Thursday, April 29, 2010

Short Stories, Short Stories


I have self-evicted myself from Twitter after a much traumatizing realization that my university schedule does not integrate completely with my work schedule. So I have to figure out semantics and get my brain into 'serious' thinking. However, I did manage to squeeze out a re-submition of the most recent and the best story I have written up to date. I am not bragging, but I do think a writer feels, when he/she discovers the first really good story.The one, which still hasn't lost its charm and power. In my eyes "From Behind Empty Eyes" is that story.

Yes, I can't say if it is publishable or if it can be fit into what magazines are looking for, but I know that this is the story to mark my maturing into the craft. Not bragging. Again, I feel that writers feel this milestone. But I am straying away from the topic. Several days ago I received a rejection from the magazine I initially sent it. I am pretty much used to them, so this is not the story I am about to tell. I polished it. Added a three or four sentences to tighten up things as far as concept and world-building goes and resubmitted. Now thatI did all the submission steps and hunted down a well paying semi-professional magazine, I have opened myself towards the topic at hand.

I got to thinking about short story rates. Where to submit. How to query after the response time has elapsed. How many times to submit, before taking the story off the rounds. There have been posts on this before as I have read them, but I also wish to think out loud on the blog and add my own humble two cents to the table.

Any suggestions on where to start?


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm not sure there is a time when a story should be taken off the rounds. when I have a story that is not requested or targeted toward a particular market, I usually start sending it out with the biggest markets, the highest paying ones. Then I go down the list for at least the top 5 or so. After that if it still hasn't sold, I may look for more of a niche market that might take it at lower pay rates.

T.S. Bazelli said...

I agree with Charles. If I run out of markets, I may just keep the story on the side until I find a new one opens up.

Have you tried Duotrope? What I like is the list of story markets, their submission tracker, and also the average response times from each publication (so you can know when it's appropriate to send a query letter).

I have a list of markets I've ranked by criteria - how much they pay, if they're SFWA qualified, if they're anthologies, how prestigious... then I work that list from top the bottom. I haven't gotten that far down it yet though!

Harry Markov said...

@ Charles: What I mean here has a lot to do with budding writers. It will take some amount of writing short stories before selling the first. What I am getting at is the time to consider that you are still not good enough with this one in particular and drop it.

As far as paying markets go, I am all about semi-pro to pro as long as they accept electronic submissions. Because of my location mainly.

Harry Markov said...

@ TS: So you never quit and what if that story is not publishable? I am asking more for the hypothetical value rather than implying anything about your work.

And I do use Duotrope, though I do not have a comprehensive list of magazines to explore. Good idea. Thanks.

T.S. Bazelli said...

I haven't had to quit yet. It's hard to assess the value of a story objectively and I think we're the worst judges of our own writing.

If anything, maybe one those 'not so good' stories will come back with a critical feedback instead of a form rejection. That way I'll know what I still need to work on from an editor's perspective. You can't fix it if you don't know what's broken :)