Submittable, like many tools in any writer’s survival kit, is a necessity. Without Submittable how else are we writers supposed to check on the status of our submissions? Okay, so its not a required tool but several literary magazines and competitions require their writers to submit through this wonderful, FREE, system. Right now, Submittable and I are frenemies because I cannot openly berate to the unresponsive places I’ve chosen to submit to.
Just know, submitting through Submittable is an emotional journey. One that will begin with excitement but ultimately halt in the land of waiting and wonder.The emotional guide to Submittable, created by the Masters Review, describes the experience I am currently going through and will probably continue to go through every time a website says “all submissions must be sent through Submittable.” This is not a bad thing. Actually, it is one of the most positive and stress reliving notices I can receive under the submission guidelines. Sending an email with my story attached automatically makes me believe it is going to the Spam pile never to be seen or heard from again. Submitting through the websites contact form is nice but it does not let you track the status of your submission. Just attach your story, write a quick message or cover letter and hit send.
Then, nothing. Just a one sentence thank you and maybe an automated response saying that your story was received.
But Submittable keeps track of when you sent your story, where you sent it, if they’ve done something with it (opened it, passed it on to an editor, whatever in your mind IT is) and whether it has been rejected or not. So why stress over Submittable if it offers all of these features to make the submission process easier?
Because of the emotional toll it takes of course! When I attach my story through Submittable, writing my brief cover letter, I feel like I’m achieving something. In that moment I feel like I have the chance of getting published!
Then I hit send and all those feelings go away. I sit there, fingers crossed, that I made all the necessary corrections to make my story publishable or, maybe the editor sees the potential of my piece and is willing to accept it as long as I make the suggested corrections. After I get over my moment of self-doubt, I make sure to log on at least twice a week to check if my status has changed from the spiteful Received to the hopeful In-Progress.
In-Progress provides the moment of celebration and even more waiting. Celebrate the fact that your story has been touched, transferred or looked at by someone! That your story was not immediately rejected so at least the formatting is correct. Then, settle back into your chair and wait for the final answer. Will your story be accepted? My favorite question: in what ways will the editor choose to reject your story? A serial email that does not even vaguely mention your story your a personalized email either stating why your story is not a fit for their journal or recommending other places you should consider sending the story to. There is something so peaceful about a personal rejection that validates your reason for trying, the editor complimenting your work but saying it is not a good fit. Also, it means the editor found the time to write to you instead of utilizing the easy copy & paste.
Like many of my fellows, I love the easy, organized and simple qualities Submittable has to offer. Just the waiting and the tags of Received, In-Progress, Accepted and Declined makes me mill about like a lost puppy. I wish there was a small “hint” button in the right hand corner, a predictor on whether or not your piece is going to be accepted or rejected by the place of your choosing.
But that would take the unsettling feeling of waiting away from any writer, I know my hunger for an answer would disappear if I were to hit that hint button and find out that my story is probably going to be declined. So, for now anyway, I’ll sit at my desk and wait. Fingers crossed that maybe one of my submissions through Submittable will be accepted.
Or, you know, that I’ll hear SOMETHING soon.
This post is in response to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.