Friday, November 22, 2013

Bad Markets: Weird T@les

If the "Save the Pearls" blow up hadn't turned you off from WT, then maybe this next bit will. To paraphrase what Keith West reported on his blog: Over the summer, WT's editor Marvin Kaye sent back an accepted story by Chap O'Keefe with a lousy explanation:

 "I regret to inform you that the publisher of We[ird Ta]les* has decided to pass on quite a few stories, yours included. This is a measure to reduce our huge fiction inventory."

Followed by:

"If you have not sold your submission elsewhere, try us again in 9 months. If we have room at that time, it will be an automatic sale."

Well gee, how gracious of them. O'Keefe wasn't the only one hurt, as this happened to seven authors total. It may not seem like a lot, but even one author having their accepted submission turned down is, in it of itself, unacceptable. It's like an employer hiring someone, then before the employee comes in for their first day of work, the employer says, "Changed my mind. Didn't want to hire you, after all."  

But it gets better when one of the contributing editors tries to defend this bullcrap.

"But for good or for bad, Mr. Kaye decided that that would/could put off opening up the submissions portal for several or more months. Like I so testily told Taran on FB, I would do this differently by soliciting much more if not all work. Then everyone knows up front not to ask and there would be less pressure on the staff. But it isn't my magazine. It's Mr. Kaye's and whether any one of us agrees or not. It is his to do as he sees fit. He has my confidence and only time will tell if this is a successful strategy or not."

Sending back accepted stories is a strategy? Then their other strategy must've been to ignore a good chunk of the submissions received, because I queried several times about my submission, sent in the summer of 2012, and never received one response. Finally, after a year, I marked them as "never responded" on The Grinder. I know other authors who had to do similarly.

It's pretty clear, especially the "I'd prefer soliciting", that these guys don't give a rat's ass about the people who submit to them. They will use you and abuse you as they wish.

This was why I wanted to post a warning on their site, seeing as they're reopening their submission portal, but as you might figure, the comment got deleted. I guess they learned from the "Save the Pearls" debacle and got better moderation.

Take caution fellow writers, this is not a good market. If you love your stories, send them to good homes. Apex, Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Horror D'oeuvres/DarkFuse, and many, many more accept weird fiction; WT's is no longer the niche market that its editors think it is. You don't have to settle for them. Even the honor of being published by We[ird Ta]les is gone, as the current publisher has tarnished the name. Do you really want to be associated with an editor who treats writers like trash, and blatantly ignores fellow editors' warnings?

*If you're wondering why I did the We[ird Ta]les, it's so I don't get picked up by the WT's search bots, and have some editor pop on here to half-ass his way through an explanation.


  1. I've been leery of WT since the change in ownership. Had the same thing happen to one of my stories at BLUE SHIFT -- won't be subbing there ever again.

    1. I was willing to give WT a chance, even after their initial screw up. But they've proven to be unreliable slimballs. As for White Scat...fuck 'em. :D