I made a really n00b mistake when I first began submitting to journals last summer. I didn’t let my pieces rest for a while to go back to later–to make sure they were the best they could be. I got too excited and sent stuff out. I thought this piece was ready, but I was wrong. My first acceptance was “Blackberries,” in August, but I had already reworked it when I got the happy email.
I was thrilled but also not sure what to do; when I went to the journal’s guidelines, it clearly stated they want final versions only and couldn’t accept any changes after acceptance. I asked advice from someone I respect, who was teaching an online workshop I was taking.
She said I had to decide what was most important- the publication or living with sending something out into the world that wasn’t ready. She said although this was the first, there’d be other publications for me. I believed her, and sent a humble email to the editor with the new version. I asked them to take a look and consider using it, claiming ignorance and inexperience, and assuring them that the new piece was better and they’d be happy to have it instead of the first version.
But I chickened out when the editor responded with a firm no (without reading it, because of the guidelines), and sent along, at the same time, the proofs of the first version for me to accept. I don’t like confrontation. I decided to let it be and send it out later to be reprinted.
It’s out now, for real. I feel relieved.