How Long Until Filled?

I’ve been trying to decide what to do about Until Filled anthologies, so I’m putting it out to the folks who read my Anthology Markets posts. At what point do you give up on an antho that doesn’t have a definite closing date, but is just open until it’s filled? To be clear, I’m talking about not sending them anything at all after they’ve been “until filled” for a certain length of time, rather than withdrawing a submission.

I have some Until Filled anthologies on the list that’ve been hanging for over a year. Past a certain point, it seems to me that sending them a story would be like tossing it into a black hole. The longer it stays open, the less likely they are to ever finally fill up and be published, or so it seems to me, particularly if it’s been a year or a year and a half or more. I’d think twice and maybe three times before sending a story to an Until Filled market that’d been hanging open for over a year, and the more writers who think the same way, the worse the situation is, so… is there any point to keeping them on the list? What do you all think?

I guess I’m trying to find out how many other writers do think the same way.

Does it make a difference if the editor has been posting updates or news about the antho more recently? How about if there’s nothing directly from the editor (on the anthology blog or web page or whatever) but if Duotrope shows that stories have been accepted more recently? How much more recently, in both cases? Less than a year? six months? three months? or…?

The listing is getting pretty long, and I’d like to be able to trim it, particularly if other writers consider these long-dormant anthologies deadwood, as I’m beginning to. If some significant number of people still find these listings useful, though, then I’ll keep them.



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Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.

12 thoughts on “How Long Until Filled?”

  1. I literally just found your blog today, so this is a very off-the-cuff suggestion, but would it be helpful/easier for you to create a post just for “Until Filled” calls, specifying that “this call has been out for X months” and then just link to it in your more regular updates, rather than putting the entire text of each in an update post?

    Or make a separate “this call has been out for X months” header in the update post?

  2. MSK — Humm, I like the separate header idea; that’s a definite possibility. Or just add the date, like “UNTIL FILLED Since Dec 2010” or something like that. [ponder]

    What do you think for yourself, though? Would you submit a story to an antho that’d been in Until Filled land for a year or more? I can certainly add the info to the listings, but if folks aren’t going to submit, there’s not much point. I’d love to collect some data on that.



  3. If it’s been open for a year or more and there have been no updates, no, I personally wouldn’t submit.

    If there’s been some sort of update – from the editor or from Duotrope – in the last three months, I probably would. More than three months, though, and I’d be hesitant.

  4. Agreed. I almost never submit to “Until Filled” anthologies. One, because I worry if they’ll ever be filled, and two, because I need a deadline to ever get anything done. 🙂

  5. I’m another that – oddly enough – found your website only today (in the wee hours of the morning, but still, certainly today xD).

    I like the idea that after a certain amount of time (3-6 months since the original opening date?) they be dropped down to a sub listing of something like, “Until Filled: Extended Listing” and only basic info is listed with a redirect to the site or contact email/address instead of a full listing of their info.

    As for whether or not I would submit to “Until Filled”, it depends on a combination of factors:

    – How eager I am to submit to the topic (not something you’d be able to guess for all your viewers)

    – How long it’s been open and unfilled (anything without a due date that’s been open for longer than about four months would worry me)

    – Whether the editor has been keeping visibly active on the project (yes = good sign)

    – Whether the anthology is advertised well (if it’s listed everywhere I go looking and still seems open, I’d worry that the editor was either not trustworthy or not active – because how could it sit for so long in so many places without having slots filled? – and if it’s listed only one place I check, what are the chances of it ever being filled?)

    – What the pay rate is (I’m never likely to work “for the love” unless it’s for a charity I believe in with an editor I trust to actually do the charity thing. And the closer to “for the love” it is, the less likely I am to submit anyway.)

    – The experience of the editor (if they seem to have experience in this, I’m a bit more likely to trust that they’ll pull things together eventually. If I happened to know their reputation and it was good, it would help.)

    I’m only getting started in this anthology business and little experience with the writing industry in a professional sense, so I can’t say that my thoughts are universal. ^^; Especially the last one, since I won’t know many names yet. ^^;

    Hope this helps. 🙂

  6. CR — so you’re even less tolerant than I am about “Until Filled” books hanging open for an extended time. Noted, and thanks. 🙂

    This list started out as something I kept for myself, on my computer, and I eventually thought, “Hey, I’ll bet other people would like to see it too.” It still largely reflects my own interests, which are similar to yours, pay-wise. I don’t list any market that doesn’t pay over a penny a word; that right there eliminates a lot. I made an exception once for an antho called Baconology, which was supposed to be horror stories about bacon; it sounded like too much fun to skip over, even though it was only a penny a word. 🙂 In general, though, I’m looking for markets above the bare minimum of semi-pro, with an exception similar to yours for charity projects that sound interesting and reliable, and that doesn’t come up very often.



