I was talking here last month about the burden of rejection. I thought I might follow up a bit on that with a quick roundup of what I have out there in the slush piles at the moment and keep you all updated on the rejections and sales as they come along.
I love writing short stories and I love reading them. I’m always going to write them and try to get them published, regardless of my actual success rate. But on going through my list today to see what was where, I thought I might start sharing some of the ups and downs with all of you.
My most recent success was a flash fiction piece called Terminal Illness that was published in the March edition of Antipodean SF. Antipodean SF is an online journal and not a paying market, but it is a hard place to crack and I’m very pleased to have got something in there. It’s archived with the National Library of Australia and converted into braille for blind readers, all of which is pretty cool.
Other work out there at the moment is a broad spectrum of fiction in a fairly broad spectrum of markets. Here’s a quick overview of what’s out there. I’m not going to give story or market titles, on the extremely unlikely off-chance that an editor reads this and it compromises the story’s chances. Blind submissions need to remain just that. However, I don’t think a brief description will be too much of a problem. So, currently surfing the slush is:
A whimsical short story about trolls is currently submitted to a Speculative Fiction award based in the UK. I think it’s a while before any winners will be announced on that one.
A dark fairy tale is under consideration at an Australian print magazine. I was asked if I could edit and resubmit, which is in itself quite an achievement. I worked very hard on that edit and I’m currently waiting to hear back on the resubmission.
Another short story centering around the discovery of a seemingly powerful spell is currently submitted to another Australian based print spec fic magazine. They’re inundated at the moment and it’ll be a few more weeks before I hear about this one. This is one particular magazine that I would dearly love to crack. I’ve tried several times in the past unsuccessfully.
A rather twisted short story about a woman learning dark secrets about her father after he dies is submitted to an Australian based horror magazine, again a print market.
A Lovecraftian monster horror story is submitted to a UK based horror magazine. There’s prize money as well as paid publication with this one.
A whimsical sci-fi vignette is under consideration at a UK based online magazine.
A science fiction story about sentient pets is submitted to another print based Australian magazine and is shortlisted there. They’ve asked to hold onto the story for a bit longer to see if they can get it into the magazine. Fingers crossed there as this is another mag that I’m determined to crack and this is the closest I’ve ever got.
And finally I have another flash fiction piece being considered at Antipodean SF. Other than this last one, all those stories are submitted to paying markets or competitions with prize money.
So that’s eight short stories currently out there looking for a publisher. I’ve just finished the first draft of another short story that I’m very pleased with. The idea came to me just as I was dropping off to sleep one night and I was too far gone to grab my bedside notepad and jot it down. The next day I’d forgotten all about it until I read a friend’s blog post about something completely unrelated. Something about that post jogged my memory, however, and the idea came back to me. I quickly jotted it down that time and just today I’ve got the first draft of the story down. A few more edits, a bit of time to rest and mature, another edit or two and that story will join the others out there in slush piles all over the world.
It really is quite possible that out of those eight stories currently submitted I could get eight rejections. They might even be very nice and polite rejections, probably encouraging me to continue writing and wishing me luck with submitting the story elsewhere. And if that is the case, I will indeed submit elsewhere, perhaps after another polish. But one or two of them might decide they like the story and buy it for publication. Maybe even more than one or two if my writing and storytelling skills are improving. Here’s hoping. I’ll let you know.