Must get published to be published. Must publish. Publish or perish.
I love my account at Duotrope. Whenever I like, I can bring up my page. I can study it. I can examine it. I can analyze it. I can compare. I can spend hours obsessing over statistics and data and I can drive myself mad with it. Sure that's what heaven is like.
I have 38 submissions logged so far, of which 14 are rejections. Forever and ever, I can see where I sent something and how long it took to get a reply. Was my rejection faster than average? The information's all there. Was my rejection slower than average? Simple to see, with a click of the mouse.
Has anyone heard back from Painted Bride Quarterly since last November? There's the answer, all very neatly set out for my obsessive pleasure. Yes, there is some activity there, for they have a new website, updated from last July when I sent them a submission. Someone else who subscribes to Duotrope has gotten a reply from them on 7 May. But they sent their material in October! I sent my short story in July. Has the journal lost my submission? Is it put aside in the maybe pile, to be examined more closely? Will I ever hear back from them?
Duotrope thinks I should follow up with The Greensboro Review and The Southeast Review because it's been ages since I sent material to them. The first one has had my submission for 203 days, but they usually get back to Duotrope users within 130 days. What are they waiting for? Did they lose the SASE and can never get back to me? As for the second journal, the editor was pretty clear about my sending them something else after he rejected my other short story. Now it seems that I'm either forgotten or under consideration. So it's 177 days and counting, compared to the more typical 85 days for a response.
The questions burn in my brain, occupying every thought process for hours, for days, for weeks. I'll have to check Duotrope again, searching for a clue. Lost or on the verge of acceptance or on the verge of rejection after being passed around the English Department; any and all options are open. Until, that is, my SASE turns up and the one true answer arrives...but the postage rates are going up next Monday and those SASEs only had $0.37 stamps because there was no talk of a rate increase that summer when I originally sent the manuscripts and will I ever get the letters or will they be returned for postage due?
So much to obsess over. So little time.