Today’s half-baked idea: Submitbot
Another in a series of ideas I've had while half-awake:
As more publishing venues turn toward online submissions, it may become possible for an author to automate their submission process.
Call the software submitbot. In the most automated case, you (the story author) point submitbot at a directory containing word-processor files, and it submits each of them for you. When it detects a rejection letter in your email, it picks another venue for that story and submits it again.
Less-automated (and more plausible) versions would require more input from the story author. For example, each story could be tagged with a genre. (I was going to say "and a wordcount," but really, submitbot ought to be able to count words.) And the story author could provide a list of venues in order of preference. And probably detecting rejection letters in email is unrealistic without a lot of help from the story author.
And there's all sorts of potential for bugs that could harm the story author's reputation, and I imagine most authors don't want to just go away and not think about their stories anyway. (The impetus for this was thinking about the stress writers go through while waiting for responses, but I can imagine this system making that stress worse rather than better.)
Also, there are not very many venues that take electronic submissions at this point. (But I imagine that number will grow over time.) And those that do aren't very standardized in their approaches. So in the end, it might be more work for an author to run submitbot than just to manage their subs the old-fashioned way.
Still, I thought it was a fun idea.
. . . I Googled for [submitbot] to see if anyone else had come up with that name; turns out that it's the name of at least one spamming-software package. (Used, presumably, for submitting comment spam to web forums and blogs and such.) So maybe it's not the best name for the tool I'm describing. On the other hand, the one I'm describing is imaginary, so that probably doesn't really matter.