It's the second day of 2016 and already I have submitted four stories to various publishers new and old. I must be a glutton for punishment.
It's a funny thing about writing. I've been doing it for years and still I have no idea how things are going to end up, what stories publishers are going to like enough to pay me for, and after that whether anyone will enjoy reading them. It's difficult not to send a story out expecting it to be rejected. And yet, sometimes a tale seems to fit a theme or a particular zine like a puzzle piece, and I swear those ones have a death wish. They always get rejected. I've researched the market, read their publication, followed the guidelines to the last minute detail, and BAM, rejection.
Then I'll submit a story I like enough but am not in love with, on a whim, to a place I've hardly bothered to research as far as what they actually publish other than what's requested in the guidelines and I get the acceptance. Can you believe that? It goes against everything I've been told about submitting, but I swear doing it blindly has given just as many results as reading a publisher's entire catalog.
I have two stories in particular that are favorites, "Shiwanara" and "Dermousfusion," both of which have made impressive short lists and maybe piles, but neither of which have been accepted into publication. Both of these stories have gone through extensive rewrites over the years and the list of rejections attached to each one goes back to zines that are dead and all but forgotten, but I love them I continue to submit to the best markets out there. I just know they'll sell one of these days...right?
And then there are stories I thought had no chance, stories that were too weird, stories that, though I liked them, I thought might not have what it takes, and you know what? I've sold some of those ones on the first try. Cash in hand.
I'll never understand the biz, what makes certain stories sell and others flounder like beached whales washed with enough of my mind's tide to keep them alive, waiting for that surge to ebb them into the sea of publication. I'll continue to splash those old whales until the tsunami rolls in.
Happy New Year!