Living the Fictional Dream

Erin M. Kinch’s musings upon the writing profession

Archive for the 'Publication' Category

This Puts It in Perspective…

I just read this post over at Jennifer Jackson’s agent blog.

The highlights: Out of over 6,000 queries last year, this literary agent requested a mere 26 partials and manuscripts, and out of that, she only took on TWO new clients.

Really gives a little context, huh? Even when I do get this novel of mine revised to perfection, it’s still a crap shoot. But, like I’ve always said, I would be writing anyway, so I might as well put it out there (when it’s ready of course). But, man…

I guess Han said it best: “Never tell me the odds.”

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The Apprentice

Well… I am blushing right now. I had my short story, “The Apprentice,” accepted at Residential Aliens a few months ago, but, somehow, in all the holiday and vacation madness, I missed the publication date (12/2/12). But, despite that, the issue of RA that the story was published in is still on the website, so you should head on over there and check it out!

“The Apprentice” is a prequel to a story that RA published a couple of years ago called, “The Sorcerer’s Wife.” TSW a story about the end of Brand’s life, and TA is a story about the beginning. Viola, the antagonist in TSW was such a vibrant character that she inspired me to write another story, this time from her point of view.

If I ever thought of a concept big enough, this would be a fun world to revist for a novel. TA goes a little more in detail about the Game, but there is still more to learn.

Anyway, I don’t want to say too much else or I’ll give away the story, but head on over to RA today to read “The Apprentice,” and if you haven’t read “The Sorcerer’s Wife,” you should check that one out, as well (in fact, I’d recommend reading that one first.

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Acceptance!

One of the four stories I sent out on submission last month was accepted. Woo-hoo! It’s been a while since I felt that feeling — since “The Vote” was accepted by Every Day Fiction back in 2010, I guess.

Anyway, I’m very excited. The story should be published by the end of the year. I will link it here when it’s live.

It’s a prequel to a story that I wrote a few years ago that I really liked. I enjoyed going back to those characters and that world, and I’m really excited that the story was so well recieved by the editor.

What a great way to start off the month of September! :-)

Here’s hoping that at least one of the other stories out there on submission has similar luck.

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It’s That Time of Year Again

I don’t know what it is about summer. Maybe it’s the hot weather keeping us inside? Or maybe it’s a more relaxed daily schedule (it’s amazing how many non-school-related activities take hiatus in the summer)? Or maybe it’s the annual work lull (plenty to do, but no pressing deadlines or overtime)? Whatever it is, the past two years, my only short story submissions were in the summer. Last year, I submitted a piece in July (it was eventually rejected). And this summer (earlier this week, in fact!), I actually submitted two pieces. We’ll hope they recieve more love than last year’s offering did.

As much as things are busy and crazy, I have not abandoned writing completely. Lately, I have been tinkering around with novels. For some reason, short fiction plot bunnies have not been nibbling on my brain as much as they once did. But, I found a few older pieces that I like and have had fun polishing them up the past few days. And it whets my appetite for more. It’s amazing how much better a story can look when you haven’t read over it in a couple of years. (Well… sometimes. Other times you cringe more than you did whe you actually wrote it!)

Of course, having submissions out there somewhere immediately brings on that impulse to check one’s writing email account multiple times a day. (I didn’t check it for, like, six months, and now I’m checking it daily.) Of course, I don’t anticipate a response to either submission for a while. Optimistically, we’re looking at late September/early October. Ah, the life of a writer…

In this fit of writing activity, over the weekend I even went through my story page and made sure all the links were up-to-date (several of the e-zines had closed their doors… boo!). So, now, if you click on one of the remaining links, you can be assured that you will at least get where you’re going. So, check it out, if you’ve a mind to.

Happy writing, everyone! (And, if you’re not a writer, happy reading!)

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RIP ATF

I was so sad to find out this week that A Thousand Faces, the quarterly journal of superhero fiction, has ceased publication. I’ve known other markets that folded in the past, including some that folded after printing my stories. Even one that folded when they wanted to publish one of my stories and had not done so yet (which sucked!). But this one hurts the worst. And I didn’t even have any stories out to them at the time.

