Getting back on the horse
It sucks to get a rejection. It’s part of a writer’s life, but not one of the nice parts. It sucks more when that rejection is a slip of uninformative paper or part of a mass email. Even the personalized ones can suck when they say you missed it by [ ] that much. So what do you do when the rejection comes in? Put the story out to another market.
At least that’s the idea. Keep it circulating until it finds the right editor on the right day who ate the right breakfast and blinks at the right times so he/she doesn’t miss the brilliance of your story. If it sits in a drawer or on a hard drive, no one can discover that brilliance. Sadly, I have done a poor job of doing this very simple necessity.
I only have about six finished and unsold short stories in my portfolio at the moment. (There are others I keep chained to a radiator in the basement, but they will never again see the light of day.) Just six to keep up with. When I left for WotF two weeks ago, only two of those stories were out to markets. Sad. Pitiful. Inexcusable. Inconceivable! (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)
So that is remedied now. Yesterday I reported sending a story to Lightspeed. Today I hit the post office’s automated shipping center (R2D2’s ancestor) and got a couple snail packages out to two of the baddest slush piles on the block: F&SF and Analog. The story I sent to F&SF (TRM…for those who don’t know, I use initials instead of story titles after a mild disqualification scare with my WotF winner, though now I doubt leaking titles will injure me) needed some brushing up. I managed to fix two major dangling plot issues with one tidy knot before stuffing it in a big manila and sending it to Gordon to reject. The Analog candidate (TOL) was the one Andromeda Spaceways held for so long and had very nice comments from one editor, so I sent it out as-is despite some dislike of the ending. I like the ending in a minimalistic way, but I’d be happy to entertain a rewrite request. I also sent a story (GB) to Clarkesword, rounding out my six stories in circulation; not sure how realistic that fit was, but we’ll see.
I’m hoping this offering appeases the karma gods of rejection enough to let me hear from those two older subs. 64 days from Asimov’s seems a long time, but they’ve surely increased their volume a lot since opening to electronic subs (which mine was). Anyway, I need to write to keep my mind off of it. Watched pots and all…
Before I close, I’ll analyze my procrastination. TRM needed work and I knew it, so maybe that’s why I didn’t send it out. TOL was a bit of a heartbreak, having been on hold, and maybe that’s why, but that’s a rotten excuse. Gee, this story came so close to selling that I’m not sending it out where it could actually sell. I am aiming higher on the totem pole now that it’s back out, so maybe that intimidated me. A good reason to always start at the top and work down. GB was a hard fit anywhere, so maybe I just didn’t want to take a chance. Another really dumb excuse, though it works equally well for TWHDotGMP. Bottom line is that I know better than to sit on manuscripts; I know I have pro level talent; I know all six of these stories are good in different ways. I’m bad for letting BS (that’s not a story title, it stands for…what it usually stands for) get in the way of my career. I’m fighting against that now. I want to be a professional writer, and to be honest it’s been very hard going back to school after spending a week in LA pretending I’d already made it. It’s going to take some lifestyle changes, but I will become a successful SF writer. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go type.