  7. Ah well. ::laughs:: I may be rather new in publishing, but I’ve been kept waiting forever on projects of other sorts. If it goes on for too long, I lose interest and motivation. I’d want to feel free to shop my story elsewhere.

    Right now I’m in a situation where I have two anthologies that want similar stories. One of the two is an “Until Filled” and the other is due tomorrow. The story is going to the one due tomorrow and I’m considering a self-contained companion piece for the UF. But if I’d found the UF first and submitted to it already, I’d be in agony if I had very little time to write, polish, and send to the one with an actual deadline. And with the UF having uncertain status, who knows if they might close submissions to it tomorrow as well.

    I have another several anthologies bookmarked because they have themes that interest me and payment that I’m comfortable with. (To be specific: Six with due dates and two are UFs.) The ones with due dates I’m most likely going to prioritize, even though the companion piece I mentioned above is something that keeps running through my head wanting to be written down.

    So – yes! Sorry for the ramble (well, the pair of them). I don’t necessarily feel like I “have” to explain why my tolerance of them is lower, but merely give you more of an insight as to why. xD

  8. Oh, lordy yes, on being kept waiting. :/ I could’ve had a baby in the time it’s taken me to hear back from a few markets. [wry smile] One magazine took over a year. And every now and then one sees a listing on Duotrope with a max-time submission for a year and a half, or two years, or even longer. O_O They have more patience than I do, is all I can say. 🙂

    With your two similar anthos, I’d definitely sub to the one due tomorrow, then if it bounces there, you can still send it to the Until Filled one. Or if you sell it, awesome, but all else being equal, near deadlines get a sub before far deadlines, which are ahead of UFs. Of course, all else is rarely equal, so we juggle and flip coins and such.

    No, you definitely don’t have to explain everything, but I’m glad you decided to. I’m trying to figure out what readers think and how you all make submission decisions, and more data is always better. 🙂


  9. I must thank you for your listings. I’ve found some interesting possibilities listed here, and I’ve even submitted to some of them.

    Like you, I’m pretty dubious about “Until Filled” anthologies, and I always query them first just in case, to make sure they haven’t filled in the meantime. I actually sent off a submission to one recently, and I’m hoping it’s accepted and all they need to finally close. 🙂 Another, I’ve been eying since August or so, and wondering when/if they’ll ever close. But when things with actual deadlines show up, I’m much more likely to prioritize them.

    It all boils down to whether it’s a theme which inspires me, a publisher/venue I have faith in, a payment that seems reasonable under the circumstances, and the likelihood that the project will actually see the light of day. I know that’s all pretty subjective, but it’s how I roll. 🙂

    If they’ve been open for more than a year, that’s pretty worrisome, though. That would have to be my “hmmm” factor, since that’s a heck of a long time, even in the publishing industry.

  10. Thanks, Michael, and you’re very welcome; I’m glad the listings are useful for you.

    I agree that there’s something major about a year having gone by on an “Until Filled” market. [nod/sigh] If it were an editor I’d heard of — and heard good things of, obviously — then I might give them more slack, but most of the antho projects are by people who are unknown to me.

    At the same time, I submitted a story to an editor who’s very well known in the genre, and he stopped answering comments to his initial post six months ago, despite some of the later comments being of the, “Are you still here?” and “Sorry, I’m withdrawing my story because I sold it elsewhere,” type. Several months after he stopped answering comments, though, he did respond to my sub (a rejection, alas) so he is, or at least was, clearly working on it still. And you can keep an eye on Duotrope if you’re really interested and see when responses are going out, although I was doing that when my story was there and the gaps are very long. It’s good that he’s still working on the book, and because of who he is, I wouldn’t bet against it coming out at some point, but looking in from the outside I was definitely concerned for a while. And right now, if I’d never heard of him, I wouldn’t submit to him because of his track record with this project. Ignoring comments for months is a major red flag with me.

    So I agree that it depends. There are several variables, and you have to kind of juggle them in your head.

    Thanks for commenting — I appreciate everyone’s opinions and data. 🙂


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