I’m probably late to the game finding out that they ceased publication. I don’t know when they closed their doors. What with the toddlers running about, I’ve had next to no time lately for writing, much less checking out all my favorite short fiction markets. But I was feeling a need for some superhero fiction this other day, went to my bookmarks, and the link didn’t work.

My sadness is two-fold. First of all, I’m sad because I really loved the stories that Frank published. He focused on the man (or woman) behind the mask, and brought the heroes into the real world. And yet, the writing was always fast paced and packed a punch. Are there other places out there to find similar fiction (especially that I can read online for free)? Maybe there are. Despite both liking superhero fiction and writing it, I’ve never been much into comic books, so I’m not up on what’s current there. If you know of any good markets, hit the comments and give me a link!

The other reason I’m sad is that of the four superhero stories I’ve had published, ATF published three of them (EDF published the other, Frigid). My first ATF story (Zero to Clean in Ten Minutes or Less) was my second fiction acceptance ever. And one of the other two (Bridge Club) is one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever written. And the third (Dinner for Three) was just good fun. I actually had a couple more superhero story drafts set in that universe that I thought I might get polished up enough to send over there sometime soon (Supersonic and his wife have a baby, and a superhero’s wife wants a divorce). Sadly, that’s not going to happen now. Not that I can’t submit them elsewhere, but ATF was, thus far, the home base for my superhero ‘verse.

Short fiction markets come, and short fiction markets go, but I have to say, A Thousand Faces, you will be missed! (But, I did notice that you can still get print issues of the old issues here. So, that’s something. :-) ).

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The End of My Streak

Every Day Fiction just published its August table of contents, and I’m not on it. How is that different from the last 12 EDF TOCs, you might ask? Well, it’s not different. However, August is EDF’s last TOC of the year. The fact that I have not been on any of their TOCs since July 2010 is not particularly remarkable in most respects. The past couple of years, I haven’t been able to devote the same amount of time and effort to my writing as I did from 2007 and 2008. Two pregnancies, working full time, and being a mom to two under two saw to that. It’s hard to find time and energy to write when you’re suffering from lack of sleep, lack of spare time, and feeling like you’re going to toss your cookies for the better part of two years.

But, despite everything that was going on, I did have one story published in EDF in 2009, and, to my surprise, it was selected for EDF’s third anthology. I’d had a story in their first anthology, and four stories in their second anthology. But, this year, since I didn’t have a story published, I don’t even have a chance of making the fourth anthology. So, the streak is broken.

I did actually manage to submit a story to EDF a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure if it was in time. Apparently not, as it’s still classified as in process in the submission queue.

Anyway, I know it’s my fault that the streak is broken, but it still makes me a little sad. But, hey, the girls are getting older now. I’m moving from having two under two to having two toddlers. Maybe that will be easier? Um… one can hope, though the increased mobility makes things challenging in different ways. So, maybe next year, I’ll be able to write more and get some more stories out there on submission, to EDF and other places. The girls are starting to enjoy Sesame Street, maybe that will give me a few minutes in front of the laptop to write.

Is it possible to write with the theme song to “Elmo’s World” playing in the background? I guess we’ll see!

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Short List

Remember the queryI mentioned to y’all a while back? Short story shorter, I had a story that looked like it would fit an anthology, but it was a reprint and they only wanted new material. I queried, and they invited me to submit it. A couple of days ago, I got an email from the publisher that my story is on the short list for consideration of being included in the anthology.

That doesn’t mean acceptance is guaranteed or anything, but the moral of this story continues to be — it never hurts to query. The worst they can say is no, and you might end up with good results you never truly expected!

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You Never Know…

A few weeks ago, I came across an anthology listing for which one of my stories was perfect (the concept was fairly unique). The only catch — apparently they did not take reprints. Though, the guidelines were a little confusing — nothing about reprints either way was listed on the page for that anthology, but on a different page all together. So, I decided to query, just in case.

Later that same day, I got a reply that said they did not accept reprints. A bummer, sure, but understandable. Then, a few weeks later, I got another message inviting me to send my story in for consideration!

I still don’t know if they will like my story, but they obviously decided they liked the sentence description of it in my query enough to look at it. That’s something!

