Seriously, very, very seriously tempted, to go with the alternative use of the word “submitting” here (you WILL buy a subscription or face….), but I’ll forgo the potential humor in favor of clear communication.
Since April 23rd, 2018 when our magazine opened for submissions, we’ve had a few hiccups, a small amount of confusion and the usual teething issues. Several hundred people have already successfully signed up and have their stories in the que (some have even received acceptances or rejections and there has even been one – that we know of – summary rejection for not adhering to the guidelines. We are serious about those guidelines.)
Following are some tips and suggestions for how to best get along with our submission site, as well as guidance for dealing with our most commonly seen problem.
First, some background:
There are a handful of submission management websites, a couple of which are currently being used by many of the publications likely to be submitted to by authors submitting to Amazing Stories.
We examined those websites and their system and quite deliberately chose to create our own, for two reasons: one, the other services charge a monthly/annual fee and we’re all about saving dollars when we can and two, greater control and greater flexibility. Specifically, we wanted to be able to implement an anonymized submission system that would help us avoid unconscious bias.
No new software ever survives contact with users intact and so it was with us. Despite testing, we still ran into a few issues which have since been addressed. One nice thing about having developed the program ourselves is, if you have a problem, you can reach out directly to the source.
Now, some tips.
If you would like to submit, you do have to REGISTER.
In order to Register, you need to go to THIS page.
You can find the link to the Submissions page on the main website’s top menu under the Magazine tab. You’ll get a drop down menu and will want to click on “Submissions”.
Even if you are already registered with the website, you still have to register with the submissions site. We require very minimal information for the website registration (user name, email address), while we need a bit more from authors and artists in order to be able to contact them regarding their submissions.
Some folks have apparently been stymied by the layout of the submissions page, unable to find where to click to begin the process (we’ve been told it “looks like a menu item”). Here is where you click to begin the process:
You will be asked to provide a username and an email address and will be informed that you will receive a verification email in order to complete the process.
Many people have stated that they never receive the verification email. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is beyond our control. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution (see below). Email servers are finicky and we are finding that verification and notification emails ARE being sent out by our system as they should be. The problem is with the recipient’s email server(s); our emails are being rejected as spam and/or being identified as spam. It’s very important that you check your trash and spam folders if you haven’t received verification. If you have friendly relations with your provider, you might also want to check with them to see if and why our emails might be rejected by them.
SOLUTION: If you do not receive a verification email within approximately 15 minutes, try to login (you’ll be rejected), and then use the “Forgot Password?” link. Doing so will act as verification and in almost every case, you will be able to start using the system. If this doesn’t work for you, email steve at amazingstories dot com.
We have also been queried about the status of submitted stories.
First: if you open up your account and see your story listed under “Stories”, then it has been received by our editors and readers. If you don’t see it listed (and please wait, oh, an hour or so before checking) get in touch at the above email address.
Second: the status of “Draft” that may appear next to your story is not the status of your story (at least we hope you submitted a final), but rather, the internal, over here at Amazing Stories HQ, status. It’s a final for you, but until we’ve read it, it is a “draft” to us. Don’t sweat this. (Sweat our response to the story if you want to.)
Finally, if you do not receive a confirmation email for your submitions (those pesky email servers again) but you DO see your story listed under STORIES (with or without “draft” status), WE HAVE received your story and it is in the que for reading.
Also finally: our response time so far has been a few days to two weeks. That is lengthening as more and more of you send us stories (we’ve added readers to deal with the volume, but there are only so many who share our editor’s tastes), so we are officially stating, as of 5/11/2018, that our expected response time is now two months. We certainly expect it to be shorter than that in the vast majority of cases. However, if you have NOT heard back from us after two months (60 days) from your original submission date, email the above with a query. Make it a friendly query. We’re far more responsive to honey than we are to vinegar.
Our system is not intended to be complex, frustrating, nor is it designed to deter you from submitting. On the other hand, it is new (to everyone) and has been set up to handle things the way we believe is most efficient and effective for everyone involved. As always, the people directly involved in creating and managing it remain accessible to you, so if you are having an issue, don’t get frustrated, just get in touch.
(PS: don’t forget to follow the guidelines.)
A few other notes: We’ve gotten a couple of messages stating that “my story fails to upload”. Check the format of the file your are submitting. Make sure it is one of the acceptable formats (this applies to artwork as well). If you are submitting with one of the acceptable formats and are still having this issue, get in touch.
We’re very friendly. We don’t want you to have problems and, believe it or not, we actually DO want to read your story. Even if you get summarily rejected for failing to follow the guidelines (did I mention we are very serious about that?), go ahead and fix the problem and then submit again. Since the system is anonymous, your prior faux pas will not be an issue.
Check your rejection system. Start by adding “day rejected” to it. That’s important info to a writer. Most important, notify us when we get rejected. You rejected my story on May 16th, or I at least assume you did. All I’ve got is a reader date.
I’m still yet to receive any notice that a rejection actually happened. These are things you might want to fix.
I’ll look into this. Discussion is on-going as to what kind of notices the system will track and deliver.