Monday, August 31, 2009

Q & A 173

I foolishly submitted a short story to a magazine I’d never read. Their description of what they wanted sounded like a match, but when I later found a copy of the magazine I realized that I’d misinterpreted the guidelines. I didn’t like their stories and I doubt that they’d like mine. They take over 6 months to respond to submissions. I’ve just found another magazine where my story might fit better. Can I write to the first magazine and withdraw my story without getting put on a magazine editors’ blacklist?


This same thing happened to me when I was starting out. I sent a short piece to a magazine called Highlights. Then I saw a copy in my dentist's office and realized it was mainly for kids (although I did enjoy a feature called Goofus and Gallant). Anyway, I withdrew the piece and later sold it to Penthouse Forum.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no magazine editors' blacklist, nor will this affect your standing at NewYorkLitAgentsBlacklist.com. No harm will come from withdrawing the story from consideration, unless they decide to publish it just to embarrass you. Better give them a pen name.

6 comments:

BuffySquirrel said...

You might of course want to let the editor(s) of the magazine decide whether the story fits. But if not, withdrawal is commonplace. Just do it sooner rather than later!

chelsea said...

No way. The Hidden Pictures feature is way cooler than Goofus and Gallant. What were you thinking?

Marissa Doyle said...

I would so like to see a "Find the Hidden Pictures" designed by you, EE.

Dave F. said...

EE and Highlights. That's a little like Soupy Sales and the notorious Banana Cream episode...

Anonymous said...

I thought Highlights was a magazine found at the Fantasic Sams?

Sheesh - now I'm going to have to write to them to take back my story: How Purple mohawks changed the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm a magazine editor (though it's not one that publishes fiction). We don't keep blacklists. Your recognizing that the story isn't a good fit would be seen as a plus for your savvy, not a black mark. Withdrawal is absolutely fine, and courteous. (Whatever you do, don't submit elsewhere without telling them.) (Don't tell them where else you are submitting, just that you're withdrawing the story.)