On Open Submission

There had been a discussion about editors and invite-only anthologies and about whether they were “real” editors.

First off, that’s a little silly; of course they are real editors. The question seemed to relate workload with professionalism, which is not a good way to think about it.

But the discussion evoked thoughts in me about ‘invite’ v ‘open call.’

I’ve done both—and do both for LampLight, and while there is an energy to the invite, I feel the strength and future of the genre lies in the open call.

Most of the people who have been published in LampLight, I didn’t know who they were before they submitted. I wouldn’t have been able to find their stories any other way.

The issue with invite only is that you are pulling from a known pool. “Only publish your friends…” was the criticism, and while that is not the case—it is the case. The bubble you live in as an editor only reaches so far. Your reach, your knowledge, is limited.

Now this is not saying “Nepotism!” or questioning the quality of these anthologies. But I would challenge those editors to make sure their reach, their invite, stretches further with each go.

The future is in the open invite. Literally. The future of the genre, of writing itself, is out there, unknown, sending stories, trying to get a break, wanting to be read, to be seen.

Submittable Status Changes (a primer)

There are a few different statuses offered by Submittable to the reader as they go through the review process.

The mostly obvious ones are “withdrawn”, “accepted” and “declined”. These three are pretty clear. “Accepted” appears in green, and “declined” in red to further the point, but with each the word is sufficient.

The trouble comes with the first ones you see: “received” and “in progress”. Specifically that “in progress” one causes much confusion.

“Received” for the most part is self explanatory. The confusion comes with the how, when and why it changes to “in progress”. For the most part, this change in the status offers little to no real information to the writer, and I would prefer it to be removed all together.

Here are the things that cause that change:

  1. Voting on the submission
  2. Leaving a note
  3. Changing the editor assignment (does not require opening the submission)
  4. Opening for editing (does not require opening the submission)
  5. Adding a tag (does not require opening the submission)

Things that do NOT change the status change:

  1. Opening the submission
  2. Reading the story
  3. Forming an opinion on the story

In other words, the editors and readers can interact with your submission and the status won’t change at all. Or, in the case of changing editorial assignments, cause it to change to “in progress” without even opening it.

That means your status can go from “received” to “accepted” without ever seeing “in progress”. It also means it can go to “in progress” without anyone ever looking at it. Either way, the status is offering not much to the writer other than confusion.

The more you know…. star swoosh