Any writer who submits short stories to magazines, e-zines or anthologies knows response times do not always match what the publication states on their website. I’ve heard tales of waiting months and years after submission to hear a “no thanks, not for us” on a short story.
The writer of this Unsent Letter knows the same pain. Her story was accepted by another publication well after the 3 months the original publication gave for a response time. Read her tale here: Dear Editor, by A Writer.
As frustrating as it can be, what do you do about publications who do not respond in a reasonable amount of time (whatever that means)? Do you forget them and move on? Do you drop them increasingly pointed emails if they fail to respond at first? Do you withdraw your submission and pout?
I submitted a short story to an anthology with the promise of a response in three week from submission date. Three week is pretty short when it comes to responses, but hey, they said it, so I thought they’d stick by it. Three weeks came and went, but I figured they were probably just a little backlogged and would get back to me soon.
After five weeks I sent an email reminding them I submitted “Story Title” on Such-n-such date and was eager to get a response. I didn’t hear back from them until three weeks past publication date, which was close to a year after I had submitted. They apologized, but my work wasn’t quite right for them. Form rejection. No problem. The rejection chocolate had already been eaten and I had moved on.
How many emails should you send to get a response? One? Three? Three seems pushy to me, but one is perhaps not affective. If you talk to ten writers you may get ten different answers.