. But I do submit a lot of short stories. Sometimes they are accepted and sometimes they are not. As a publisher, I also receive a lot of submissions from other writers. Sometimes I am quick to respond and other times I am very slow. There are different reasons for this. Sometimes I’m lazy and sometimes I’m indecisive and sometimes I’m drowning.

I’ve been doing this long enough to understand that a publisher cannot accept every submission they receive, especially when the submissions cause their eyeballs to rupture. As badass and metal as that sounds, you do not want this to happen. You will not be accepted if an editor’s eyeballs rupture. In fact, you may be placed on some sort of list.


The wait between submitting a story and receiving a response can be cruel. I completely understand. That’s why I’ve written these little tips on how to successfully survive these rough times. Here is what I do. As always, please try these at home:

  1. As soon as you submit your story, immediately go to the SENT folder in your email and reread your cover letter. Did you address the editor by the correct name? No? Well then resend the submission and apologize for the mistake. Most editors will reject you for the tiniest error. Do you think it doesn't matter whether you sign off your cover letter with a "Sincerely," or a "Best,"? If so, you are not ready to be a professional writer.
  2. Return to the SENT folder and reread your submission. Take a gander at the million typos you missed before sending it in, you big dumb idiot. Now fix all the typos and send the story in for a third time. Don’t worry: editors love this and openly encourage this type of behavior. It shows you have passion.
  3. Now sit back and wait. Check the time. Has at least five minutes passed yet? Yes? Perhaps they’ve read and responded. You better check your email.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until they respond. If one week passes and you still have not received a response, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Go through every post and tweet they’ve written and “like” or “fav” it. Share things they posted three years ago. Comment on their friend's daughter's birthday photos. Friend their spouses and compliment their taste in sex.
  5. If you still have not received a response after accomplishing the first four steps, then obviously your submission was lost in the slush and you should just go ahead and submit it again.

All right, I think that about covers the basics. Good luck out there!

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