Monday, 1 March 2010

Not Letting Go ...

On 16th June 2005, I submitted an article to a magazine. Two days later, the editor wrote back accepting it and expressing that he hoped to be able to use it in the issue after next (it was a quarterly publication I had approached.)

The issue after next came and went, but I thought nothing of it. Things can change at the last minute in the magazine industry. But two years later, in June 2007, I sent a gentle enquiry letter to the editor, asking if he had any plans to use it in the near future. I received an email a few days later, acknowledging my letter, apologising for the delay, but expressing a hope to use it in the next issue, if not, the one after that.

Fast forward two years to June 2009. The article still hadn't been published, so I sent another 'gentle' reminder asking if it would appear in a near future issue. Imagine my surprise then, when a deputy editor replied, saying that having checked their records, they could find no trace of my submission. If I would like to resubmit it, they would certainly consider my work. A duplicate copy was in the post by return.

A few days later, I had an email accepting my article (for the second time!)

You can therefore imagine my uneasiness when in January 2010, I received the latest issue of the magazine, containing a message from the editor - the new editor. The magazine had been sold and bought by a new company, with a completely new editorial team.

So, on 17th January 2010, I sent an email to the new editor enquiring whether the previous owners had passed on all of the paperwork, such as my previously accepted article. On 19th January, the new editor replied, advising me that having gone through the transferred paperwork, my article was not there! However, if I'd like to resubmit it, the new editor would be happy to consider it.

Frustrating as this was, I appreciated that none of this was the new editor's fault, so by return of email, I promptly enclosed yet another copy of my article. The following day, the editor replied, accepting it, and he hopes to use it in the autumn issue. I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that I shall believe that, when I see it!

But this just goes to show how important it is to keep detailed records of where you send your work. Do you know what date you submitted which manuscript and to whom you sent it? When an editor accepts my work, I don't let go. And because I keep accurate records, when I query something, I query with confidence. Somebody in the relationship should be professional, after all!

Hopefully, this autumn will see the publication of an article that was originally accepted five years ago (for the first time!) but, if it isn't, I'll be on the case again. Whatever you do - when you have an acceptance - don't let it go!

Good luck!


  1. It pays to persevere no matter what the circumstances. Well done and keep at it Simon.

    Thank you as ever for your wonderful advice and support.


  2. I 'really' want to know what this article is about now!


  3. Wow! I'm curious to know what it is you wrote about! Very well done to you though!

  4. Hope it will be third time lucky for you, Simon.

    I had a similar experience with a local magazine and over almost as long. I, too submitted an article three times but in my case it was always to the same editor. I am pleased to say it was eventually published - and it only took four months of gentle reminders for the payment to be made too.

  5. Fingers crossed for you, Simon. I always write in my diary when ever I submit something and the response. 5 years is a long time to wait!

  6. Goodness me, Simon that's a heck of a long time. Your post certainly shows it's worth keeping on at them, I would have probably given up after a year!
    Well done for your determination and hope you get it out there soon.

  7. Don't get excited guys - it's not an intriguing subject matter, just a few nice walks to do here in the Welsh Borders!

    But yes, I hope it will be third time lucky too!

    Abi - great idea writing notes down in your diary. I use a database on the computer which amounts to the same thing. You have to keep on top of all of your submissions!


  8. It's not the first time one of your articles have take some considerable time to be published but like the others I've no doubt they will - but I'll still keep my fingers crossed, anything can happen between now and the autumn.

    Hopefully though, you'll get paid for it.

  9. Hi Simon, I just found your blog today and I take heart from your terrible experience. I had a novel accepted by an eBook publisher in the USA 3 years ago and requested changes to their contract. After a couple of months of silence and me chasing, I was informed that my editor had died suddenly - before the new contract was approved and signed of course. I had to resubmit it and the new editor hated it. Interestingly, the next publisher went bankrupt before it got to print. Maybe there's an article in there if you can suggest a likely home for it!