Six Hundred Sixty Six Bottles of Blood on the Wall: Confirmation E-Mails, SEND ‘EM!


I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t been writing for HT because I’ve been busy with a million other things. Great things are happening and I think I might (fingers crossed so tight they snap each other off) be on the cusp of selling my first stand-alone book.

It’s madness, it really is. As I was telling the HT boss in a Facebook conversation earlier, we need to work the weekends and take the week days off, and then maybe, just maybe we could put a dent in the commitments we have and the work we want to do.

Shit don’t work like that though, and I’m writing this fast because my laptop battery is going to die and I don’t have internet at my house. I always write at the bar anyways right?

At the boss’s prodding and after a Facebook post I made that I wish would’ve received a little more attention, I’m going to write about something that pisses me off. Are y’all surprised?

I didn’t think so.

I want to talk about confirmation emails for a minute. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, a confirmation email is an acknowledgement that you get from an editor or a publisher that lets you know that they do in fact HAVE your story. A lot of places send them out, but sadly a lot of places don’t. And the places that don’t are really frustrating.

For example, I’ve got about 5 stories subbed right now that I have no idea if I’m ever going to hear back from. There are some good looking markets right now, but without knowing my current status, it makes it real tough to make a decision. As a writer I shouldn’t have to contact a publisher to ask “hey did you get my story.” That is an absolute waste of time for both of us. Yeah, I know that back in the snail mail submission days this might not have been the case, but those days are dead and gone and we’ve both got better things to do…. You know like, um I don’t know, READ AND WRITE.

Submittable is great because it tracks everything, but a lot of publishers don’t use Submittable. If you have no idea what I’m talking about google it and set up an account. Though I think I’m currently cursed on Submittable. Haven’t sold a story that way yet. One day!

A lot of publishers use simple email like everybody else. And that’s cool. You can reject me; I have no problem with that. Just let me know that you got my story so I’m not waiting and wondering when there are tons of other places out there to send stuff.

Anyone ever had a rejection via TOC?

Anyone know what I’m talking about?

TOC means table of contents for those of you not in the know. Remember that term, you’ll see it and start using it a lot once you start publishing regularly. And you will start publishing regularly if you keep writing, editing and submitting.

Rejection via TOC means that the publication that you submitted to didn’t send out confirmations or rejections. You find out you didn’t make the cut when either they announce the TOC on their Facebook page or actually release the book. This is an absolute dickhead move. I know I’m being harsh, but don’t see a way to defend this other than outright laziness. And yes I mean laziness, it can’t take long to type “got it” and hit send. Hell, there’s probably a way to automate it anyways. If there’s something I’m missing, let me know, I’m curious and will happily recant my statement/post your defense in my next blog. Contact me at [email protected]

Us writers are taught to be patient and we are. At first the waiting seems ridiculous but then we start to understand the volume of submissions publishers receive and it becomes a lot easier. But don’t reject people this way. Don’t be a coward and don’t blame it on time. If you don’t have the time to reject writers you probably shouldn’t be running a press or a magazine or whatever.

Unless you put up a blog that says “I’m too lazy and a giant pussy and I won’t reject writers via email, even though I’ve been sitting on their story for months now. I’d rather just torture them and make them wait before I break their heart without even telling them. Maybe they won’t even notice since I didn’t send them a confirmation or a rejection email.”


We notice.

It’s happened to me more than once as I’m sure it’s happened to many other submitting writers. I could name names, but I’m not going to. All I’m asking is that publishers send out confirmations and rejections.

“Hey Chotch, thanks for the story, I doubt we take it, but we’ll let you know within the next 3 months.” BOOM. DONE. Publishers can even use this. You can have it. Please. Take it!

And for the love of god, if you’re going to put on your submission call that you don’t accept simultaneous submissions, you better make goddamn sure you send out confirmation emails.

Why in the holy name would I send you a story that I might not even know that you got and then wait for a few months so that you might, if you’re feeling magnanimous, tell me you rejected. And all the while actively NOT send it to a bunch of other markets that look promising?

Don’t get it twisted, I have no problem with publishers that don’t accept simultaneous submissions, I get that, and that’s fine, but if you’re gonna play by those rules YOU OWE the writer a confirmation email. I suppose the only exception to this is if you have a lightning fast turnaround time, say less than a week. Then I guess you’re forgiven.

I know most publishers and editors either are or once were writers, which is why this boggles my mind and pisses me off so much.

It’s not that hard.

Send out confirmation emails.

Send out rejections.

If you want to create a quality publication, build a solid reputation within the community. You’ll get more submissions, better submissions and people will want to read your publication and support you.

I’ve bought publications I’ve been rejected from, happily and often. I’m a big boy. I’ve even reviewed them. Go check out Jamais Vu on amazon.

BUT. I will never, EVER, buy a publication that I was TOC rejected from without a confirmation email.

So uncool.

And this probably sounds whiny and maybe it is, but it’s injustice and it’s bullshit.

It’s important because so many markets are springing up every day and I’m looking out for fellow writers. A lot of markets open up and then die before they even put out their first anthology, and you may never hear a word about it, instead you’ll just be patiently waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Be ready for this stuff.

Hopefully it’ll eventually fade away, but I’m not counting on it. Anyone out there reading this, I’d like to think I speak for all writers when I say our job is tough enough the way it is. Help us out a little bit!

On a side note:

I just remembered how much I enjoy writing stuff (ranting) like this that can hopefully help you other writers out there in the trenches. I’ll try and pop up here a little more often.

In the meantime…

Keep reading, keep writing and keep it real,

You may also like...