by Louis Bertrand Shalako
All Rights Reserved
First of all, the best promotion for our books and stories is to place good stories in good markets.
Back in November, when I finally got the time to write more material, after e-publishing my first four titles, I managed to smash out about 44,000 words. It was 'nano month.' I participated without really competing.
One thing I did was to experiment with a western. The three or four pages I did looked okay, but with no major plot, or conflict, or 'gag' in mind, I didn't complete it.
All righty then. So two months later, after not writing much, I dug the thing out and finished it. What I did was to think of Mike Resnick, and his 'weird westerns,' and I realized that hard science wasn't always necessary to write a good story.
By throwing in telepathy, an alien horse, a plastic planet and the Evil Dr. Schmitt-Rotluff, and by focusing on word choice and 'patter,' (or rythm, maybe,) I came up with something new for me.
That is the value of persistence. I had one file with a bunch of titles in it. One of those was basically a blank document file. Just a title and a byline! I must have been hard up that day.
Anyhow, again, the title was enough to get me going, and there must have been some idea there in my brain the first time around. Sure enough, another story, only 550 words, but I like what I have.
So now, I'm going through all the pro markets on ralan.com. There aren't a lot of them, and I have subs in at quite a few already.
The thing to do now is to take out and polish every previously unpublished story. To really think about what's there. Is it just plain lame? Is it badly written, or a bunch of political bull-crap wrapped up in an otherwise interesting premise? Is it the start of a pretty good novel that I just didn't feel like writing?
Today I took about 430 words out of a story that was only about a year old. It's been subbed out maybe five or six times and I never had any luck. At the time, I didn't think it was too badly-written. Only one guy gave any real serious discussion, the rest were all form rejections. By cutting out words that were simply unnecessary, I figure that story has a much better chance.
I don't know if I could ever submit a story 65 times like a friend says. Who knows; maybe if we live long enough...but seriously folks, one has to wonder if we have seriously pissed off an editor, or what. Sooner or later, someone else will piss them off, and that makes it easier to forget about me!
Ultimately persistence does pay off, if you keep coming back with better and better stories.