Saturday, 14 June 2014

In Praise of Mr Clarke

No, not Arthur C. but Neil of Clarkesworld.

Has he accepted one of my stories?  No.  Actually, no for the seventeenth time.

No, this is in praise of Mr Clarke because when he doesn't want something he invariably takes no more than 48 hours over it - although it may be that he now has some kind of e-mail rule that reacts to anything from my address, delaying the reply sufficiently to give the impression of reading it... took nine months over a story simply to say they almost decided to publish it; EscapePod have asked for another few months for my story 'The Soul of Solomon Kismet' which has gone to their final review round.  Be delighted if they take it, natch, but there's always the possibility (probability? - I have no idea of the conversion rate from final review round to sale) of another further delayed rejection.

Before anybody points out that resources are stretched in the world of publishing let me emphasise that this posting is not a criticism of those that take weeks or month, just praise for one of the ones who appears to be on top of the submission process.  I know how these things work and that the frustration comes with the territory.

But talking of processes, it's easy to let a backlog build up, in which case response times increase or, if there isn't much to process, to be always responding swiftly.  But it's very hard to have a constant unchanging backlog. I've often wondered about Britain's two speed postal service.  I understand first class: get it there asap.  But what about second class?  Naturally, today's second class gets processed after today's first class, but what of yesterday's second class versus today's first class?  And if they put an extra half day's shift in yesterday, couldn't everything be dealt with as first class today and forever?  And how much time is spent separating out the second from the first, and what if that time were used to get the post to where its going?  And will there be second class post in space?  (Had to remind myself that this is meant to be about sci-fi).

Neil Clarke obviously thought my first seventeen submissions second class.  If he thinks the eighteenth first class I wonder how much time he'll take to tell me?

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