Sunday, February 6, 2022

Submission Challenge, January 2022

There's a lot of work in a writing life that isn't exactly writing. There's networking and promotion, research and reading, thinking. But the worst part for me? Submitting my work. 

At this point, it's not really about fear of rejection any more for me. 

I've longed learned not to take that too personally. Whether or not a venue accepts my work is not solely about its quality. 

Sometimes, it's as mundane as length (longer or shorter than they have room for), or bad luck in subject matter (they just accepted another writer's work on a similar theme). Or maybe *that* editor doesn't like my story--it doesn't mean another editor won't like it, or even that the same editor won't accept a different story from me. 

So, no. I'm not angsty about the submission process. I just get frustrated by how much time it takes! 

There's research involved to find reputable places. There's tracking, to make sure you don't send the same place a story they've already rejected. There's formatting, to comply with various submission guidelines (blind submissions, preferred fonts and formatting, file type preferred, etc.). None of this brings joy to my heart, so it gets bumped down my to-do list by tasks I enjoy more, which is no way to build a catalogue of published work! 

Luckily, in 2019, I ran across Ray Daley and his Submission Challenge. The idea was that he'd provide a list of venues he had already vetted for speculative fiction submissions, and that those of us who decided to participate would send a piece of writing to one venue every day for the whole month. 

I really appreciated the feeling of support and camaraderie in that challenge and considered the event a great success when I participated back then. I ended up with two publications from that bout of submissions, and learned about some great magazines and publishers I hadn't yet heard about. 

I've tried to participate again a few times, but never quite had the time/energy/focus on the right timeing again until this year. 

So, end stats: 

  • 37 submissions in total (If the story had a quick rejection, I sent it right back out to a new venue)
  • 27 different stories
  • Revised/finished: 3 stories
  • 14 rejections
  • 2 acceptances!
  • Not bad, and there's still hope that some of these submissions will still lead to more acceptances yet. I'm especially pleased because one of those acceptances was for a piece that has been near and dear to me since I wrote it, but that I've had no luck placing for publication. My records (I use Duotrope to track) showed that this was the 11th time I'd submitted that story, so persistence paid off!

    I've set a goal of submitting my work 100 times this year, and I've made a good dent in that already, thanks to the challenge. Plus, participating in this challenge gave me a push to finish and revise a couple of stories that had languished in my hard drive for a while and get them out there. 

    I also wrote a new story for an anthology I heard about during the challenge. (They're not open for submissions yet, but when they open, I'll be ready!) 

    And bonus! It gave me meaningful work that will further my career while I work my way through the next novel. I LOVE writing short fiction because it gives me a chance to experiment at lower commitment on a smaller scale. It's playful for me in a way that novel writing isn't. 

    I look forward to sharing my stories with you when pub day comes! 


    1. That's great you have a goal for submitting. You're right that it's very time-consuming. Good luck with getting some positive results.

      1. Thanks! I'm amazed how much time in my writing life is devoted to things that aren't exactly "writing."