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Infante's Inferno - The "Dead To Me" List

Jan. 22nd, 2012

07:02 pm - The "Dead To Me" List

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I've been having a bit of fun lately in conversation exclaiming that "Such and Such Journal is DEAD TO ME!" And indeed, it's true. I've declared a number of journals "Dead to Me," and will no longer submit to them. But while it's fun to say, I feel I should explain: I'm no longer submitting to said journals because, after multiple rejections, it's simply become clear that my writing will not find a home there. It doesn't mean that the journals are bad or that their editors are horrible, evil people. Quite the contrary -- I still read those same journals, and count many of the editors involved as friends and friendly acquaintances.

It's just that my work and their needs will not intersect, and at a certain point, I realized that I was wasting a lot of energy trying to get something into those periodicals, rather than seeking out new venues.

And you know what? It's worked out pretty well, so far. I've found a few journals I was previously unfamiliar with, even gotten a couple acceptances already. So this is the new rule: No more wasting time. After a few rejections, it's time to move on, rather than beat metaphorical dead horses. It's nobody's fault. That's just the way it is, sometimes.

Now, this is not to say I'll never submit to those places again. Like I said, it's not personal, and there's no real grudge there. A change in editorial staff might prompt me to give it a try, and a solicitation, of course, would be a different matter. And funnily enough, upon deciding to go this route, I gave a few of the "Dead to Me" list candidates one last try, and actually got an acceptance from it, so maybe it's not a perfect tactic. But for the most part, it's best not to waste your time or there's when it's becoming clear that it ain't gonna happen. There are way too many good journals out there right now for that.

Comments:

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From:thunderpigeon
Date:January 23rd, 2012 04:33 am (UTC)
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As far as the "Dead to Me" list goes, I've had one instance where I made sure to send a story to Journal X before editor Y left and editor Z took over, because I knew from long experience that editor Z would never care for anything I sent--but then the changing of the guard took place before the stated deadline, and I got a favorable rejection from editor Z. So far that favorable rejection has led to...another favorable rejection. But still it was a major revelation re my place on the food chain.

I also heard, in a speech by the writer Charles Baxter (who probably ranks among my 10 favorites) that his first major publication was the story he wrote as a farewell letter when he was just about ready to give up on writing.

But yeah, at the same time, I agree that there are places that it makes sense not to waste one's time or postage, after a certain number of rejections.
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From:thunderpigeon
Date:January 30th, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
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I just got an e-mail back from a submissions editor saying the poems I sent over a year ago (which an Assistant Editor told me she was personally forwarding to the new editor when I queried about their status six months ago) "were lost during the change of Editors-in-Chief."

I may now need to start my own Dead-to-Me list.

(On the plus side, he did respond to my query in just 1 day).
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From:ocvictor
Date:January 30th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
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And perhaps the later exchange should stay your hand, a bit. Changing editors is a chaotic business -- see the recent "Paris Review" changeover, for an example -- and usually the new editor and their team arrives to find a either disarray or a situation they're ill-prepared to deal with. Up to you, of course, but if they seem to have gotten their act together since the change, perhaps it's time to try again.
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From:thunderpigeon
Date:January 30th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
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You raise a good point. Though I think I may hold off on sending anything there right away, for a little while. No sense trying to write a cover letter while feeling exasperated already.
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From:ocvictor
Date:January 30th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Fair enough. Plenty of fish in the sea.
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From:thunderpigeon
Date:January 31st, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
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The annoying part is, the old editor wrote a blog post, just before leaving, that might have been about the piece I submitted, and now I may never know.

This, of course, may sound like ideas of reference--and maybe it is. I can be full of myself at times. But the post was about the source material I used--which may not mean much on its own, because it's a pretty well-known story--and said, in greater detail, exactly the same thing that was said by the editor who solicited the same poem a couple of weeks ago at a reading.
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From:spillogical
Date:January 23rd, 2012 08:09 am (UTC)
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I also recently came to this conclusion....and had a very similar experience (getting accepted by journals I was unfamiliar with)
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