Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm done! I'm doing the dance of doneness!

Today I finished reading just over 300 stories in the space of about three weeks. Of those I accepted 54 for advancement to the second round of selection. That's about 18% of the stories, which is somewhat below my usual average.

With that large a backlog it became necessary to reject quite a lot of stories that were marginal and that I might otherwise have passed through. But I still took the time to communicate personally with several authors--generally first-time authors. It's a personal touch that I find valuable about FFO's philosophy.

As usual there were a number of stories that were, quite frankly, not ready for publication. But what dismayed me the most was the extraordinary number of authors who had obviously failed to read our submission guidelines.

I mean, do people really do that? It's been drilled into me from my very earliest forays into publishing that you read and follow the editorial guidelines to the letter!

To be truthful, there are a few markets out there that I purposely avoid submitting to because they make you jump through some crazy hoops for very little (or no) return other than the publication credit. FFO isn't one of those. Our demands are pretty few and pretty lax--for now. We have format and word count requirements, and content restrictions that are pretty typical in the general marketplace.

After what seemed like a flood of such stories, I ended up getting rather terse in my responses to them. Something along the lines of 'Your submission has been deleted unread due to length issues. Please read our guidelines before submitting,' to 'We do not accept erotica, porn, sexually explicit stories, or excessive violence. Your story violates at least three of these and may be illegal to possess or distribute in some states.' (It was porn involving minors, no less. Yuck.)

But I'm glad the flood has passed, even though I had a blast swimming through it.


David Steffen said...

Wow, nice work! I wasn't in that stack this time, but I've got a story I'll slip into the stack once submisisons reopen.

And I am surprised that so many would violate the guidelines. It's right on the same page where you find the email address of where to submit. In any case why would an author want to waste their time submitting a story that clearly does not fit the guidelines at all?

David Steffen said...

Do you know when submissions reopen?

Vincent said...


Sorry it's taken so long to reply, but, no. I don't know when we'll re-open. I know Jake was hoping for the first of June, but we still have a rather large winnowing round to get running before we can do much else.

He is sending me 'fresh' slush again, which is a hopeful sign.

I'm guessing that it'll be the end of June at the VERY latest. Maybe sooner.