I currently have a grand total of two stories out on submission. It was only a few months ago that my submissions numbered 11, a high-water mark reflecting the dual realities that (a) I had more saleable fiction to offer than ever before, and (b) there were more fiction markets out there. Alas, no matter how large a number (b) is, the agreement on (a) seems limited. And now (b) has shrunk because trying to draw water over and over from the same well with the same leaky bucket is no good (and ticks off the well’s editor).
I tried to stave off the inevitable by pushing stories on reprint markets. This had some success, making the paucity of available stories a good thing. I even tried subbing to markets where I knew I stood little chance of success, just to generate something in my in-box, even if it was a quick and impersonal rejection. (This is not to say that I subbed to inappropriate markets. I wouldn’t send a novelette about a crime-solving 26th-century billionaire playboy to a magazine that only takes alternate history shorts set prior to the 20th century–although I do have such a story if anyone is interested.)
Why would you send out stories only to be rejected? you ask, and well you might. The thing is, writing is a lonely business (surprise!) and any human contact is welcome, although some forms are more welcome than others. And I see my friends on writing boards reporting their successes/failures, making me wish I had more to contribute, to get in on the conversation. So, yes, I’m just pathetic. But if you can’t live with that fact, you shouldn’t be a writer. Get into a business with a higher success rate, like acting or lottery player.
The bright side (read: excuse) is that my lack of submissible stories is largely due to the fact that I have been concentrating on a novel for the past year. (The downside of that is that it was supposed to be done by now, but life gets in the way.) And there are new markets appearing pretty often these days, so things won’t always be so bleak. Not to mention that I now have three novels and a non-fiction booklet out there in e-book form; their continuing struggle to be noticed gives me another outlet for manic number-checking.
And yes, there’s this right here. My blog allows me take a break from paying work and just publish a little bit of what I want, unfettered by worries about sales or pleasing an editor. In the end, I guess we all just want to be heard. And that’s all I have to say today.
Unless I go out on Twitter…