So When Will I Hear Back?

  • Posted on June 2, 2018 at 10:05 am

By: Cheryl Taggert

This blog entry is mostly for those who are interested in submitting work to Juicy Secrets, but I hope it is of interest to everyone. It will provide some “behind the scenes” information and ask for patience when submitting work.

So, here is the process and how we handle things here at Juicy Secrets.

Let’s say an erotica author, Ima Writer, submits a story to the Juicy Secrets email address (juicysecrets@email.com). First, Ima gets a gold star because she read the Submission Guidelines like any author submitting to a publication would (either online or in print). If Ima is truly a writer, she is aware that all organizations that accept work for publication are not joking about those submission guidelines. In fact, they are actually misnamed. They should be called “Submission Requirements.” Calling them guidelines suggests following them is optional if you want your work considered for publication. They aren’t. Mainstream editors (i.e., those who get paid to read submitted material) discard any submissions to them that don’t follow the guidelines without reading a word of the text. That is a completely true statement.

Next, one of the site’s staff (unpaid, by the way) opens the site email, which is checked every few days, though sometimes a week or more might pass before we get around to it. (Hey, it’s our email; we can check it as time permits.) The staff member who opens the email notices Ima’s submission. He or she probably reads a bit of it, if not all, before forwarding it to the rest of the staff for consideration. If an opinion has been formed by the first person to see it, that opinion is usually included in the email. We will see things like, “I looked at it and think it would be good for the site with a little tweaking,” or “It’s not bad, but it needs a lot of work.” The worst thing to see is, “I really didn’t like it because (various reasons discussed here).” Another bad thing to find is a story that is good as far as the story itself goes, but the work will need a lot of editing before it is made available for our readers. Remember, you come here to read what is offered because of the quality of the fiction we share. You want wankers (fast tales with no build-up or sense of character) or numerous typos? Go elsewhere, please. Speaking of typos, they demonstrate an amateur approach to writing. You should be sending things you’ve at least cleaned up a bit. Any writing you send us should always be the best you can make it before you press “SEND.” As I’ve said before, a first draft is good for only two things: editing or the trash can. And that goes for every author you’ve ever read, even the really famous ones (in fact, especially the really famous ones.)

Another good thing to try is reading your story out loud. You can catch far more errors doing that than if you read it silently. If you’re like me and have a spouse who also enjoys erotica like ours, it can be a LOT of fun, believe me!

Okay, so staff member A opens the email, reads at least some of it, and forwards the rest for us to read and make a decision. Staff members B, C, and D (yep, that’s all of us) read the story and we exchange emails, sometimes over the course of a week or more, about the story and our individual reactions to it. The clincher here is that the site owners (at this point JetBoy and I, since Naughty Mommy is unable for the time being to participate more than sporadically at best) have final say on any story. If either one of us says no, the story will not appear on the Juicy Secrets website. When Naughty Mommy returns full-time, she will also have veto power on a story. It’s not a “majority rules” decision, and it never has been. Occasionally, one of the site’s owners voting “no” has been convinced to go along with publishing a story if the other(s) are in favor of it, but that is a rare occurrence. Amanda Lynn and PoppaBear have input, but their votes lack veto power.

Once a final decision is made, one of us will contact the author and inform him or her that the story has either been accepted or rejected. If it is rejected, we try to give some of the reasons why. None of us are much in favor of the “form rejection.” Also, even acceptances can come with a “but it needs a little more work” comment. Usually, a “no” response from the author regarding our offer to help improve the story results in a “Then no thanks” from us.

This process can take as much as two or three weeks if we are busy with lots of things. For instance, since the transition involving bringing Amanda Lynn and PoppaBear on, things have sometimes been rather hectic. They’re calming down a bit now, but any change in how things are handled causes a hectic atmosphere for at least a little while.

Now, let’s compare this to the “real” publishing world in which non-erotic stories are submitted for publication in print and/or electronic periodicals. I submit to these publications. At least once a week, sometimes more often, I submit a short story (non-erotic) to a journal. This is accomplished through a service called Duotrope, which has listings of hundreds of periodicals and what each is looking for in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual art, etc. I submit to these with full knowledge of their “average response time.” For each of these periodicals, there is generally a small percentage of submitted work that never receives a response, either positive or negative. In other words, an author will submit his or her work and never hear back from the periodical. Never. Generally, the average response time is around 3-6 months. That means that when I submit a story, I can expect not to hear one word about it for at least three months.

Fortunately, many of these publications accept what is known as “simultaneous submissions,” meaning they will accept a story, etc., that has been submitted somewhere else at the same time. It’s a “first to accept gets to publish it” kind of thing. Mostly, however, stories receive a form rejection. It’s worded something like this: “Thank you for your recent submission to XYZ Magazine. Unfortunately, it does not match what we are looking for at this time.” That’s it. I have many emails that say this. However, the good news is that I have also received an email from one publication that has accepted a story of mine. Now, if I can just get a few more of those.

