#amwriting: how to handle acceptance

Original_New_Yorker_coverA few weeks back I discussed the struggle we authors have with making our work visible to the world and the sometimes toxic professional relationships that can arise in the process. (Manners and Toxic Professional Relationships).

In that post I discussed the do’s and don’ts of navigating the shark infested waters of raising the visibility of professional Facebook pages and Twitter, and what not to do in those venues.

Manners are once again on my mind, this time the manners of acceptance: how an author should react when their work is accepted by a magazine or anthology, or a traditional publisher in general. If you have been wise, you’ll be able to promptly reply with a simple thank you, mentioning how pleased you are to be featured in their publication.

Now, despite the terrible temptation to do so,  the smart author has not submitted the piece simultaneously to competing publications. I keep a spreadsheet listing the date a piece was submitted, the website of who it was submitted to, and the status of that submission so that I never have simultaneous submissions. If it has been more than six months since you submitted a piece, and you can’t find any record of a response from them (check the junk mail of your email service), go to the publication’s website and look at their submissions page. They will usually have a paragraph detailing their normal response time and whether or not they respond to authors whose work they reject. Contests and anthologies with large numbers of entries may not issue rejection notices.

If by chance you did send it to two publications and it was accepted at both, you must promptly reply. Lynne Barrett, editor of The Florida Book Review, offers us this advice:

“If you have simultaneously submitted and already been accepted elsewhere and not notified the journal, you have not only wasted their time, but you may have caused someone else’s work to be bumped while they chose you. No, you cannot now write and say, “Oops, how about if I send you this other thing instead.” You have to apologize, say you screwed up, and if I were you I’d wait a little while before I sent there again, because they are likely to be sore. So this situation is to be avoided. Keep records, inform editors promptly.”

When you read the email/letter of acceptance you go through several stages of emotional reaction:

  • shocked disbelief
  • OMG
  • Woo Hoo!

Once you have calmed down, you re-read the email and promptly write a professional reply. Be sure to attach any information the editor/publisher may have requested:

  1. Your signed contract/or form granting them permission to publish. Use your legal name if you write under a pen name. Lynne Barret suggests you make copies and keep them on file. If they are paper, I scan them into my desktop computer and save them in my cloud storage. (I use Dropbox, but Google Drive or One Drive are both free and excellent.)
  2. Your contact information if requested:
  3. Mailing address
  4. Phone number
  5. Legal name (if you are using a pen name)
  6. Your press kit (only if requested):

If you don’t have a press kit, go to Brian Klems’ excellent post on how to put one together: How to Create a Professional Press Kit in 8 Easy Steps.

Epic Fails signSometimes authors freak out and immediately try to send revisions. Don’t do it. Your work was accepted as it was, so have faith that it was what the editor for that publication wanted.

If the editor wants changes, they will make clear what they want you to do. This may happen in an anthology. Remember, this editor knows what the readers of that publication want, and you want those readers to like your work. Put on your big-girl pants and make whatever changes they request. Never be less than gracious to the editor when you communicate with them.

Always be prompt in answering communications with the editors and publishers. Put whatever else you’re doing aside to answer emails from them. You want the editors to know you are easy to work with and willing to go the extra mile for them.

You have one final task in this process: You must make sure your followers know this piece is being published and where they can go to purchase that magazine/anthology. Tweet about it, add it to your bio page, tell the world to buy that publication.

And from me, I say congratulations! There is no better feeling than knowing someone you respect liked your work enough to publish it.

Attributions and Credits:

The Review Review: What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines by Lynne Barrett. http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/what-editors-want-must-read-writers-submitti (accessed February 19, 2017)

The New Yorker, first issue’s cover with dandy Eustace Tilley, created by Rea Irvin © The New Yorker via Wikipedia. Wikipedia contributors, “The New Yorker,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_New_Yorker&oldid=766271356 (accessed February 19, 2017).


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3 responses to “#amwriting: how to handle acceptance

  1. David P. Cantrell

    Acceptance is good. Good article.

    Liked by 1 person