Plain Banter
. . . lies about science fiction, and everything else.

When the writer becomes the center of his attention, he becomes a nudnik. And a nudnik who believes he's profound is even worse than just a plain nudnik. -- Isaac Bashevis Singer
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Same old story

My usual market sent me another "semi-acceptance" for a story. Yes, they like it and want to buy it, but they're all bought up now and need to work off some inventory before buying this story. They say I'm free to shop it around, but please let them know ASAP if I sell it elsewhere before they get back to me.

I've heard this one before. Several times. And this market does always get back to me and buy the story a few months down the line, so I suppose I should be happy -- it's practically a sale. Eventually.

I suppose if I were a bigger name, or the story a knock-your-socks-off must-have, that they'd buy it outright, instead of giving me the opportunity of shopping it around elsewhere. So, are they telling me they don't think I'll be able to sell it elsewhere, and aren't afraid of losing the story to another market? Or that it's no big deal if this one slips away? Neither one of these speculations is much of an ego-boost for me.

Should I wait for the first market or try it elsewhere? A lot of markets take three months or more for a reply, and if the first market comes back with a contract in two months, I'd have to tell the second market that I'm pulling the story because another magazine is buying it. This is a terrible thing to do -- editors don't want their time wasted, and usually expect that they are the only one looking at a particular story. Pulling a story could very likely rule out that second market and editor for any future sales.

I could try the story on one of the markets that I know has a fast turnaround time. I'd get a response from them before the first place gets back to me. But this particular story is somewhat of a sequel to a story that appeared in the first market, so it really ought to be there, where more of the readers will recognize the main character.

What to do?

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