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To Query, or Not to Query…

That is the question.

“Karma,” a piece of flash fiction that I wrote that has received some fairly positive rejections over the last year, is currently sitting at a pro market, and has for 88 days.  They say that they can take up to 3 months to get back to a person.  I have no problem with this.  However, looking at Duotropes, they have been all over on dates and by the information shown there, they should have read my story long before now.  Additionally, this market has an average of around 40 days on a rejection and around 45 days on an acceptance.

Once again, I’m at 88 days.

When I submitted the piece, I almost immediately got back a confirmation email.  Cool, their mail server got it.  But, did a person get it?

Pulling up the original email I sent, I see that everything is professional.  The manuscript is in good order.  Nothing that would have immediately sent my story to the recycle bin in an editor’s email program.

So, the urge is to query the editor.  However, in the past, everytime I have queried on a story that has been out for a long time, I seem to always get an immediate rejection.  While I realize that chances are good that the story isn’t a fit for their publication, I can’t help but wonder if they just got the query, dug up the story, and just processed the rejection.  Nothing makes that point strike home harder than when I subbed “Karma” to a pro market.  After 100 or so days I queried, only to get an almost immediate form rejection.  THEN a month later get a personal rejection letter from the same publication (and the same editor!) stating that it was in contention but they ultimately decided to pass on it.

A few months after that, another publication sits on “Karma” for a long time, then rejects it immediately when I query.  Then, three months later, I get a second rejection from a different person from the same market, the person that had it in their slush pile all along!

So, does querying doom a short story to an immediate death?  I really think it does.  I started wording queries so that I tell the person that I’m not trying to hurry the process, just trying to make sure someone, anyone, has it in a towering pile of slush that they will read through at some point.

I will be patient on this one.  Maybe, just maybe, the length it’s being held is a good thing.  Perhaps at 120 days I will query.

Or perhaps not. 🙂


One response

  1. I’ve only queried twice and neither of those have been immediate rejections–to be fair, neither were rejections at all, but after querying one twice, I finally removed it from consideration (after 6 months and definitely after their specified reaction time) when I couldn’t get a confirmation it was being considered–only to be told it had still been under consideration when I pulled it. Then the second one is actually still under consideration AFTER 3 YEARS. I’ve checked twice with them–an anthology, and they claim they are still considering it, so I think that piece will just stay with those editors forever. So no, querying does not equal rejection, but needing to query isn’t necessarily a good sign in any case.

    June 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm

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