Sunday, February 14, 2010

Author Withdrawal

I always thought that was an interesting expression. It conjures up images of authors cowering in corners, trying to resist the lure of the blank page and the siren call of Open Office. Do they drink ink, in desperation? Of course, that's not what it means. But I've just been thinking about this latest rejection I got. After 180 days, the publication said they would have to pass, sorry for holding it so long, they were sure I'd find a home for it and think of them next time I have something to sub. Hey, I can live with that.(It beats my all time favourite rejection (and this from a critique group- I thought we were supposed to be supporting each other!) which went "We felt that there were issues with your submitted story that would require more resources then we currently have at our disposal.")
But it has started me thinking. It took a respectable journal six months to read and reject (mind you, I wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn't queried?) a one thousand word story. I was just looking at their "Author Withdrawal" rate on Duotrope. It's usually around 20%. It would be the top 20% that's being withdrawn- the stories that have been snatched up by some other, more expedient publisher because they're good, right? (ok, there may be an occaisional author who suddenly sees a glaring boo-boo that can be improved, but I can't believe that accounts for much)
I've seen some other publications that have even worse response times and even higher withdrawal rates (check Duotrope's list of unresponsive sloths) This isn't a complaint- the journal I had subbed to allowed sim subs and replied promptly and courteously to my query, but I couldn't help thinking, aren't these people shooting themselves in the foot?

On a completely different note, I was reading this post over at Making Light (which would have been much more interesting if I'd seen the film I think,) but had to post this link. I especially love the woman's question, "Would it be considered adultry if I gave the remote control to someone other than my husband?"
Now, my mind's tipping straight into the gutter (really, I advise you all to leave. Now) and I'm imagining a lover's spat with these implanted (move over boring Dune-type heart plugs!) in some sci-fi adventure:

Babs: Daniel, put your damn socks in the clothing refresher!
Daniel: Babs, you're such a nag. How can you bitch about my dirty socks laying around when you leave everything else laying around?
Babs: I do not!
Daniel: (grinning evily) Do to.
Babs: What? What? (checking end-tables and so-on) I don't see anything laying around here that's mine! (crosses arms, looks smug)
Daniel: (even smugger, jams hands into pockets.) Babs, pick my socks up for me.
Babs: Not on your- (a very intensely confused look crosses her face suddenly) Daniel! Daniel stop it!
Daniel: Socks, Babs.
Babs: (with obvious effort) Yeah? You wanna play like that? When was the last time you saw your remote? (runs offstage)
Daniel: Babs? Where are you going?
(a whooshing noise is heard off-stage)
Daniel: (running after Babs) Not the Sani-port!
Babs: (offstage) One more step and it's next!
(Daniel freezes)
Babs: (cautiously creeping into sight) Should I set it on 'Off,' or 'maximum?' Do you have a preference before I jetison?
(Danel grumbles)
Babs: What's that? You'd like to pick up your own socks? Excellent. And yes, I'd love a cup of tea.

What? I can't believe y'all are still reading this tripe! Don't you have any books to write? I'm ashamed of you!
Could someone give me a hand out of this gutter before you go?


pacatrue said...

The first part anyway :) reminds me of how much money is lost with getting companies to hook you up, such as cable or whatever. If it takes them 4 weeks to show up at your house, that's a month of payment they aren't getting.

Word verification: egatt

sylvia said...

Oh my god, that critique group quote - that's unbelievable!

Your scene cracked me up. But is it just me that thinks an instant-orgasm would actually be more like a sneeze than an enjoyable experience?

Mother (Re)produces. said...

No, it's not just you. That's why she threatened to put it out max and eject the remote out the air lock. Who wants to sneeze non-stop until the thing runs out of batteries?