Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pros and Cons. Submitting Short Stories

c2011 (S)

Back in November 2010, a gentleman sent me an e-mail in which he accepted one of my stories, and told me, 'You will be warned when it is published.' This is a foriegn market, and it is not unheard of for language-based misunderstandings to arise. English is not his first language. Did he mean to reject the story?

That story has never appeared. I queried him about a year ago, and there was no response. I have no idea if that story will ever appear, and at some point I guess I might be justified in submitting it off somewhere else.

I have two or three stories like that, where I have an e-mail on file saying the thing is accepted, and it has never appeared. The trouble with my absolutely killer story, 'The Game,' is that I have an e-mail saying the story is accepted. It will appear on a website that publishes it in Spanish and English. If I try to sell that story in English, and all of a sudden it comes out on the other guy's website, any editor that buys it is going to have a problem with that, unless all rights revert immediately upon publication.

When you get to a certain length of story, a lot of magazines won't publish it. It's too long, and sort of inevitably, the thing gets submitted where it fits, and not necessarily where it would get the biggest payment per word.

This year I have made about fifty-four short story submissions so far, and I might have stuck five or six stories, only one of which actually paid anything. Even so, each publication brings new readers, and I do sell a few e-books along the way.

The key thing is to keep the new and old material flowing, although lately the enthusiam seems to have dried up a bit. The fact that I am again in transition between addresses might have something to do with it.

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