Friday, November 21, 2008

Black Friday

We have read your submission carefully and regret that we do not have a place for it in [the magazine] at this time.

Thank you for the chance to consider your manuscript. After careful consideration we have decided not to publish it.

3 comments:

Heather said...

Sigh. I have a stack of those, too.

Paul Epstein said...

Cliff,

Admittedly, I'm not too familiar with your work but it seems that your submissions have been accepted quite often? At the risk of sounding like an accountant (which I'm not), roughly what percentage of the time are your submissions successful?

Paul Epstein

Clifford Garstang said...

Paul,
Some people keep track of such things, but I've avoided doing so. One reason for that is that markets are fickle and vary greatly. Do you play (or know) basketball? If I were standing at the free thrown line and aiming the ball at a stationary hoop then I'd want to know what percentage I'm shooting. I used to be pretty good at that, about an 80% shot.

But I send my short stories to The Paris Review and Ploughshares, which are roughly the equivalent of aiming at a basketball hoop that's 100 feet in the air, and too small besides. The story might be accepted, but chances are very good--99.9% probably--that it won't. On the other hand, when I've exhausted the impossible markets, I then send to markets that are more within reach, and so my percentage of acceptances goes way up.

Enough of the basketball metaphor. If I had to hazard a guess I'd say between 1-5%, depending on how high I'm aiming.