So, dear writers of erotica, keep in mind that if we take two weeks or even three to respond with a decision, it could be much worse. Also, consider this: Perhaps we’ve not contacted you because one of us is trying to convince someone to accept your work instead of reject it. (Yes, that happens here at Juicy Secrets, as well as at mainstream literature publishers, though it’s not successful often in either case.)

Once we have accepted your story, we edit it before it goes in the queue. A date is decided by our webmaster, Amanda Lynn, for when your story will be published at our site. It could be a week, or it could be longer. If the story needs editing, it could be considerably longer. JetBoy, PoppaBear, and I all do editing. (I’ve done more since feeling much better.) This includes the stories from other sites we wish to publish in our archive as well. There is always a lot on our plates as far as editing goes, and adding unpublished stories to that mix can cause a delay to get your story posted on the site.

The good news is once we accept your story, we will usually accept more from you. If we accept the first few chapters of a longer work, we expect you to complete the work at some point. If you don’t think you can finish it, don’t submit it.

A quick story here about that. Purple Les sent us the first chapter of her now famous “My Family, Friends, and Sex,” with a note that it was her first effort at writing a story. While there were some things to clean up, I daresay anyone who has read it knows it’s a very hot, and immensely well-told narrative. Purple Les has talent. Chapter 28 of that saga was posted recently. She knows how many more chapters will be written before the book is done. She would tell you she was never a professional writer, but she also has perseverance in addition to the talent, and she will see things through to the end. Of course, it is our sincerest wish and hope that this is not her LAST effort by any means. She promised to keep at it until she’d told the whole tale, and she has–or at least she will be finished soon. We understand when life interferes or a sort of writer’s block occurs with a story. But you should plan on finishing a work. You don’t need to be a professional writer to accomplish writing a long work, as Purple Les has demonstrated–very admirably.

So, please be patient when you submit to us. We try to reply to all emails when we open them to assure the author their work has been received and is being considered. That is something we are trying to do a better job of. Also, please remember we are all volunteers. Nobody gets one penny for doing any of this. It is all strictly a labor of love.

Thank you for reading this. If you have a story you wish to submit, by all means, send it on. Just be sure to click the link to the Submission Guidelines above first. Then read and follow them! Also, if you see a story somewhere else that you think is good enough for the archive, tell us that as well. But we ask that you PLEASE use the email for that, not the comments section of a story or any of the website’s different areas. Our acceptance or rejection of a story for the archive, for whatever reason, should not be a public discussion.

Now, happy reading and writing!

14 Comments on So When Will I Hear Back?

  1. Purple Les says:

    The huge difference that makes this site the best, besides the great writing and how nice everyone is, is that it’s so educational as well.

    Besides the information here, there are so many other helpful hints on Juicy Secrets on how to write.

    I still can’t get over that they have been nice enough to let me tell a story. I learn something everyday from the real writers here. I’m not fishing for compliments. I really love the work of Naughty Mommy, Cheryl, and Jetboy. And the other authors as well. Also for all the hard work Poppa Bear does. He has the thankless job of being my editor. Plus all the other editing he does. And Amanda Lynn deserves high praise from all.

    I try my best. I use spell check all the time, and I try to make as little work for my editor as I can, but lord knows he has his work cut our for him and I love his patience with me.

    Like Cheryl says, if you think you can do it then give it a try. but meet these nice people halfway or more, they are very nice and very encouraging.

  2. Sapphmore says:

    First of all, I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better Cheryl.

    I whole-heartedly echo Purple Les’ comments. This is a very useful addition to the submission guidelines which I read several times to make sure I had the best chance I could (notwithstanding whether I’m good enough) of getting published.

    I am a (hopeful) newbie writer having just submitted chapter one of my first story for consideration. I sent what I hope was a very polite follow-up email after a month and received nice responses, plus shortly after, some constructive and positive feedback from Jetboy which I’m currently in the throes of acting on in the hope I’ll be successful.

    This spurred me on to try and meet the high quality we all expect from Juicy Secrets.

    Carry on the great work.

