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I am an unpublished writer straight out of college. After graduation, I sent out a few stories to a handful of places-- no more than five or six. It is now about 1.5 months later and I just received a letter from the fiction editor of a new literary magazine with an enthusiastic offer to publish (after some edits are made.)

The magazine is a thrice-annual online publication with an anthologized print issue every December with that year's best works. It is almost one year old, I believe. The piece that they accepted is one of the best ones in my collection. I am so, so excited and grateful to have been accepted for publication!

Question: I am still wondering if I should wait it out to see if I get any other bites? How long is appropriate to wait to respond to this editor?

I am also concerned because it is such a fledgling magazine, and I've heard it is wise to be wary of online publishers who might fold easily. I do enjoy the magazine's mission and, admittedly, their issue's theme is right in keeping with my content. But I just want to make an informed decision before signing any contracts! (My body of finished work is not exactly prolific, so once this piece is published I won't have too many other chances until I can generate more material.)

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Alex, welcome to Writers. Have done some light editing to make the question more obvious. –  Neil Fein Jul 21 '13 at 16:55
    
As others have noted, this is a situation best avoided. Most serious publications forbid simultaneous submissions outright. And even if some don't, it stands to reason that you should first query the markets you'd like most, and only move down a tier once you've exhausted all the "current best" options. –  Standback Jul 22 '13 at 18:20

3 Answers 3

Answer them now. They have put time into your story, at your request. Do not ask them to waste their time while you decide whether you want them to publish the story that you asked them to consider.

This is why most publishers forbid simultaneous submissions. If the publisher in question allows them, give them the courtesy of a prompt reply.

It sounds like you've created a problem for yourself in two ways:

  1. Submitting a single story to multiple markets.
  2. Submitting to a market you may not want to be published in.
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Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

ACCEPT!!!

Dale is absolutely correct. You are looking a gift horse in the mouth. You have already committed a major faux pas by submitting your story to more than one market. You have no idea how difficult it is to publish a story in any market at any time.

You have no idea how many writers' walls have been blanketed by rejection slips before they made their first sale.

Immediately tell these people how grateful and honored you are that they have accepted you.

Immediately tell all the other places to which you have submitted that you went temporarily insane from the stress of your favorite pet cockroach developing leprosy and so you forgot you had already submitted your story to ONE other place (you can't even remember where), but you beg their forgiveness because you are so brand new and you really didn't even know the etiquette anyway and it will never happen again and would they kindly withdraw your story from consideration. (By the way, in case you didn't know, I'm being FACETIOUS, but you have to come up with a good, tactful excuse.)

If by some chance your story doesn't wind up being published, then you can submit it elsewhere later.

Phew.

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+1 for contacting the others to withdraw the story, with or without the leperous pet cockroach. :-) –  Monica Cellio Jul 22 '13 at 15:16

What Dale said.

Many writers go years without getting published. I'm sure there are writers out there who have been sending out submissions for decades and have yet to be published.

If your writing career takes off and someday you are a rich and famous author, you can afford to play games with publishers and shop around for the best offer. When you're just starting, the goal is to get published somewhere, anywhere.

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