Thursday, February 10, 2011

Strategy and Tactics.

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

I just got a rejection and according to the rules of engagement, the thing to do is to resubmit it immediately.

Checking the preferred market, I noted that their upper word limit is 4,000 words and my story, the best thing that I have available, is over 5,000 words. It would be bad tactics to submit the story to this market.

The simple strategy is to search the listings for another market. It should be a market where the story has not been subbed before, and it should be comparable in terms of pay or the next notch down the totem pole.


I have a story which in some ways is kind of lame. Difficult to define, I guess maybe it doesn't belong in Clarkesworld right beside Dr. Peter Watts, who I suspect would not be particularly pleased.

The problem is, to submit it to a fledgling market, or try to take five or ten bucks off some poor schmuck; all the while convinced that I really love the guy like a brother and I'm doing him a favour is bullshit. If it is a lame story, that ain't his fault.

All that being said, I can still take a lame story, and use it in a blog, especially if I had art to go with it, or submit it after some stiff rewriting to a more appropriate market. Here again, I keep coming back to youth markets, Christian markets, or whatever. Just remember, the classic science fiction of the Golden Age created stories and characters that we remembered with little explicit sex, and gore. Even now, it seems that 'language' is a kind of a deal breaker in certain markets. (Even my own blog, for the most part.)


Strategy is different than tactics. Tactics are short-term, dealing with a crisis or implementing a plan.

Strategy is long term. My strategy of submitting good stories to good markets, working patiently to earn my entry into the Science Fiction Writers of America, to read every 'bleeping' thing that I can get on the industry, is a good strategy. It holds true for anyone.

The story I just submitted might be crap! The strategy is still good. Assuming a story gets placed, then having my books self-published and out there, all ready to go, in all formats is a good one.

The strategy of teaching myself how to edit is a good one. The strategy of learning how to format my own work is a good one.

Tactics take a certain situational awareness and a flair for the dramatic.

Strategy takes patience, and wisdom, and total comprehension of the operating environment.

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