Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nothing Personal II

A few months ago, I described getting an anonymous acceptance letter from a journal. The journal in question sent me a pre printed card addressed to "Dear Writer." On this little half page, they wrote "We are happy to inform you that," and here they left a space in which the title of my story had been hand-written, "has been accepted to appear in a future issue of" (name of journal withheld). There wasn't a signature on this. There wasn't an address or email address on this paper. They offered no way to reach anyone. 

I found online an email address for the publication or so I thought. And I wrote them a nice note saying that the piece had been accepted elsewhere, so they couldn't have first rights. If they want to publish it anyway, that's okay. If they didn't want to publish something that had already appeared elsewhere, that's okay, too. I gave them contact information for me. Nothing. No response for three months. I hear that this is uncommon but not unheard of. Many literary journals are run by college students who are pretty busy, and who may not have a firm grasp of business communication.

Then yesterday a little package arrived in the mail. It was the latest issue of this journal. Interesting. And on page 41 is my story, or at least the first two paragraphs of it, followed by a big blank space. Presumably the rest of the story would have fit in that space if only someone had read the galleys. Like me, for example, or the editor. Or anyone who had read the original. Or anyone at all, really.

The funniest part of this was the letter that accompanied the journal. This letter was again addressed to "Dear Writers" and it was a sort of chatty missive thanking us (I'm going to include myself here) for being "such a pleasure to work with" and further for "being so patient with the arduous publishing process." Uh...you're welcome. I guess.

Unlike the acceptance letter, this letter was signed by an actual person. Still no contact information for her or the journal. I found another email address inside the journal and sent a note to let the editor know that in my case the publishing process could have been a tad more arduous. Then I noticed that it's after May 1 and their offices are closed for the summer. Oh well. 

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