Recently, guest blogger Kelly Davio answered some of your top questions as a submitter, such as, What does my submission status mean? and Can publishers see where else I’ve submitted? This week, I’m answering more questions that we often receive at Submittable from submitters, aka anyone who uses Submittable to submit work to a publisher or organization.
1. Where should I submit my work?
We post calls throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook, so follow us and like us (on Facebook and, we hope, in real life) to stay up-to-date on the latest opportunities. Once a month, we publish a comprehensive list of upcoming deadlines here on our blog. Every Thursday, we also send out our Submishmash Weekly, a newsletter of news and opportunities hand-picked by yours truly for artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Sign up for it here.
Plus, it’s still in the early stages, but stay tuned for Submishmash, an API of all contemporary art, literature, music, and film on Earth and beyond. We’re really excited about it.
2. Do I need to set up a paid account with Submittable in order to submit to an organization?
No, you don’t. Sometimes, new submitters will go to our website www.Submittable.com and sign up for one of our paid accounts, thinking they need to do this in order to submit to an organization. You don’t need to do this! Only organizations that use us to receive and rate submissions need to sign up for a paid account (and even then, they get a free trial to test it out first).
If you’re a submitter and you don’t have an account with us, you don’t need to create a Submittable account until you’re actually submitting to an organization that uses us. So you’ll go to the organization’s website and to their submissions page. If they use us, before you can submit to them, you’ll be prompted to either log in to your existing Submittable account or to create a free Submittable account if you don’t have one. To create your account, you’ll fill out a short form on the organization’s submissions page. It’s really easy, quick, and free.
Click the ‘Create Account and Continue’ button and then continue with the organization’s submissions process. You can now use this account login when submitting to any organization that uses Submittable. You can also log in to your account at https://manager.submittable.com to check the status of your submissions.
3. I’m an administrator for an organization that uses Submittable, but I also want to submit my own work to other organizations that use Submittable. Do I need to create a separate submitter account?
No. To submit to an organization, simply sign in to your Submittable account with your existing login email address and password. After you’ve submitted your work, you can check its status by logging in to your Submittable account. To switch between your staff account and your user (or submitter) account, click your name in the upper right-hand corner of your Submittable account. You’ll then choose to click into your staff account(s) or to view your personal submissions in your user account.
4. Help! My submissions have disappeared from my Submittable account.
Don’t worry. If you received an email confirmation that your submission was received, it definitely did not disappear from the system. Instead, it’s likely that you have multiple Submittable accounts under different email addresses. Contact our support team and provide information about the submission, such as the submission title and the publisher you submitted to, and we’ll find the submission for you. We can also help you merge your multiple accounts so that you only have one Submittable account that contains all your submissions.
5. Oh no, I can’t attach my file to the submission form.
If you’re having trouble attaching a file to the submission form, make sure your file is the correct file type. An organization specifies the types of files that you can submit, and the acceptable file types are listed on the form by the file attachment field. Often, if you’re having trouble attaching a file, this is because your file has a filename extension of .doc, and the organization only allows .docx. Resave your file as the correct file type. Then return to the submission form and try again. Also, we recommend you make sure your browser is updated to the latest version, for the best experience.
6. How long does it take for work to get accepted or declined?
This really depends on the publication, on their reading process and workflow and how many submissions they receive. Some publications state their response time on their submissions page (we’re a fan of this; this is a thoughtful thing to do). Having worked as a fiction editor on a literary magazine and also being an actively submitting writer myself, I have found that it usually takes 3-4 months to hear back from a publication.
Sometimes, we at Submittable will get emails from submitters asking why they haven’t heard back from a publication yet. We really have no say over how long a publication decides to take before choosing to accept or decline a submission, so in the end, as with writing in general, it just takes patience (and a bit of luck).
Asta So is Submittable’s blog editor and editorial director. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana and a BA in English lit from Stanford University. When not writing or sewing, she’s hugging dogs or cooking from her dad’s many Cantonese-style recipes.