Sunday, July 26, 2009

Highs...and Lows

The postman brought me two rejection letters yesterday. Both form rejections. After selling 'Flying High' to Cobblestone Press, I'm unsurprisingly disappointed.

And this after getting a personal email from the same editor for my first submission to her magazine. She rejected that one too, but the email told me exactly why and said that otherwise I was definitely in the right zone for tone, style and whatnot. So I had high hopes for these other two stories I'd sent her. Alas, my hopes have been dashed.

However, the Ancient Art of Rejectomancy requires me to frame these rejections in the best possible light. So, I'll point out that they consisted of a form with various checkboxes for the different reasons why a story might be rejected, ranging from writing in the wrong 'person' to the situations not being credible to a simple but crushing statement that the writing wasn't of sufficient quality (ouch, that one would hurt!), or simply being oversold in a particular category.

In my case, the reason checked was "other", with a handwritten sentence detailing what was lacking. So I now have three data points on what works in my writing and what doesn't--at least for that market. So this week I'll be working on a new story to send out to them. And, of course, looking for another market to send the rejected stories to (but, given the format and content--non-romantic erotica, i.e., porn, basically*) the number of markets is rather limited. These stories may end up in my 'dead story file' or trunk fairly soon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Which Our Heroine Takes The Plunge

As mentioned above below, I sold my first story recently. I've been writing since I was a kid, though for a long time I wrote fanfic and participating online "role playing games" that were really more like long, involved collaborative stories. I wasn't trying to get published, I was writing for my own amusement and the amusement of my friends and fellow fanfic readers and writers and fellow gamers.

Periodically I'd feel the urge to try to write for publication. Usually when I attended Orycon (the local SF convention, which is heavy on the literature, not so heavy on media stuff), where I saw and heard from and interacted with lots of writers and editors. Then I'd come home, get back to the grind and the urge would fade. I'd go back to writing fanfic or participating in RPGs.

But I found myself writing less fanfic, and even as the RPGs were drying up (online RPGs seldom last long--the most white-bearded game I ever participated in lasted a little over two years), I was writing more and more sidebar stories about my characters. I began to think that maybe I wanted to write something original for publication after all. Or again. Or something.

So I started writing stories and sending them out. About a month after I started seriously writing and submitting stories, I lost my job of fifteen years to the recession. I got a nice severance package, and my lovely and talented spouse continued to be gainfully employed, so we're not in financial trouble. But it left us with a choice, and after discussing it, we decided I'd spend the next six months to a year (depending on how long we can manage financially) with me working at writing as my job.

If I become the next Stephen King (or J. K. Rowling) that would great! If I become a moderately successful midlist author that would be good too. If I can earn at least as much from writing as I was getting as a wage slave at a nonprofit agency that would be acceptable. Failing that, I may eventually have to go back to work--though perhaps only part-time or as a temp.

So selling a story recently was a big thrill. With luck I'll sell more--and then more! Short stories aren't likely to feed the metaphorical bulldog, however. So I'm going to have to stretch myself and work toward writing longer stories, working up to novels eventually.

Wish me luck!

Victory is Mine!

I've been offered a contract to publish my short story "Flying High" by Cobbestone Press. Hurrah! I got an email two weeks ago saying that they were thinking about making the offer if the story was still available. It was, of course, as I don't do simultaneous submissions. But I emailed back that it was indeed still available.

I've spent the intervening two weeks axiously awaiting further developments. Said developments, uh, developed early this week when I received the contract by email. Go me! Now I just have to fill out the details, sign it and send it back. And fill out various other forms. Author bio, artists' information for the cover they'll produce, and so forth.

Needless to say, I'm very, very pleased!