Some time yesterday, someone supporting Jason Sanford’s Patreon account posted the following message on Twitter:
Meg Elison @megelison
Gossip that’s kind, useful, helpful, and absolutely worth $1. Sanford’s on it, before File 770 and always with receipts.
My new Genre Gossip column examines issues with the noblebright fantasy subgenre, how Amazing Stories isn’t sending rejection emails to authors, and other news. My column is available to Patreon backers at the $1 a month level. https://www.patreon.com/posts/19411586 (emphasis mine)
I first read of this on File 770 this morning, flying between LaGuardia and West Palm.
To be blunt, it pissed me off. Having to pay a dollar to read the original post by Jason, as little as that is, pissed me off even more. I responded very angrily and at least partially inappropriately in File 770’s comment section. Twice. I suggested that Jason’s tactics (publishing misleading, scandal-mongering style leads) was extortionist in nature.
That reaction was at least partially owing to prior personal experience with a publisher who did engage in such extortionist practices, albeit directed at advertisers as opposed to authors.
I have since apologized in File 770 comments to both Jason Sanford and File 770 readers. I now do so as well here: Jason Sanford is not engaging in extortionist practices and I was wrong to suggest that.
As for the accusation leveled against Amazing Stories in that Genre Gossip column:
It is entirely untrue that we are not notifying authors of rejections.
However, we understand why there may be some confusion on this matter.
The vast majority of our rejections take the form of an automated “status update” email to the submitter. A story goes from draft to being read, to being rejected or accepted. Submitters are notified both in an email and on their submissions account of any status changes that affect their submissions.
Our editor, Ira, has sent a few personal rejection notices, also via email, to a handful of individuals.
First – we’re discussing changing that. Workload is a big factor here (and we’ve been swamped with submissions, having to double the size of our reader base to stay afloat), but we’re listening to what people are saying and are taking it into consideration.
Second – we’re going to add a “contact button” right on the submissions page because, as anyone reading File 770 knows, being accused of not doing something we are doing, while at the same time making ourselves accessible for questions and commentary ALL of the time, is most definitely one of my “buttons”.
We have demonstrated over the past five years that all of us are accessible – email, Facebook, phone – and we have also demonstrated on many occasions that we respond, largely effectively we believe, to the considered criticisms we have received. If we screw-up, we take responsibility for it and do our best to make things right. We’re straight-forward: you’ll get a response from us.
If you have a problem with something we are doing or are not doing – the means of contacting us and letting us know are readily available. Please use them.
Some people had issues on initial sign up, and some people are (now) complaining of not receiving rejection notices. Both the initial sign up issue and no receipt of rejections are a result of the user’s email server. We’ve checked, double-checked and re-checked; all status notices, all sign-up verifications, are being properly generated by the system and are being sent out. Non-receipt has, in every case, turned out to be the result of an email server rejection. Permissions are too picky, the user has not white listed the email address, etc.
Unfortunately, other than informing you of this situation, there is nothing that we can do on our end to correct this.
Our system is WordPress based. That software platform hosts more than a third of all internet sites (and a large number of genre-related sites); our system is therefore no more and no less “complicated” than any other WordPress based site you may be familiar with.
Our submission engine is, in many respects, simpler and easier than the other alternatives. However, we did choose to go the route of accepting only anonymized submissions; this is one reason why we can’t just port your existing signup on Amazing over to the submission site (why you may have to “sign up twice” if you are already a member of the main website); you may have to create a separate ms (sorry about that), but there is just no other way to insure anonymity.
As our Webmaster stated on Facebook yesterday:
Amazing is no more complex to submit to than any other market using anonymized submissions. I’m a writer myself and I designed this system to be as easy to use as possible.
Non-anonymized is far easier in submissions since your identity isn’t masked to the readers.
Finally – this is based on WordPress. The system that powers over a third of the internet. It’s not hard to use and not hard to learn what little you need to know. In literally all cases of people not being able to login since two weeks after going live it has been due to user’s mail providers blocking us (we can’t fix that, nor do we know when it happens), users forgetting passwords, login ID, the email they used, or any one of a number of other issues that we can only offer you support for when that happens.
You can read the entire discussion here on Facebook.
Finally – no system is perfect. If you have an issue, please get in touch with us. Doing us the courtesy of asking us to help you with our website(s) in no way interferes with your ability to go out on the street and scream and yell, but at least you’ll have your facts straight.