  3. z says:

    I agree, as a fellow writer, and as I’m only 19 I’m finding it very difficult to get myself a publisher, whether a self-publishing agency or an actual publisher and completely respect those who have published because as I have started to realize it’s not the easiest process to go through. I went through two processes with two separate agencies and no luck so far, but I’m not going to stop trying to get a publisher, sooner or later, sooner rather than later hopefully, I’m going to find someone who likes me. Everyone who’s trying to be successful, paid, published author my only advice is to take your time, but don’t wait too long and don’t ever put yourself down for a publisher or person who doesn’t like the story because maybe you’ll come back with an even better story. I feel I was waiting to get out of school before publishing, I know not everyone is going to like my science fiction/fantasy dragon trilogy, but I will not stop until I find a company who is liking my books and storytelling and is lucky enough to have me, and you have to have confidence in yourself and know that not every story is going to be a story that tugs at the hearts of millions, but if you can reach a small few, that’s better than none. Don’t ever stop though, keep on writing and practicing your talent, and man, who knows maybe someone will like your newer story because you’ve put your heart, mind, and soul into it. Your the best Cheryl, and I sincerely hope some of you try to start the process of publishing. Honestly, shout out to JetBoy, that guy could definitely become a professional author if he really wanted to.

  4. Miss Phael says:

    It’s hard to get published. It’s equally as hard to hire a writer.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Purple Les, I won’t give you more compliments in this comment, though you certainly deserve them, but I will say thank you from all of us here. We do try to be nice to anyone submitting a story. Even if the story is not good at all, we try to encourage the writers to keep trying to improve their work. We’ve had our share of writers who do not mirror our politeness, but we just move on from those few.

    Some people consider that because our subject matter is not what you would find in mainstream publications that we are too picky. (That was stated in a recent response to our suggestions on improving a story, which we were willing to post but only after some improvements were made.) To people like that I say, good writing is still good writing, and everyone appreciates a well-written, well-plotted story much more than one that is mediocre in these aspects. The comments to this blog entry bear this out.

    To z, you are so correct! Keep writing! I’ve learned that if someone sends me a rejection for one of my mainstream stories, I just consider that the story just wasn’t their type, or perhaps something considering a similar theme was published by them recently. I do not take it personally. Also, my first erotica was published at nifty.org when I was your age. I’ve grown quite a bit as a writer since then.

    Sapphmore, thank you for your comment, as well as your expressed happiness at my improved health. We really did like your story and hope your improvements will make it better. After all, any suggestion we ever make to an author is for the purpose of improving that writer’s skills.

    Miss Phael, thank you for your comment as well. I can attest to not having the time to work on anything beyond my own works in progress, so perhaps that is why it is so hard to hire a writer to work in collaboration on a project. Anyway, I wish you luck in finding someone, if that is what you are trying to do.

    • Purple Les says:

      I just wanted to add that Cheryl was my first editor here, and I was really blessed by that. I am so happy she is still here with us.

  6. Gary says:

    Your recent email was very informative and I thank you for all of your work and especially the awsome stories on your site. I’d love to submit a story if you could tell me where to send them. Thank you very much for your time and help

    • Amandalynn says:

      Gary,

      Click on the Guest Authors tab, and then the Submissions Guidelines link at the top of the page.

      Amanda Lynn

      • Cheryl says:

        To our potential authors:

        The Submission Guidelines are also linked in this article. I have highlighted it for easier notice. Also, I have included the website’s email address in the article as well. The email address is also in the Guidelines.

        Thanks!

  7. Miss Phael says:

    Thank you guys, and thank the other people behind the scenes also. It’s great that you make this site available for all of us to enjoy!

  8. Cheryl says:

    My dear readers,

    I mention the importance of editing what you write in this article. Fortunately, we can continue editing these things after we’ve read a few comments to make some things clearer and include details we think would be helpful. I have done that with this article as of today. There are a few minor additions and some added clarity. The original piece was the result of three edits by me after my own re-reading and some input from the others here at Juicy Secrets. Now, we have the fourth edit, which is, in essence, “live.” And believe me, if I’d chosen not to edit the first draft, it really would have been good for the trash can only.

  9. Rachael Yukey says:

    I just had the first chapter of my own submission published today, and i have nothing but good things to say about the whole process. I submitted the first section on May 1st if I remember correctly, and heard back from Poppa Bear on the 4th. So it’s been just slightly over a month, and the first chapter of my story is available for viewing. This is my first real attempt at fiction so I don’t quite know what’s normal, but I thought it was pretty damn impressive! The staff here is terrific.

  10. kraM says:

    Yeah I failed at getting my stories submitted in part because both of them are just a couple chapters in. And I don’t have a sex scene yet. The problem is I don’t know if I’m any good so I lack motivation to continue writing. I have a unique style which I think is good. Too bad their isn’t a pilot episode section. Where us readers can encourage or discourage would be writers. I’ve asked on here before if anyone was willing to read my stuff to see if it’s any good. No help yet. Rallyall@usa.com

    • Cheryl says:

      kraM,

      The best way to get feedback is to go ahead and send a first chapter to us. As I say in this article, we don’t do “form rejections,” meaning we will point out what needs improvement and what your strong points are.

      So . . . what are you waiting for, an invitation? Oh, you just got one. :)

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