When do you Give Up on a Submission?

I have a submission in limbo. Like an astronaut who’s transmission has gone to static on the dark side of the moon, or a sailboat that is days late to port, I wait, not knowing if my patience is in vain, or if suddenly the empty static will contain a voice or if I will see a faint specter of sails on the distant horizon. This is my dilemma.

1st, I need to know if I’m being naive?

2nd, should I just withdraw and move on?

Here’s the scenario:

I sent out a round of submissions back in November of last year. Most of the publications that I submitted to have a clear “three months and no word means it’s a no” policy. While some have a direct approach of emailing a form letter style rejection.

I guess I need to take a moment to explain that I don’t mind getting rejections. Yea, it sucks, but I’m developing a tolerance to it, growing my thick skin in other words.

All I ask is that a publication be clear on what signals a rejection from them and then adhere to that mantra when the time comes.

This brings me to my current pickle. One of the publications I submitted to last November has my story hung up in a limbo of sorts.

The have their own submissions system in which you create a fillable form for your short story. Attaching your submission at the end with a body text which acts as your query letter. You complete the process with a username and password.

As soon as you hit submit, your profile is created, your story uploaded and a little field next to your story title says ‘received’. Their website clearly states that this is the field to watch. It will be updated with either, rejected or accepted in the future.

Now we fast forward a bit. I waited patiently for 3 months, nothing changed, and I started to wonder.

At 3.5 months I worried a bit. Through some website digging I read that I could kindly email the submissions editor as to the status of my submission if it had surpassed 3 months.

I did so and heard nothing back, nor did the submission status field change on my profile.  😦

At four months I emailed once more and copied the original submission destination to my email just in case one was preferable over the other.


Now today I’m stuck in a sort of quandary,

Do I politely wait six months?

Do I email every couple of days till I get a response?

Do I withdraw and resubmit thinking they somehow overlooked it?

I don’t want to give up on it if there’s still a chance that they are just backlogged. I just thought my status queries would get through to someone who would simply say,

“Chill Dude, we’ll get to it.”

Does anyone have advice on this?


4 thoughts on “When do you Give Up on a Submission?

  1. Do you know of anyone else who has sent anything to this publication? Maybe wait another week, then you could withdraw and resubmit. If possible, make a note to them stating that this is a re-submission because you never received a response back (you could give details on the original submission date). Hopefully, that will get them to respond to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Does the publisher accept simultaneous submissions?
    I often prioritize those publishers whenever possible.

    It is tricky, but I’d be inclined to send them a polite document stating “At this time I am going to begin submitting this piece to other publishers. If you decide at a later date that you would like to publish this piece, please contact me”.

    Liked by 1 person

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