hx-wa1i-Nqjenpy5OrS01HCV6t0 Waiting on Rejection: What "In-Progress" means in Submittable - Angela D'Ambrosio Author, Reader, and Brand Ambassador

Waiting on Rejection: What “In-Progress” means in Submittable

Is it half full?

Is it half full?

I’m waiting on rejection.  I’m not looking forward to it but I don’t mind prolonging it either. Why?  Well, I like having the possibilities.

Last year I wrote a short piece of fiction that I was very proud of. So proud, that I decided to send it in to a few “big time” literary magazines.  I did this knowing that I am not a literary writer but this piece was my attempt at the genre and I thought it had a shot at getting published.

A year later and that little story that could is in the “In-Progress” status of submittable.com submission manager. I like it there.  It’s a hopeful place.  A place where there’s a chance that my writing could be published and given that literary stamp of approval.

I love having that hope but at the same time my curiosity is killing me so I decided to ask someone in this business (He is a literary writer, professor, and he is an editor at a literary magazine.) what it means to be “In-Progress” and if a year is too long to wait for rejection.

This is what he said:

“The ‘in-progress’ notation within submittable means that someone has opened the file to read – could be editor, could be slush reader, could be the person who’s simply assigning stories to various readers. Once the file’s been opened, it remains in progress until it’s either accepted or rejected, which, for some journals can be 18 months or longer (which is ridiculous in my opinion).”

“What I’d recommend is checking their FAQ and see what, if anything, they say about response times.”

“On the editor’s side, a query can sometimes rub the wrong way. But, taking a year to respond is frustrating for writers. MOST journals understand that 12-16 weeks is acceptable, though, the BIG leagues can drag because they see thousands of submissions a month and their backlogs are rife with horrible writing. SO – see if they share anything about how long you can expect to wait, and if it’s been markedly longer than that, you might send a note. If it’s not been too much longer than they say, I’d hold off. If it’s been a LOT longer than they say, one of two things is happening:

1) your story is under serious consideration or

2) it’s been rejected but no one has sent the note (this happens too often – it sucks, and it’s inhuman. I hate it.).”

“But, all that to say – no, a year is not too long for some of the major market journals. Frustrating, right? The lead time gets longer the longer your work is. I have a friend who just released her first novel. It took 3 years from the SALE of the novel to its release. That does not include her time writing or grabbing an agent’s attention or the agent shopping the manuscript. Unreal, considering how fast we can make things happen these days.”

I love that line from DUMB AND DUMBER, “So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance!” That is how I feel about this purgatory of “In-Progress.”  It’s not a “thanks but no thanks” it is anything my hopeful little heart wants it to be. It doesn’t mean I won’t be submitting to other publications but for now, it’s just nice to think I am being considered.

I would love to hear from you all.  Have you ever waited over a year on a submission?  What is the quickest response you have ever received? Any other words of advice or stories?

About admin

Angela grew up in a small mountain town of Idaho and graduated top of her class of seven. She was born in Boise, Idaho in 1977, the second of four children and only girl. She currently lives in Sun Valley, Idaho where she raises three small kids and blogs about reading, writing and the human condition.

3 Responses to “Waiting on Rejection: What “In-Progress” means in Submittable”

  1. M. Merridrew February 7, 2016 at 1:36 am # Reply

    I have been waiting 9 months and seven days. I could have had a baby in that time! I am afraid to contact the publishers, in case I irritate them. If I did, they could send it all back with a rejection note. This is so inhumane. The misery is horrible. But why do I hesitate? At the end of the day, my hopes are not quashed. I have, despite my inner voice, which tells me something is amiss, I have HOPE!!! So, as the days and weeks progress, I flounder, with my writer’s hopes and dreams: Perhaps they will accept? But deep down I know, if they liked the first three chapters they would call for the remaining chapters and read them. I am desolate. I believe in my romantic novel, I truly do and despite the wall of silence, I will wait, with a heavy heart.

    • admin May 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm # Reply

      The writer’s life isn’t easy, but know that we are all in it together. Hang in there! Start writing something else. Keep moving forward!


  1. My Creative Process: Blog Hoppin' | Angela D'Ambrosio Writing, thoughts and other stuffAngela D'Ambrosio Writing, thoughts and other stuff - July 7, 2014

    […] I also write short fiction in between editing my novel.  I have ten pieces, currently in submittable hell. […]

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