Woo! I’m an author!
Like, look at my Published Works page. I have allthestories there! So far ten published works, and more on the way! My first novel is at an editor to make the whole thing better, and then it’s off to a publisher – doesn’t mean the publisher’s going to, you know, publish it, but they’re willing to take a look, and that’s a good sign.
So, that means I’ve made it, right? Now I can just write and concentrate on crafting good stories.
Yeah. Not so much.
So, first off, ten publishing credits really ain’t much. Yeah, it’s better than nothing, and it really is. I am published, and that’s awesome. Publishers have looked at my stories and considered them worthy of paying for! I have an “ego shelf” where I put my published works. I gotta say, it’s pretty awesome looking at that shelf, gazing upon its beauty. Look upon my works, ye mighty, and tremble!
Sorry. Sometimes the ego shelf does things to my ego.
Where were we? Oh, yeah.
So, sure, I’ve got some publishing credits, and there’s more stories upcoming (I’ll announce when I’m able to). But I still get a lot of rejections.
So, I have a file. It’s not the most-organized of files, but I open it pretty often. It’s entitled, “Submissions by Day.” The file is currently 41 pages long. It’s simply filled with entries.
It’s organized thus: Date, title of story, version of story, name of publication it was sent to, address it was sent to, expected time before publisher gets back to me, and any responses I’ve gotten so far. Most entries, even after responses are added, are usually four to six lines long. At the very end of the file, I’ve got a list of the stories that are “out” and another list of stories that are available to be sent out.
So the entries might look like this:
April 11, 2020. “The Story that I Didn’t Have to Work On that will Make Me Rich” v.3.06, to “We Publish Jon’s Stories Magazine Monthly.” www.404notfound.com/notarealmagazine. Expect response in 60 to 90 days.
(I have a numbering convention that helps me keep my revisions in order; at some point I may write about that filing system. I figure I won’t bore you with it today.)
Anyway, apparently the magazine “We Publish Jon’s Stories Magazine Monthly” isn’t interested in my offering, so they send me a form rejection. Pretty common. So I add “June 24, 2020: Form Rejection.” And I look for a different place to send my story.
And I have 41 pages of entries like that.
Now, think about that. Think about how many rejections that adds up to.
That doesn’t mean the stories are bad. It doesn’t mean I haven’t done my work. It means that the editor is looking for something specific, and the story doesn’t match that. Or they got 300 stories on a call for 10, and only the best will do – and mine isn’t in that top 10. So, I get a rejection.
Next step? I clean the story up and send it out again as soon as I find a market where I think the story has a chance.
It’s helpful for me, at least, that at any given time I’ve got at least 10 stories out. So any time I get a rejection, I still have hope for nine others. (Or more – at the moment, according to my file, I have 14 stories out on submission.) That keeps my spirits up. Of course, getting another story accepted always helps, too!
But I find it absolutely necessary to have that filing system. Did I already send that story to that magazine? Or do I already have something at that magazine right now? When did they publish that story, and how long do I need to wait before sending in another?
If you’re trying to get stories published, I highly recommend you get a system set up like this to keep yourself organized. And keep writing. Once you send a story out, don’t wait for it to come back one way or another. Write. Get another story out. The more stories you have out there, the better chances you have of finding an editor who likes your work.
I haven’t “made it” yet, and that’s ok. I’ve got a lot of stories out there, and I’m still writing.
You keep writing, too!