Daily records

Today I taught three classes, ate lunch at my desk while supervising a student making up a test, graded a batch of quizzes–and in between these things, mailed off a submission to one magazine and the whole manuscript to a publisher, sent another magazine submission by e-mail, and composed a cover letter to an editor of another literary magazine.  It’s been such a long time since I did this kind of thing.  The pieces I’ve published since my first book came out have mostly been solicited by editors, so I haven’t had the experience of sending things out cold for a long time.  And back when I did this more regularly, I didn’t usually do it in between other work–I pored over the selections and the cover letters for a long time, and I obsessively recorded response times and updated my records weekly–noting that it had been 6 weeks since I sent to one journal, 7 since I sent to the other. 

Submitting by email is new, too.  I know I’ve sent work by email to editors who solicited it, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never sent unsolicited work by email before today–nor did I do any online submissions for my first book, which was accepted in 2004.  On the one hand, it’s nice to save the postage and the trip to the post office.  On the other, it does feel a bit insubstantial.  I was half expecting an auto-reply to the email submission, but nothing came.

Another thing that’s new is that of these magazine submissions, one is to a magazine that published my work 12 years ago (and is still edited by the same people–I talked with one of them at AWP), and the other is to a magazine edited by someone I know a bit.  In neither case do I think the history improves my chances more than a smidgen, but it does make for a different experience of submission than back when I had only a few publications and no expectation of anybody’s interest unless the work managed to grab them right away.

I’d like to get two more magazine submissions out this week, and a couple more manuscript submissions this month.  Then it will be waiting–and perhaps, once again, the obsessive updating of records.


4 responses to this post.

  1. How did it feel to be at SA and doing writing/submission work; did it seem like a natural fit or kind of weird and unexpected?

    I ask because, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to do some writing at school during free periods or lunch hours or other blocks of time, and I’m finding it strange to go back and forth between my teaching self and my writing/academic self. I also find it strange because of course the writing is not my “job” at all but rather something I’m sneaking in when I’m supposed to be “working.” I think I’ll get better at going back and forth, but I’m finding it strange right now.


  2. WN?–I’m interested that this is your question! I started carrying my ms. around with me when I was edging up to finishing it, and it was strange at first to be taking out the ms. in my SA surroundings, but I got used to it. Now I find that spending some time working on the publishing part is a useful way to be productive when I need a break from SA stuff. It doesn’t bother me, but I do still kind of ruefully acknowledge that it’s a thing apart from SA.


  3. […] as I mentioned, the submissions game has changed somewhat since the last time I was submitting regularly.  I […]


  4. […] So that’s three rejections, no acceptances so far for this round.  Here’s something else that’s changed since the last time I sent work out regularly: though I still update my […]


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