In 2003, Marvel Comics established an initiative called Tsunami Comics. They released a number of series all at once, including Mystique, Runaways, Inhumans, Emma Frost, and I’m probably forgetting a few. I remember complaining at the time that it was like they were throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what would stick. It was like they were setting up most of the line to fail by putting out so much all at once. (I should note, that of the series I read, I thoroughly enjoyed them all, particularly Brian K. Vaugn’s Mystique.)
Throw a bunch of stuff at the wall. See what sticks.
It doesn’t work with everything. It didn’t seem to work particularly well for Marvel; most of the series were canceled pretty quickly. I don’t do that with the food my Bride makes for me. I think I might get kicked out of the house. I don’t do that in my ministry. I think it might cause some problems.
But with my stories…
While I have written novels (none of them published), I’ve been concentrating on short stories for the last couple years. And the nice thing about short stories: You can pump out a bunch and get them submitted and move on to the next story quickly.
When I started concentrating more on my “fun writing” just over a year ago, I decided to attempt what I call the Ray Bradbury method: A short story a week. Write a rough draft Monday, maybe Monday and Tuesday, do serious revisions every day until Friday, submit it somewhere. Next week, repeat with a new story.
Unsurprisingly, not every story I write this way is a winner. And I haven’t been able to write a story a week consistently since my youngest daughter was born, though I’m starting to slip back into the pattern. But there’s a huge positive of this method: You get a good backlog of stories. When a story gets rejected, you set it aside, and watch for another change to submit it someplace else.
And what that means: right now I have eleven stories out for submission at various publications.
My goal is to always have at least ten stories out there, flitting about in various editor’s slush piles. The more stories I have out, and the more I work at the craft, the more likely more will be bought.
I’m throwing everything I can at the wall.
That doesn’t mean I’m submitting garbage. Much like what Marvel Comics did in 2003, I’m gathering up the best I have to offer and sending it out, all at once, to see what works. And when something comes back, I brush it off and send it out again.
I don’t think Ray Bradbury had to worry about many rejections once he had a name for himself. That allowed him to work hard every week and send stories out to various editors. I’m not there. Not yet. Maybe not ever. I don’t know.
But I’ll keep plugging away and submit some stories again.