Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Slow Hands

In a previous post, titled "Dead Words," I explained the frustration I'd been feeling with a literary mag that had accepted one of my stories and then let more than a year and a half pass without actually publishing it. By now it's been nearly two years, and my last email got the same sort of "almost there" response I've been getting to all my queries up to this point. My original intention was to withdraw the story unless they gave me a solid publication date, but instead of doing that, I asked a past teacher for advice. The teacher, Laura Walker, urged me not to withdraw the story, and spoke of delays as such a normal part of literary publishing that it isn't uncommon for one of her books to come out two years after she wrote it.

I've been thinking about that, and its given me more insight into a few of my other stories that also seem caught in limbo. Currently I've got two stories, in addition to the story mentioned above, that have been accepted for publication, but have no solid publication date. Both stories are lingering in the inbetween stage (between acceptance and publication) for months longer than the editors had led me to expect. I've also got three short shorts being considered for the Fineline Competition held by Mid American Review. Results for that competition were supposed to be announced in September. At the end of that month, they posted a message saying "Results are tallied and the winning writers will soon be contacted." Two weeks later and still no news.

Getting a story accepted for publication is hard enough, but now I'm starting to realize that acceptance isn't the end of the struggle. I'm also starting to believe that literary journals move a lot slower than they'll admit to. I guess I'll just have to adjust my expectations to reflect that knowledge.

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