So how do you break into the world of magazines when you have a hot little story written? Many of you know this market has shrunk alarmingly (apt adverb) in the past few years. However the good Brits and Aussies have maintained the fiction magazine. I'm not sure about the Americans, as mostly they only take subs from Americans, unlike the aforementioned, who accept subs globally. But like all submitting, you need buckets of patience...
You read a few more of their mags just to make sure. You pore over the guidelines again. Get that formatting just so. Oh, they prefer full text in email body! Nearly missed that!
Okay, let's check that story again! Yep, I can tweak it a bit more there. How I love to tweak! When is it enough already! Well, now I've got me a work of art. All polished.
Now, off to editor (better check it's still The Man. Yep. He's current. If he's turned into a she, she wouldn't like to be addressed as Mr I guess.)
Deep breath! Hmm. Re-check that email address yet again. Recheck the story-length info they request for the Subject line - my name, what I had for breakfast, what is my favourite coffee - whoops, just kidding, sorta.
Insert sweet yet succinct salutations. Crawl a little. Don't forget all the pesky details - again - word count, ABN number blah blah blah. Describe my Hemingway-esque piece to The Man. By now hands are shaking! I really want it! I want my story in this magazine! It's so right for it! Where will I go if they turn me down??? The Writers Marketplace? It's so big it hurts to hold it up!
Stop snivelling. Copy that polished prose from Word and drop it into your email body. Oh, it does look small! Better check it's all there. Yep, but it looks about font size 4.6. Oh, well, that must be what they want! Maybe I should make it bigger?
I've had enough! Just re-check it twenty times Denise and send the disgusting 1,000 words of tripe to the magazine. They'll hate it! Who'd want to read that! Delete! Don't send it!
Oh, who cares? Send the ridiculous-amount-of-work thing that translates to -2 cents an hour!
Your message has been sent!
Whoops! Did I mean to do that? No turning back now dearie! 'Tis in cyberspace! Forget it!!!!!!!
Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass.
I've made a special email account just for this sucker and all the other little suckers I'm going to send to this magazine. After my first success that is. The Man will be begging for more! Special email account? Yep. Which means I have to go in every day and check my mail. Sometimes two or three times when I'm especially anxious.
Check Mail. Eargh!
One New Message.
Hands trembling. Click. Admin rubbish. Grrrrr! Not The Man!
More months pass. Deathly silence. I get on with my writing life. Work on my myriad projects like blogging, tweeting, facebooking, linked-in...sometimes even my WIPs...and more short stories and non-fiction articles...
Hey, I've had enough! I'm going to query this guy. It's been nearly 5 months! I know they've had a few changes at the mag, but enough already! Egad! Maybe they've lost it! They hate it and forgot to tell me! The email failed!
Read some more articles on how long I should wait before making a nuisance of myself. I'm sick of checking emails every day. I'm sick of waiting. Bite the bullet!
Some articles tell me just to wait. The mountain will eventually come to Mohammed (oh, should I say that?)
Nah, I'm not going to wait any longer!
Check email. Sweat sweat.
One new message. Only two hours! What's happening? It can't be! That's right! We're in the same time zone. That makes a change...
Shaky hand, shaky head. This is it! He hates it! Prepare for rejection!
Dear Denise, sorry, sorry, sorry, should have let you know, it's these admin people you know, your story's up for 2011. Just has to pass the whole board (or whatever they call that group of editorial brains.) You'll hear soon. Sorry, sorry, sorry...
Woo hoo! I'm nearly there! He said he loved it. Will the whole editorial team share his view? Wait. Just wait. No problem, I've had plenty of practise...I can use the time to check out a few more mags...well, Stephen King says reading is as important as writing after all...
Open a writer facebook account using the same email. Avoidance issues a'plenty. Forget about the story. It's just a story! You've had others published. Why are you obsessing about this particular magazine? Send 'em somewhere else!
Sifting through the 160 notifications from facebook and networked blogs when kerbang! Right in the middle I see one from The Man! Goodness! I could have deleted it along with all that other stuff!
Reading with one eye open...I'm in! Woo hoo! Story will be published in 2011! It passed muster! The planets aligned!
Now, what was all that about? Well, if it's that hard to get one measly short story published how hard is it going to be to get a novel under contract?
But...not only did it ease my mind by sending my query off, now I have had a chance for The Man to get to know me a bit better and maybe he'll remember my name in a good way when I send my next 1,000+ words of fabulousness.
Which reminds me, NaNo'll be here before I know it, Christmas is coming, then it'll be New Year's! I'd better get back to writing my stories! Or editing my NaNo novels? Or blogging? What? What?
I need a break already!
I hope you enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek post. Do you have a similar or different story to tell?
Happy footnote. My story finally came out in print in this particular magazine a few months ago. Now I'm playing the waiting game again...