This is the story that was supposed to have been published by Lakeside Circus in Year Two, Issue 1. On 18 March, 2015 to be precise. It was in the Table of Contents until yesterday. It was accepted by the editor Carrie Cuinn in June 2014. I am publishing it here on my website because the editor has pulled it from the issue. And I believe it deserves to see the light of day and be read.
The original acceptance letter from the editor had mentioned the possible need for editing the story, and I had replied right away, saying, yes of course. I am always open to editing. I love getting feedback on how to improve my story, especially from editors who read thousands of stories and know what they’re talking about. I’ve had editorial suggestions (that I gratefully accepted) from many of the editors who have published my stories.
However, this is the first time I’ve had a truly awful experience, and I feel I should report it in the interests of transparency and for the benefit of others who wish to submit their stories to Lakeside Circus. So here’s my troubling timeline:
June 2014: Conditional acceptance email received from editor. Submittable shows the lovely green of “accepted” so I go ahead and log this story as an acceptance in the Submission Grinder. I ask what edits I should make, but get absolutely no response.
Jan 2015: I query the editor on publication date. Later than month I am asked for contributor info, which I promptly provide, and which is posted online.
Feb 2015: Official TOC posted. The Book of Daria, I am happy to see, is scheduled for 18 March, 2015.
27 April 2015: I query the editor, because sadly the story is still not live, while other stories scheduled for later in the month are already published.
4 May 2015: The editor sends a massive rewrite request, which dismays me, because it indicates quite clearly she did not ‘get’ the story.
I try. I try hard to work with her notes. I make two different versions of the story. How does it read now, I ask.
7 May 2015: The editor pulls the story from the issue. “Good luck placing it elsewhere,” she says.
I am, quite frankly, upset. I did not expect such deeply unprofessional conduct. Because that’s what it is. Once you accept a story, you work with the writer to get it where you want. We see so many articles and blog posts about how aspiring professional writers should behave. But I want to point out that no matter how professional and polite we writers are, we have the right to expect the same from the editors we work with.
There are some truly lovely stories on the Lakeside Circus website. Some of those writers, I’ve heard, have not been paid for their work. Please read the stories on Lakeside Circus, and follow those writers’ work if you enjoy it. Before you submit your own precious work to this market, however, take heed. I’m not the only one who’s had issues – if I were, I wouldn’t be writing this post.
13 May Update: Editor has written claiming: “All contributors for last year’s issues have been paid, and can absolutely email me if there’s been any mistake. I’ll fix it at once. For the current issue, we’re still within our connected time period to pay, though many of those authors have been paid.”
So folks, if you haven’t been paid, or there’s some issue with your contract, write to said editor. All the best!