How did everyone do in September? For me, writing was successful in terms of current short term goals (long term questionable), work on a side business has been extremely slow, teaching jobs have gradually picked back up though with some losses (suggesting a light at the end of the financial trouble tunnel, depending on how covid-19 proceeds in future weeks), and my kids seem to be doing well enough for the moment.
In September, I wrapped up revisions to my story that started as a 250-word KYD story, expanded out to about 13,000 words, and submitted it to the Writers of the Future contest, quarter 4 deadline, with about a half day to spare. Early by my standards. I had planned for a 5000-7000 word story, but after drafting, the story clearly needed the space for world-building and thematic development. I ran it by several readers and integrated their feedback into drafts while sticking to the essential core. While feedback is definitely essential for a quality story, I’ve definitely found I need to be careful not to lose the core story to conflicting feedback. I listen to all of it, but disregard what I feel destroys my vision. If multiple people say the same thing then I’ll be more likely to pay attention, but even then I’m careful about letting that mess with the original vision too much. It’s a difficult balance. Sometimes feedback will seem completely off target but still worth testing out as you can be surprised at what you find.
I finished the story and submitted while staying at a mountainside school for a 3-day elementary school program. I stayed overnight at a hotel the first night then at the school’s guest room for two nights. After submitting the story, I had time on the next afternoon to hike around the wilderness with one of the other teachers, a UK/German guy. We didn’t make it to the mountain itself, but we did find a surprisingly diverse landscape. From trails through bamboo that actually formed a tunnel in a few areas, down makeshift steps into the moist loam of a pine forest alongside a stream bed, up into a small tree fort overlooking a soccer field and lodge where the students had photos and lunch the first day, into trails leading to overgrown campsites, up alongside a new growth of dark pine tree groves, and eventually into fields of tall bamboo and grass and red berries. Later on we found another grove of trees along a stream with a bridge crossing. The UK guy said the pine groves reminded him of Germany. I agreed. They looked like this fairytalesque area I bicycled through from Netherlands across the border of Germany.
The hike reminded me of all the travel poetry I lost to a broken hard drive, written some eighteen years ago. I still draw on those poems at times, though my head is much more in the fiction writing game than the poetry one these days.
Anyway, enough of that...I just hit 100 hundred submissions for 2020. I stayed up late and sent out a few more stories and poems. So yay! I did it. Goal almost met. I imagine I'll hit 100 rejections by November. Doesn't mean I'll let up though...Still need to get at least one of these published at a decent rate in a good publication.
What's next? Not sure. I'll keep submitting regularly, but I want to do another revision of my novel, as I'm sure I can make it better after the past year of writing. I've improved a lot, at least so I like to believe. I need to make a post about that on the Writers of the Future forum to meet some of the last homework for the Wolf Pack over there. Was very motivating to join Wolf Moon's challenge, and to have formed a writing group as a result will surely motivate onward into the future.
Current Stats on 100 Rejections Goal
Rejections: 74 (46 short, 26 flash, 2 poems)
Pending: 26 (15 short, 8 flash, 2 poems, 1 novel grant app)
Total 2020 Submissions: 100 (to publications paying 5¢/word or more)
10/7, Fantasy Magazine, ~7500 words, 8¢/word, Genre: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy, Poetry ($40/poem, send up to 6)
10/11 Dream Foundry Contest, Words ~10,000, prize (1st $1000, 2nd $500, 3rd $200), Note: contest for new writers (have published 4000 words or less, earned $320 or less from those words and never been nominated for a major award), Note: winners are not published but do receive critiques along with the financial reward
10/19, Flame Tree Flash Fiction Contest, ~1000 words, 8¢/word, Genre/Theme #1: Horror/Vampires, Genre/Theme #2: SF/Solar Flares, Note: sign up for their newsletter to get notified of these every month and read the past winners
10/31, UnMasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation (WordFire Press), ~5000 words, 6¢/word, Genre: SF/F/H/alien/magical/witchcraft/AI/romance, Theme: unmasking must be central to story, PG-13 audience, Edited by Kevin J. Anderson
10/31, Chiral Mad 5, ~5000 words (poetry: ~50 lines, up to 5 poems), 6¢/word (poems:$1/line) Theme: The End Is The Beginning / The Beginning Is The End, Note: for underrepresented demographic only, "If you are not part of an underrepresented demographic (POC, LGBTQIA+, female), please do not submit at this time, but feel free to send recommendations", Note: proceeds go to BLM
