I got my first short story accepted for publication, which is super fantastic, but always comes with the horrible chore of withdrawing the manuscript from everywhere else you sent it that hasn’t rejected it yet. The first time I found out a poem of mine was getting published, I was completely overwhelmed by how much work it was to complete this chore, and how rude some of the publications were. Last time around, I got some interesting responses, including the following:

  • “Umm… we don’t have your stuff.” Hmmm… that probably means I put it in an envelope and was too cheap to mail it off. My bad.
  • “How dare you! We don’t accept simultaneous submissions!”  Oops… I must not have read the fine print. But you really should if you want work from real writers.
  • “Mail daemon: undeliverable.” Update your mail server if you want submissions.

This time around, I was much more prepared. I made sure I read the fine print over again for everyone I sent to, to make sure I hadn’t been violating their rules in the first place. I also prepared an email template, so I wouldn’t have to think about what to write every time. So I was both mentally and resourcefully prepared. These are my findings from this round of submission withdrawal:

  1. It was far, far easier than last time. I had sent my poems to about 3 times as many people as I had this manuscript, which significantly lessened the chore.
  2. I had sent this manuscript to a total of 18 publications. Of those 18, 1 accepted it, 6 rejected it, and 11 still had it under consideration.
  3. The range of dates for submission were from March to September.
  4. Of the 11 who still had it under consideration, the longest period was 7 months.
  5. One of the publications who I had still recorded as pending had rejected me without notification.
  6. I was able to withdraw 4 submissions myself using an online manager.
  7. I had to email 6 of the publications I had submitted to.
  8. There was only one snail mail submission that I had forgotten to mail, and I knew it without having an embarrassing response email.

Lesson learned: keep good track of your submissions, and be prepared when you get lucky and one of them picks it up.