Okay, I finally think that I have a system together to deal with submissions effectively. It has taken me close to a year and half to develop this system so that it is effective (for me, at least), but I have refined and refined it over the past year and a half so that now I spend less time stressing over rejections and more time getting the work out and into the hands of markets. I try my best to ascertain whether my story is appropriate for the market based on their guidelines and the stories that are on their websites/in the journals and/or magazines, but at the end of the day it is still a crapshoot as my taste in fiction apparently runs counter to “modern” (I would say, more nihilistic) sensibilities. As a LibraryDella, a reader of this blog and librarian who has read my work, would tell you, some of my stories don’t end happily. But, for the most part they do–LibraryDella just happened to read and respond to the batch that didn’t (sorry about that , LibraryDella! :)). Anyway, today I wanted to talk about a little bit more about submissions to markets and my submission process.
Trailblazing New Markets
So, I use Duotrope to find new markets and to track the temporary opening and closing of submission periods throughout short fiction market (and novels once I start writing & submitting them). Duotrope charges a yearly subscription, but I find that their service allows me to better track other submission opportunities (like anthologies, for instance) to help me publish more widely. Their are other places to find markets–The Submissions Grinder–comes quickly to mind that are free, so please don’t feel that this post is an advertisement for Duotrope. I just happen to like Duotrope’s layout, tracking services, etc., and it works best for my workflow. I use Duotrope’s weekly newsletters to find out about new markets and opportunities for my stories. From there, I try to figure out which markets my stories would be best suited to which markets and then submit.
Currently, thanks to my Acceptances earlier this year and late last year, my Acceptance ratio is 8.88% (and Duotrope notes that this is above average). I’m not bragging–I just want to point out how hard it is to write professionally and creatively. A major league baseball player is considered successful hitting at .250-.350 range. A creative writer, it seems, is “successful” at a much smaller range (just below 10%) according to Duotrope, at least. So that’s on average, 1 in every 10 submissions, or in my case (approximately, 8 Acceptances out of every 100) as for me, my Acceptances tend to come in bunches–nothing for a long time (two or three years) and then 2 or 3 Acceptances in a fairly short order.
The key is persistence. I’ve come close a couple of times this year (2 stories short-listed, i.e., made it to the second-round of reviews), but they just didn’t make it for publication. I will continue to submit them until they do. I’d hoped that they would have both found homes in their respective markets, but they only thing that I can do is continue to try and submit the stories that are finished, write news stories to start the submission process all over again, and brainstorm new stories. I just need to keep working and submitting.