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!