September 19, 2012

Guest Posts x2

Yesterday, I joined Matt Mikalatos' week-long celebration of Tolkien with a post called All the Villains Gets a Second Chance.

And I'm up today on Gem State Writers, with some nostalgia about the first time I met and connected with other writers (click here).  I guess this technically isn't a guest post as I'm now a once-a-month regular, but "Guest Post and Another Post that Isn't Quite That" seemed an unwieldy title.

September 12, 2012

Potpourri, for 200

It seems like a lot of things have been happening, so here's a mash of news and updates:

1. I announced this on Twitter, but I'm now represented by the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency.  Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

2. My short story, "Under Warranty," will appear in the upcoming Curcurbital 3 (press release here).  All the stories in this anthology use the same prompts -- madness, darkness, and mattress.  I decided to "write what you know," so my story features baby poop.  Enjoy!

3. The bloggers at Gem State Writers generously invited me to join their ranks, so I'll be posting there once a month.  I'll link to those posts from here.

4. My camera is a zombie.  It died, the internet reccomended banging it on a surface, and now it kind of shambles along.  This is why there's been a dearth of fiction-recipes of late.  Hopefully I can remedy this soon.

5. Likewise, I haven't had the chance to play many new board games recently, and thus have had few boardgames to blog about, but that's gradually changing.

6. And so long as I'm listing things -- I finished a draft of a new book!  My first drafts are usually a mess of notes and holes, but this one's readable enough for my writing group to chop up.

September 4, 2012

Short Story Primer, Part 4: Submit the Story

This post is part of a series:

1. Write and polish a short story.
2. Research the short story market.
3.Make a list of appropriate markets, and begin a submissions record.
4. Submit the story to the first market on the list, and keep submitting.

Here's the most important thing: read the submission guidelines.  If anything I say here contradicts the submission guidelines, follow the submission guidelines.

Submitting manuscripts is easier than it's ever been, thanks to electronic submissions.  There's no rush to the post office, no SASE...just a few clicks of a button.  Some magazines have an online form to fill out, but if they ask for an e-mail, here's roughly what it should look like:

SUBJECT: Submission: Story Title

Dear Editors,

I've attached "Story Title," a 3,000 word science fiction story.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

My Name

If you have any fiction sales, you should include that ("My fiction has appeared in X, Y, Z").  Most magazines ask for attachments as a .doc or .rtf, with the story in manuscript format or some stated variant of manuscript format.

After submitting the manuscript, I highly recommend trying to forget about it.  Write something new.  Keep going.  When the response comes, you can either cheer or submit it to the next market on your list. Why submit it again, someplace new?

Editors have different tastes and different needs.  Once upon a time when I was reading slush, we got two zombie stories at the same time.  We published one.  We didn't take the other, because we already had something similar -- not because it was a bad story.  There may come a point to stop and edit the story again (which would be an entirely different post), but rejection letters are normal.  They are common.  And they never seem so bad, when there's another market to submit to.