ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group post - Regular Submissions - Submit early and often.


Hi all!

How did it get to be the first Wednesday of the month again? Time for my IWSG post.

Today my post is about submitting. I, like many other writers/authors, determined to submit more this year. If you don't submit, you don't get accepted/rejected, but it is a safe way to stay in your writing rut. When I read how some writers submit every week, every month or whatever, I think, well, brave you. I made a resolution to submit every week this year, but of course that lasted one week! I submit regularly every fortnight to Romantic Friday Writers and that counts to me, as I get useful critiques which I use to take my 400-word story away and write it up to a little less than 1,000 words (the limit for flash fiction) then I submit the longer stories elsewhere.

Otherwise, I am submitting vignettes to Vine Leaves Literary Journal (see link in sidebar) (a little vignette made the first issue, but there's no guarantee Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius will like my current submission!) 

I also submit to Fast Fiction women's magazine in Australia. They pay well and accept a certain type of story, luckily of the kind I like to write. You can have up to 4 stories in their inbox at any one time, so I keep it pretty full.

There doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to examine all the outlets for my work (My Writer's Marketplace makes a handy doorstop) and some of you probably feel the same. But take heart, if one magazine rejects your story, there's no guarantee it won't be picked up somewhere else, so we do need to seek new markets.

I'll finish with an abbreviated Submissions Checklist for Short Stories from Writer's Digest's latest issue . Many of these points are relevant if you're submitting a novel or non-fiction...
  • Check the guidelines and adhere strictly to them.
  • Submit early if there's a reading period for submissions.Editors suffer from fatigue too.
  • Submit often - have your next story/ies ready when you submit your first.
  • Always submit simultaneously. It's not practical to do otherwise. It can take 6 months to hear from some magazines/journals.
  • Include a brief cover letter, listing any prior publications. (If you have some credits, this might scare the intern into reading your submission and passing it onto the senior editor.)
None of these things guarantee success. However, as a writer, all you have to do is persuade one editor at one magazine/journal to print your story. (And hopefully, someone will actually, eventually, pay you for your gems.)
  • What is your story? Are you submitting regularly this year? Share with us your highs and lows...
     





21 comments:

  1. I've submitted more often this year than I have in the past, but still not as regularly as I'd like. I tend to only write short stories when I need a break from my novels.

    Great advice.

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  2. I've been playing around with flash fiction and short stories lately, but I never actually thought about submitting them anywhere. I should look into this.

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  3. I have been submitting for a couple of months now, most have been rejected, from March submitting only once a month.
    Some rejection letters have been positive so far, with a better luck next time kind of wording.

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  4. Oh, this is close to home, Denise. I've been meaning to submit for months and months and still haven't bitten the bullet (because I keep finding excuses). But you're right. Submitting is key and it has to be done.

    Thanks for the checklist, it helps to keep everything straight.

    Jai

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  5. I probably should brush off some old short stories and start submitting them again. I've been so focused on the creating and editing stories that I haven't submitted anything really in the past few months. I used to submit things all the time. I need to get back to that.

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  6. Great advice, and the most important one is check the submission guidelines.

    Many publications won't accept simultaneous submissions and some specifically ask for no covering letter.

    Good luck with the submissions!

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  7. Go, Denise, Go!
    I'll admit I'm not submitting, but I have nothing ready and I'm hip-deep in a novel. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. ; )

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  8. Thanks for advice Denise.


    I need to start submitting. LOTS MORE. With final edits on BG almost done, I will be ready for a gale-force missile launch.

    It is in the hands of one agent now, but I would like it in about ten more... lol.

    Have a great week!

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  9. This was such a good post, I've bookmarked it. Thanks for such pithy information. Yes, I am trying to submit regularly. I'm entering contests, too, because if you even place with Honorable Mention, it's nice to mention in a cover letter. And of course prize money would be nice, too. :-) But I need to buckle down and submit even more regularly, make it a weekly habit. Or at least a bimonthly habit so that I have time to work on my revision of a current WIP. That is one of my goals this year.

    PS: Does the Fast Fiction magazine accept work from only Australian writers?

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  10. Good post! Submitting is that final letting go moment, when our precious work passes through heaven knows who's hands!

    I feel I'm ready now to submit a few things and am making sure I'm targeting the right markets....not procrastinating honest lol!

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  11. This is a great goal! I'm not really submitting anything... It really is scary!

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  12. Every week? Wow. Although I know writers who do that.
    Excellent checklist - will reTweet.
    And sorry, it's taken me all day to work through all the IWSG posts. I still have half the list to go...

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  13. Submitting is definitely one area in which I am seriously lacking. I haven't really submitted anything, ever, except for one sample that was requested, but that wasn't really ready at the time anyway!

    I always feel like I don't have anything "ready", even if I'll probably never be able to improve on some of the complete works I have. I've got a lot of short stories, but haven't submitted a single one.

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  14. I have been trying to write the story of my life for several years but I never find the time to keep at it. I thought once Nigel retired and we were both in France, I would manage to write and do all the arts and crafts that have been sitting in boxes. Ha, I must have been mad, having a man around 24/7 is very time consuming. Hopefully we will soon get things sorted and I will have time to myself once more!! Diane

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  15. Those are great tips! You can't get accepted if you don't put your work out there.

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  16. I used to submit a lot to various contests and such but I haven't this year. I've been so busy with my manuscripts that I haven't had the heart to start new stuff. I should get back to it though.

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  17. I've never ventured into the area of short stories although that is all I used to write.

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  18. Though I've been writing, I haven't queried in a while. I'm attending a conference in April, which I hope sheds light on my manuscript and query when I have my critiques.

    Good luck getting into issue 2 of Vine Leaves!

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  19. Eek! I'm out on queries right now... It's very nerve wracking...

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  20. I tried to submit weekly and then got ill and had to stop.
    I'm happier with my monthly goal.

    I like the sound of your outlets, though I'd like to get my WIP finished. A good source of competitions is Patsy's blog (I'll be linking to hers on my blog this Sunday)

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  21. I'm also trying to submit a lot more this year but not nearly as regularly as you. You go, girl! I hope I will get to see the number of my stories published growing in the months to come, but who knows. I might need to come back for more advise from such a pro.

    Good luck!
    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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