Friday, January 15, 2016

A few thoughts on submission guidelines

I have been writing and submitting short stories for many, many years. It is a time consuming  process to find a suitable market, read their guidelines then conform to them. The requirements of editors are quite varied, and some of them are especially picky. Not that I am critical of that, but it can make the task of getting published more difficult. I've lost count of how many rejections I have received, how many times I've read the words 'thank you, but your story is not a good fit for us' (or something like that), and how many editors have simply never responded.

My message to you as a writer is: do not be discouraged. If you love to write, then persevere, and if you have any talent, you will find some rewards; not to mention the satisfaction of pursuing your dream or your hobby, or whatever it is that writing is to you.

Many of my stories which have been published were rejected multiple times. Despite all the submission guidelines hoopla, all you are looking for is an editor who likes your work. It's that simple really. It was the same deal when I completed my second novel, Loathe Your Neighbor, and was looking for a publisher. I wrote 66 query letters, and received nothing but rejections and no responses, until Jeanne Haskin at Artema Press, said yes. Why? Because she liked my work.

As I said, if you are any good at this art form, then for sure there will be people who appreciate what you do. The truth is that you actually don't even have to be that good. You can be pretty good, work hard and get lucky too. Everyone needs a bit of luck to be successful.

Getting back to short story submissions, here's my advice:
  • be patient.
  • be persistent. 
  • pay attention to the guidelines. 
  • don't send a story until you are satisfied that it is the best it can be .
  • don't take rejection personally. 
  • take every little bit of advice offered and mull it over.
  • read a lot and read widely. 
  • practice, practice, practice. 
  • be focused. 
  • decide what your writing goals are, and these goals will determine your actions.
  • submit to Square Pegs E-zine

Photo source for 'I love Writing this much"

1 comment:

  1. Very good tips and advice. Following all the rules for querying and submitting can be such a pain, but if we really want our work published, we have to keep trying and respect the preferences of the publishers. Have a great weekend!