As you may recall, 2013 was the year that I got back into writing and submitting short fiction. According to my submission tracker, my last logged event was a rejection on December 12, 2008. My next logged event was April 9, 2013 – so four and a half years! Not that I was completely off the writing wagon for all of that time. I do have a few unfinished novels to show for it, I suppose…
Anyway, since I personally love seeing short fiction writers’ statistics about their output, I thought I would provide some insight into mine during this first year back. The first thing I did in April was look through all of my unpublished work and decide what was worth salvaging. I had a number of pieces that had been on submission rounds previously, and had come to a halt not because they weren’t good enough to be published, but because I just stopped submitting. I also had a number of completed-but-needing-revision pieces. Including some from Clarion. Yes, from 2006. Oops. I ended up with 10 pieces that were totally finished that I started submitting right away, and 4 that needed substantial revision. In the course of the year I managed to revise all 4 of them. In the year I only wrote a total of 1 new piece, for a total of 15 pieces on submission 2013: 6 science fiction short stories, 4 fantasy short stories, 2 flash (1 scifi, 1 fantasy), and 3 poems.
I received exactly 50 rejections and 1 acceptance (for the new poem I wrote, “Priority Shift”). This might seem as if it would be demoralizing, but honestly, it isn’t. Even though I haven’t managed to sell any of these older stories yet, I am confident that most of them will sell eventually. About a half dozen of those rejections were really-close-but-no-cigar, including from some markets that I hold in very, very high regard. The short fiction submission process is very slow, and it can often take years to find the right market for something.
2014 is also shaping up well so far: In January I finished my first completely NEW story in years and sent it out into the world. I also have another new one finished that is currently in revision. I’m doing the write-one-sub-one goal for 2014, having a least one story completed and one new submission logged every month. Another goal for myself? To not let manuscripts languish. If I get a rejection, send it somewhere new as soon as possible! At some point you have to just let it go and stop second-guessing yourself. Keep it rolling. 🙂