There comes a time in every writer’s career when he or she must withdraw a submission. Sometimes the decision is a tough one (such as when you just got an acceptance but were hoping for a better publication). Other times it’s easy (when those inconsiderate editors haven’t responded to your submission after nineteen months). Whatever the case may be, make sure you withdraw your submission with class.
There are many reasons why submitters choose to withdraw. Here are the five most common reasons, along with our opinions about each one.
1. Accepted Elsewhere
Our normal reaction to this reason is an implied “Congratulations.” Occasionally, we will kick ourselves for having not accepted it sooner. Other times, we will scratch our heads as we wonder why this piece was accepted anywhere.
2. Wrong Version
Another common reason for withdrawing a submission is when an author sends the wrong version. Whether by honest mistake or carelessness, we’re never too excited by this decision. We don’t say anything out loud, but we hope you are more careful next time.
3. Noticed a Typo
Really? A typo? If you think a typo is going to be the difference between acceptance and rejection, then you really don’t know how this works. No matter how bad the typo is, you are better off not calling attention to the fact that you sent something that was “messed up.”
4. No Reason Stated
Thanks for wasting our time. We hope the experience was worthwhile for you.
5. Major Revisions
Why the hell did you submit it in the first place? Tell you what: don’t bother to submit your major revisions to us.
If you need to withdraw a piece, we understand. The best withdrawals are simple and honest. Thank the editor for his or her time. You certainly don’t need a long-winded apology. Our feelings won’t be hurt. Of the over ten thousand submissions we’ve received at Bartleby Snopes, I can only recall a handful of stories I wished hadn’t been withdrawn. None of those times did I beg or cry.
A word of caution: withdrawing with the intent to submit again draws unnecessary attention (not the good kind) to your submission. If you want a publisher to consider your story, don’t withdraw it. Once you send it, let the editors read it and decide if they want it. Typos can always be fixed later. You probably have more important things to do than withdraw your story. In fact, we all do.