Quick Note to All Prism & Pen Writers: Please Be Patient?

Pride Month has slammed us (yay!) with excellent submissions, but …

James Finn
Prism & Pen
6 min readJun 12, 2024

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Hey P&P, writers! Sorry to interrupt your day, but I’ll be brief. I want to get a quick word out to everyone that Pride Month this year has left us with some “good trouble.” Our submissions queue is packed with excellent drafts — way more packed than we’re used to!

Pride Month has always been super busy for our dedicated volunteer editors, but this year is especially … fierce and fabulous … to focus on the most positive perspective possible.

The long and short is that we’re taking two to three days more than usual to get your stories published. We’re sorry about that, and we’re certainly not asking you not to submit. We WILL get to you soon.

You can stop reading now if you like, because that’s mainly what I’m writing to share.

But if you’d like, here are a few further thoughts on why we’re slow-ish now— if you’re curious or if you’d like to help us brainstorm. Please feel free to comment. We’ll listen.

Why are we backed up?

  1. We decided a long time ago to publish no more than four stories per day. That number is arbitrary (it used to be three) but we believe some ceiling is necessary, because we don’t want YOU competing with each other for readership share. We also want to be able to share and promote your stories meaningfully, and it seems like publishing more than four stories per day would make that practically challenging.
  2. Good editing takes time and person power. Three of us (myself, Kaylin Hamilton, and Tucker Lieberman) edit most stories. Jonny Masters also helps. This might seem like a fairly large staff, but as volunteers, we don’t have all the time in the world.
  3. We are committed to adding value to your efforts. “Amplifying Queer Voices” isn’t an empty slogan. We edit for TONS of things you might not think about, but that can make all the difference helping you find readers. Does your title engage interest? Are you using good tagging? Are your photos and illustrations effective and legally okay to use? Are you inadvertently writing in a way that disqualifies your story from Boosting?
  4. We’re committed to quality. All the above happens BEFORE we do mundane things like fact checking and proofreading, which amount to boring detail work, but which are nonetheless important quality markers. Many of our writers are inexperienced (or at least start out that way!) but have important things to say. Our boring detail work can make all the difference getting them heard. On top of that, we often provide suggestions to help make your story better in a more conceptual sense. Is it well presented and framed? Is it clear and compelling? Those are also quality markers!

Will things get back to normal?

I presume our backlog will clear before too long. All I can say is, June always presents us with a surge of submissions, and I think our current surge will slow as Pride Month draws to a close. Historically, that’s what happens. On the other hand, this year’s surge is unprecedented, and I’m no fortune teller. We shall see what we shall see.

What should you do now?

Keep writing the best stories you can write. Keep submitting! And check your private notes as frequently as is practical. If we edit your story and ask you to get back to us, and then you don’t for a couple days … well, that just delays things further. If you’re too busy, that’s perfectly understandable, but if you haven’t been checking your draft notes, that’s one positive step you can take to speed things up.

Prism & Pen stories are being read now more than ever

I want to end on a positive note. Lots of our writers are getting very significant readership these days. Our numbers are through the roof. We can’t promise YOUR story will take off, of course, but we’ll do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, thanks for submitting, and we’ll get to y’all “real soon now.” Hear? 😉

(If you have good ideas for how to turn “soon” into “sooner,” give us a shout in the comments!)

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James Finn
Prism & Pen

James Finn is an LGBTQ columnist, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.