Once you actually get to the point in your young writing career that you can (a) allow someone to read your work and (b) part with it in order to submit to a contest or paying market, then one starts coming up with lists of demands.
The first would be that everyone buys everything you send them. After all, your prose is perfection -- can't the rest of the world see this?
The second would be to get Really Useful comments back in your rejections. I can handle rejection if an editor would do their job and offer that perfect editorial comment that will fix your perfect story so that the next editor you submit it to will just have to buy it. Alas, given the volume of submissions and the realities of working and slush readers, this doesn't happen in all markets all the time. All you can really do is keep writing and keep submitting. At least each story can be sent out more than once in its lifetime.
The third would be to get fast rejections. Why the sparkling perfection of my prose should hardly need any time for judgment -- the manuscript practically glows through the envelope or is surrounded by animated orbiting comets and shooting stars in their e-mail.
Some markets are really good at sending things back quickly. But when a newer market suddenly gets the slush process down fast, then you're faced with a new problem: Getting stories out to them fast enough.
Which Brings Me To Jim Baen's Universe
JBU has two submission systems for non-name writers. I'm not particularly interested in going through the Baen's Bar system, so it's the regular submission stream for me. My first story spent nearly a year on editor Eric Flint's desk, though admittedly there was about six months where a whole pile of slush sat there -- they did kindly ask whether I was willing to let it sit or wait until the next time they opened for submissions. I figured I had already made it past the slush reader and onto the editor's desk once, let's not tempt fate here. (grin) So that clearly skews my Average Response Time for this market.
But starting in July they began to get slush back to me within days. Now maybe the slush reader hates me or hates my writing. I prefer to think that based on what they expect their editors to want, that I'm not providing them with that story. Yet. And that's about all I can do for a market. (GRIN)
Average Response Time Submission•Story Market Days Ave. Result 90• Frailty of Hours [Baen's 02/06] 326 --.- R 130•A Man in the Moon [Baen's 02/07] 69 197.5 R 146•The Elevator's Feelings [Baen's 07/07] 6 133.7 R 148•In the Blink of an Eye [Baen's 07/07] 21 105.5 R-Comment 150•End Run [Baen's 08/07] 5 85.4 R 152•The Angel Report [Baen's 08/07] 4 71.8 R 153•Atrophy [Baen's 08/07] 2 61.9 R 154•Redemption and Aftermath [Baen's 08/07] 2 54.4 R 155•The Coming of the Gwlan [Baen's 08/07] -- --.- --
More On The Way
One thing about writing and submitting for a while. I have "Invenstory". 48 stories have been sent out at least once, for a total of 156 submissions. Now, some stories have been published, some are waiting to be published, some are out to market elsewhere and some are not appropriate for all markets, either due to length or content. And then there are the stories I'm working on. So while I don't have 39 more stories to send to JBU after the 9 I've already submitted, I do have more stories for JBU to consider. I'm not just dumping my crap on them, or at least I don't think I am. (double-barreled-grin)
More to the point, JBU is full up with Invenstory of bought stories of their own, and will be closing to submissions at the end of September. So for some months, I'll not be able to send them anything. If you don't have something in submission to them at the moment, then there isn't a chance that they'll buy one of your stories. You've got to "have a dog in that hunt" in order to win.
But if every market got back to me within 48 hours, it would be exhausting. I've managed to maintain a continuous run of have at least one story out at all times since I started submitting in June 2002. I'd hate living with the pressure of having to write to get something in a nearly instant return pipeline all the time. This week I got down to 4 stories out and am back up to 6 -- at least for another 24 hours.
Oh the stress of it all. Maybe I'll finish writing another new story... before the Fall Semester starts up and I have to work again. (grin)