Sunday, 17 May 2009


Following my recent exhortations to mag editors to be a little more courteous in their dealings with submitters, I am dee-lighted to report that there are a few 'awards' (from here and there!) for speedy/courteous replies.
Firstly, Tania Hershman reminded us HERE how fast and efficient is Coop Renner, editor of elimae. He will often come back to you within a day, and has even suggested alternative places to submit.

Now I have one to add. The organisers of the Binnacle Untra-Short competition, (University of Maine) have taken the trouble to email all their entrants to explain exactly how the judging is progressing, as it is taking longer than the suggested timeline on the website. And how, if you don't hear by 15th June, you can check a specific link to see if your work is free to send elsewhere.There are over 900 writers to contact. Done, dusted. Lovely people. These guys are writers themselves, I will bet.
If they can do this, then why on earth can't similar venues?

I would love to hear of similar lovely editors/organiserrs. Let's let them know how much we appreciate them! If you know of a great editor who replies fast to your submissions, let me know. I have a few more to add to the list, later.

here's the Binnacle email.
Dear Vanessa,

Thank you for your submission to our Sixth Annual Ultra-Short Competition. We at The Binnacle have received over 900 entries this year and are very pleased about the quality of the submissions. We apologize for the delay in replying to your message, and we would like to take this opportunity to explain a few things about the competition and how it is progressing.

First, we would like to reassure you that this is not at all a vanity competition. We have several judges scrutinizing all entries carefully: they will select approximately fifty to sixty works to include in this edition. (I will serve, as always, as arbiter.) Several of these fifty to sixty writers will receive cash prizes, and all the works included in the edition will be much admired.

Second, we would like to give you an idea of what our timeline will be. The judging is finally in progress, and we hope the judges will draw their conclusions by June 15. As such judging is no simple matter, we need to be patient. After the notifications are completed (see #3) and the file is complete, we will begin production. The production of the volume takes a good deal of time. As the volume is hand-produced in an alternative format, it takes months to produce. Though we aim for mid-October, we usually do not complete production until mid- or late-December.

Third, we want you to know how you will learn if your work has been selected. Though we would love to be able to contact all the writers and explain why each work will or will not be included, such notification, given our staff and commitments, is impossible. Instead, we offer you our update page at, which will list the winners and honorable mentions.

Fourth, all entries included in the edition and not designated as winners shall be considered honorable mentions. Once all the selections have been made, we will contact each winner and honoree to make sure that all our information is complete and up-to-date. Then we will get to work on the production of the edition.

Once again, thank you for your interest in The Binnacle. We believe that anyone willing to bear his or her work/soul/heart to others is a winner. Whether or not you are chosen for inclusion in this specific edition, we congratulate you on your efforts.

All the Best,


Gerard NeCastro
The Binnacle Editor/Advisor
& Sometimes Professor of English
& Sometimes Chair of the Arts & Letters Division
19 Kimball Hall
University of Maine at Machias
9 O'Brien Avenue
Machias, ME 04654


Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Hmmm.. not sure how I feel about this. I entered the Binnacle ultra short contest after reading about it on Tania's website BUT I didn't receive this very nice email and assumed I didn't make the cut adding to the other three contests announced last week that I didn't make the cut for. I was feeling slightly sorry for myself. BUT now what does this mean- the email gremlins ate my submission (worst case scenerio) or the email gremilins ate their apology? That's very gropho. (my word verification word which seemed appropriate here)

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Gropho indeed! Sorry to hear about the other comps. I just got the message Lauri, perhaps it takes longer to get to Botswana!

Pure fiction said...

Hi Vanessa, I'm a follower (it sounds almost cultish, doesn't it?) of your site and I just wanted to pass on one of those blog awardy things - I think (very untechnical) if you want to display it you have to copy the link from my blog. Feel free to overlook it, but I chose your blog because I admire the way you're so generous with advice and support for other writers.

Tania Hershman said...

I just got the Binnacle email, they are delightful, aren't they? Lauri, I'm sure yours is on its way... it is sent to everyone, no selection here. Yay for Gerald! Good luck to us all, they publish about 50 stories, so we have a 50 out of 900 chance, or something like that.