8/7-10/31, Cemetery Media Gates: Flash Horror Anthology "Campfire Macabre", 500-1000 words (submit 1 story per theme, up to 5 stories), 8¢/word, Genre: Horror, Theme: Cemetery Chillers, Spook Houses, Supernatural Slashers, Witchcraft, Within the Woods
11/1, Dark Matter Magazine (Halloween Issue and General Issue), 1000-5000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: various SF (including Afrofuturism, Alternate Universe, Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk, Dark Humor or Satire, Dying Earth, Dystopia, Hard Boiled, Hard SF, Near Future, Pulp, Occult SF, SF Fantasy, SF Horror, Slipstream, Space Opera, Theological, Weird SF), Theme: general submissions and Halloween or monster themed story call, Poetry OK ($30/poem), Comics OK (1-10 pages; $50/page), Simultaneous OK, Multiple OKish, Reprints OK (2¢/word)
11/1 Weird Christmas Flash Fiction Contest (3rd annual), ~350 words, prize money (1st=$50, 2nd=$25,10+HMs=$5, Genre: SpecFic/SF/F/H/Humor/Weird Theme: scary stories set around any winter holiday, Reprints: query, Note: accepts narrative poetry, multiple entries OK
9/21-11/30 (closing date not set but likely some time in November), Deep Magic, 1000-40,000 words, 8¢/word up to 7499 words ($599.92 pay cap above that), Genre: SF and Fantasy, Note: PG-13, Reprints OK (2¢/word up to 10,000 words and capped at $200 for longer)
12/1, Don't Touch That: An Anthology of Parenthood in SFF, ~5000 words, 6¢/word, Genre: F/SF, Theme: "Parents exploring ancient, curse-ridden caves with their children. Parents trying to give their kin enough personal space to grow their own intergalactic empires - and make their mistakes. Parents hunting the monsters that hide beneath kids' beds. Parents offering advice to the adventuring child who never takes it." Submit: "a .doc or .docx file to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 11:15pm EST on December 1, 2020." Note: open to 2 slush stories
12/2, Arkansas Intergalactic Themed Issue, ~8000 words, $20/page capped at $250, Genre: SF/Speculative, Simultaneous OK, Multiple OK (in one submission packet), Poetry OK, Note: no submission fee if they haven't hit the monthly cap
8/27-12/31, THE MODERN DEITY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY, DERELICT, and WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (three anthologies from Zombies Need Brains LLC), 7500 words, 8¢/words + royalties, Theme 1: urban fantasy w/ a god/deity, Theme 2: SF/F about abandoned ships, Theme 3: SF/F about colliding cultures, Sub to email@example.com w/ name of anthology and title of story submitted, Multiple OK (separate emails), Reprints/Simultaneous NO
10/1-1/31, Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award, ~8000 words, 8¢/word, Genre: SF, Want "Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure"
Publications Open for Submission (No specified deadline; pay 5-20¢/word USD or equivalent)
TEMP CLOSED: Addition Magazine, 1000-5000 words, 8¢/word, Theme: Rebuild, Genre: General/SF, Note: if no response in 14 days assume they rejected the story
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, ~20,000 (8-10 cents/word), 40k-80k serials (6 cents/word), poetry ($1/line), 4000-word fact articles (9 cents/word), Genre: SF, Multiple Yes
Apex Magazine, ~7500 words, 8 cents/word, Genre: F/SF/Horror
Smokelong Quarterly, ~1000 words, $50/piece, Genre: Literary, Simultaneous OK, Notes on what they want: language that surprises and excites, narratives that strive toward something other than a final punch line or twist, pieces that add up to something, often (but not necessarily always) something profound or emotionally resonant honest work that feels as if it has far more purpose than a writer wanting to write a story
Submission Deadlines in August and Beyond (pay 1-4¢/word USD or equivalent)
11/30, Women Destroy Retro Science Fiction, 750-1500 ($10) or 1501-2500 words ($15), Genre/Theme: retro-futurism with a female filled world of impossible wonders, Note: Women authors only (Transwomen authors accepted because transwomen are women)
Dark Moon Digest, opens on the 1st every month and closes when full 1500-7000 words, 3¢/word, Genre: Horror (complex, creepy, like Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, Simultaneous OK
Perpetual Motion Machine, ~1500 words, $25/story, Genre: Horror (same as Dark Moon above)
Bourbon Penn, 2000-7500 words, 2¢/word, Genre: speculative (odd/imaginative ones), especially slipstream/cross-genre/magic realism/absurdist/surreal
Duotrope, same as above, a submission tracker and market database that requires a paid subscription for full usage, may go into a bit more depth than Grinder though not by much based on my brief trial subscription
Need motivation for the submission game?
Submission Tetris: An Analytic Approach by Laurence Raphael Brothers, a brief but useful consideration of what and where to submit in the submissions game from SFWA
Also, great advice at these links below
Charlie Jane Anders' advice: chapters from her forthcoming non-fiction book Never Say You Can't Survive with new chapters released every Tuesday
Delilah S. Dawson's page of links, including her advice on how to get published
And here, more links