The lesson I learned — if in doubt, go ahead and query. The worst they can say is no, and you never know if something good will come out of it.

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My Take…

There has been a lot of talking in the writers’ corner of the blog-o-sphere lately about professional markets, professional rates, and whether it’s worth it for a writer to send his or her stories out to lower paying markets.

Some editors have said it’s not worth it to target for-the-love markets just to get a credit in your cover letter, because no credits are better than meaningless credits.

Personally, I’m not so sure about that. Time and time again, I’ve seen writers that I know get that first credit and, after that, the acceptances start flying in (at least in comparison to before that first credit).

It happened to me that way, too. I spent 10 months submitting story after story, all of which were flat out rejected. Finally, in November of 2007, my story was accepted into Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic.

Then, after I started sending out stories with that forthcoming publication in my cover letter, I got several more stories accepted in quick succession (A Thousand Faces and Every Day Fiction were the next two acceptances, though it took longer for my stories to appear in some markets than others.)

Maybe it is not the credit, but some kind of critical mass. Maybe the reason the first acceptance comes is because the writer has finally reached a publishable point in their growth as a writer. I wouldn’t disbelieve that notion.

Then again, maybe there is something about that first credit that marks you as serious about the work, even if it is just in an editor’s subconscious. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two.

Either way, I know that I’m happy to have credits with smaller ‘zines on my cover letter, and I think that I’ve learned a lot from the markets I’ve been published in. I’ve learned about relating to editors, editing my work, proofs, and standing up for my story when there are technical difficulties. In addition to all that, I’ve gotten to see my stories in print (both electronic and hard copy), and I’ve made writer friends who have taught me a lot in their own ways.

Over all, I’m happy. Sure, larger paychecks would be nice, but I never believed I would earn money doing this, so I’ve never been overly concerned about that.

The key, I think, to keep moving forward with your writing career is not to stay on the lower levels for too long. I do think you hit what you aim for, and the better paying markets are the ones with the most readers and the ones with the most prestige (which, to me, are more important than money). If you never aim for those markets, you can never be published there.

To quote one of my favorite movies, “Your odds go up when you file an application.”

As soon as I had a few small credits under my belt, I started targeting the larger professional markets with my stories. I still haven’t cracked one, but I continue to hope. And my rejections for some of them (as I mentioned in a previous entry) have gotten a little more personal, so I think I’m making progress.

If I were giving advice to a new writer starting out, I would say aim as high as you want. But, if the pro markets reject you at first, target some of the smaller ones until you get that first credit or two. Learn how things work. Earn a publishing credit or two. But never stop aiming high. If you only tarket token and for-the-love markets, that’s the only place you’ll ever be published. If you aim higher and you work on honing your craft, I think you have as good a shot as anyone else at getting there.

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Breaking into the Professional Markets

My writing group had its annual planning meeting earlier this week. This meeting is when we select what projects and activities we want to pursue during the year ahead. Most of the time, it’s the usual stuff — crits, meetings, write-ins, the prompts contest… This year, we decided to add something new to the mix.

In lieu of our usual themed short story collection challenge (which was cancelled for lack of participation this year), we are going to try to work on writing stories for and submitting stories to the professional markets.

I’m really excited about the idea. I’ve been sending stories to some of the professional markets for a while now. I got a couple of personal rejections with compliments of my writing style from one market in that category (well, it’s a pro market if your story is under a certain word count… so it’s not one of the big three or anything), which was thrilling to me, but all the others have been the typical form rejections. It would be awesome if I could finally break into one of the bigger markets.

Not that I don’t love all of the smaller ‘zines that I’ve been a part of. I love each and every one of them. I’m grateful that they published my stories, and I’m happy to have been a part of them. The ones that have print versions, too, are in a special place on my bookshelf.

But, wouldn’t it be awesome to get both the larger paycheck and the larger readership that comes along with publishing in a professional market?

I hope that I have enough time to devote to this project over the next year, because, if it succeeds, I think it would take this hobby of mine to the next level. I wonder if Daddy will be willing to take on baby duty a little more often so I have time to write between coming home from work and bedtime…

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