Okay, I'm not talking about the serious bad kind of cyber stalking. I'm talking about what happens when a story I've submitted is out past Duotrope's listed average time for a response (*see below if you aren't sure what Duotrope is.) Specifically, it's what I end up doing when I've submitted to an anthology, which has a more concrete run time.
And I'm doing it right now.
I try to not visit Duotrope more than once per week, if that frequently (it depends on what publications I've submitted to, and how fast they are at responding.) If I've got nothing nearing when I should be hearing, I'll go much longer without checking it. But submitting is such a hands off thing once you put that work out there, that I end up feeling a bit helpless. When I have something out to an anthology, I have that minute amount of control by looking at the website, blog, Facebook, etc. of that publication. Many anthologies will keep a running update on where they are in the submissions process, and it helps me to know if I've had something out long enough to really start feeling hopeful.
On Duotrope, you can see recent responses from the market, so if your story has been out for 45 days, but there are a bunch of rejections within two weeks of when they are submitted, you have an idea that perhaps yours is being held for extra consideration. This is by no means a definitive thing, but sometimes it gets me through a little bit longer as I wait to hear back. They also show the average response time for acceptances vs. rejections. All helpful data when you're obsessing about whether your piece stands a chance.
Hello, my name is Shannon, and I'm a Duotrope cyber stalker.
By the way, hi! I've been absent quite a bit lately due to chronic migraines. However, I changed my medical treatment for them and am feeling much more human now. Though it doesn't completely rid me of the permanent migraine I have, it radically reduces the level of pain and discomfort. It also helps significantly with my insomnia, which makes everything better, right? So hopefully I'm back to regular posting now!
*For those who don't know what Duotrope is, it's a database of publication listings. I highly recommend it if you're actively submitting. There is an annual cost associated, so if you aren't submitting it probably isn't worth it. In that case, however, there is a free database called The Submission Grinder.
Do you cyber stalk Duotrope? Publications you have stories out to? Or are you able to walk away and forget about it until that email comes in?
May you find your Muse.
Image by OCAL, clker.com