Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Submishmash -- Writers and Publishers Share Their Experiences.

Submishmash, released in September 2010 by CEO Michael FitzGerald , a novelist and software programmer in Missoula, Montana has attracted a growing number of authors as well as publishers.

When I asked my writing peers, "So how does a writer signup?" One replied,
"You go to the mag that accepts submishmash sub and go through the steps."
However, SM replied,
"I am a facebook "friend" of Submishmash, the submission manager for literary magazines, both fiction and nonfiction, and where I have discovered several matches to my work from their status updates. I read this morning (April, 2011) they are starting a newsletter for calls for submissions."
The following comments furthered my understanding of using Submishmash:

Paul Pekin said,
"Stories I sent out went directly to Submishmash; that would be the Baltimore Review, Best Fiction, Word Riot, Hayden's Ferry Review, Prime Number Magazine, and Tin House. When I check my "account" I see all my submissions, plus their fates (not good, folks). No feedback, although the software does allow it. So, what do these editors see beside my stories?"
Mark Budman, Editor/Publisher\Webmaster of Vestal Review, a flash fiction magazine, wrote,
"I've been using Submishmash for Vestal Review about a year as well as for my own submissions and I love it. I see a lot of things, but nothing of what you submitted to other magazines. If you see "new," it means that your story hasn't been assigned to a reader yet.
 "If you see "in-progress," it means that your story is being read. Many university presses use a different submission manager or even e-mail subs. Some want print submissions. The problem is that while submishmash is free for the small presses, they require university presses to pay for it. And some smaller university presses can't afford it."
PF said,
"I think anyone who has submitted work this past year has used Submishmash. And yes, they hold a record of your submissions, where they were sent and the subsequent decisions in your account area. I would say that I've rec'vd a number of private notes from editors on acceptances and rejections alike, something I always consider a good thing, regardless of how brief. Makes me know that a human being has actually read the material and if I was close to hitting the mark. As far as what they can see? I'd be surprised if they can view the account areas since using the manager requires a private pass code."
Guilie Castillo Oriard responded,
"I've used Submishmash. I've also not gotten any feedback on rejected pieces, but then again, I'm a newbie and I don't submit much. I do like the ease with which submissions are made through this manager."
Barry Basden added,
"I started using submishmash a year or so ago for CPR. Can't believe how much time it saves keeping track and organized. And I can only see what is sent to CPR, not what is sent elsewhere. To avoid hassles, I generally don't provide feedback, but if I think a piece might be suitable somewhere else, I suggest one or two other venues to try.
 "If something is close to what I want, I ask writers to try CPR again. Only once has acceptance hinged on a change I suggested. And it was minor. If it's no, I've found it's best to move on unless a specific change or rewrite is asked for. CPR's lead time is several months now that we publish only once a week. But I send emails for all rejections and an email upon acceptance and another when I have a firm date when the piece will appear.
 "Also, I usually rave a lot and give grateful thanks for accepted pieces. Actually, I'm grateful for every submission. It's an honor and, after all, where would any zine be without content?"
Wayne Scheer said,
"Submishmash makes submitting easier and I'm sure it makes the life of an editor much easier. But, I have some problems with it. I've had one story accepted and published without my knowing it because I hadn't checked Submishmash.
"I had another story in a paying magazine accepted, and they were waiting for me to acknowledge the acceptance. Fortunately, I discovered the acceptance and wrote the editor who said they were two days from putting another story in my slot. Now I don't want to make editors unhappy, but that seems like laziness on their part. I understand them not wanting to respond every rejection, (and I understand I need to be more diligent in checking Submishmash on a regular basis), but correspondence between writers and editors, especially regarding acceptances, is one of the things I enjoy most about the writing/publishing game.
 "I would guess, also, that establishing a relationship with a writer they like, would be beneficial to the editors as well. I hope Submishmash doesn't add another degree of separation between writers and editors. The less human interaction we have, the less fun this process is. And let's face it: in lieu of the big bucks, fun is all we have. another problem with Submishmash. The only way I know to get into the system to check on the status of my stories or sign up is through an ezine that uses it. As I recall, if you Google it, you can't get to a sign in box or a way to check your work. Another thing I don't like about Submishmash is it lets me see at a glance how many of my stories have been rejected. Not a pretty sight... "
I also learned that Wayne's problem was with the editor and not Submishmash. The editor was supposed to let him know about the acceptance. Writers shouldn't have to check their SMM accounts to find out about acceptances or rejections. It's easy for editors to set up default and alternative letters of all kinds.

Another writer explained,
"When you submit through Submishmash for the first time, they will create an account for you. And writers have the option to specify what they see in their account. Try zooming out on the submishmash homepage -- the sign-in box is in the far upper right corner. (you may need to set your screen to 75%.)"
SS said,
"I set my Submishmash to show only active submissions. I don't want to look at that long list of rejections every time! :) And I resist the urge to click rejections and look at them. As far as logging in, I never go through an ezine. I originally signed up when I was submitting to an ezine that used it. But now I just go to and click 'login.' I leave it logged in and have my page bookmarked, but when that resets I just login from their homepage."
PSt.P said,
"More and more ezines are using submishmash. Many of the ones I've submitted to prefer that to straight email perhaps because they don't want spam. I usually receive a form email from the editor thanking me for my submission and stating to check with submishmash manager. When I've receive rejections an email is usually sent explaining why my submission wasn't accepted by them. As far as I'm concerned I've had very few acceptances while using them."
AW added,
"Submishmash makes me feel lazy. I rarely submit my stories -- I have a grand total of 3 submissions listed. When I think of what people had to do back in the olden days to submit their work, it makes me wonder why I don't take advantage of technology more."
AW summed it up nicely,
"Submishmash helps writers who help themselves by taking advantage of what Submishmash provides, no charge if you use their free option."
There are different online manager platforms besides Submishmash, but online managers seem to be the direction in which many journals are headed. It's very convenient from the writer's standpoint and statistics show that many editors like Submishmash.

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