|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
How Do I Feel About Multiple Submissions? Do I Do Them?
Kind of like hunting chickadees with a shotgun. Aim it at the bush and pull the trigger. You just might hit one!
So lets take a look at the first one. When I was young and kind of naive, hell when I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground, I figured that multiple submissions were the best way to go. Get that sucker out there and make THEM (magazines, major publishing houses, the most prestigious of journals) work for the privilege of handling my work. Come on...After that first couple of times a friend or acquaintance opened the door for me, I felt golden. My talent had prevailed, my words were like sweet nectar, the world had shown that it needed my every utterance! It was time for THE ATLANTIC and THE NEW YORKER and THE UTNE READER to step up to the plate. What better way to do it than to make them compete!
Hey, when you're seventeen realism is a concept, not a lifestyle choice. Ever seen my byline in those rags? That's where the reality part comes in. As I, uh, matured, I began to get a better handle on who was calling the shots. I could churn out as much verbiage as I wanted, if I wasn't taking the time to research who might actually be interested in my style and subjects then I was spending four or five times the amount of money necessary on paper, envelopes, postage, and return postage. That was a lot of potential beer and chips turned in to tiny little slips of paper that said, "No!" There wasn't an editor out there who was trying to beat out their competition to publish my stuff, at least not at the lofty heights to which I was aspiring.
It was an artist friend who finally sat me down and said, "Baby, you got to know who you're playing to. You don't bring a barrel house band to the Wagner Festival!" In other words, it would have been more productive if I had realized right away that I needed some mileage on my frame and some familiarity with the country I was traveling through. Sure, I might have had some good ideas and the occasional turn of phrase, but I didn't have the chops for where I thought I was heading. It's like that definition of insanity...You know, doing the same destructive thing over and over...Am I saying you don't? Hell no! You might be frigging Mozart. Then again...?
So that brings us to the second part of today's topic. The answer to that is no. Plain, simple, emphatically, nope. I have the advantage of time. Along the way I took a look at what it is I write...My voice...Style...Subjects...and, hey, commercial it's not. I know that. What it is, though, is me. It's rough around the edges and it finds triumph in the small things. (There are times when there aren't even small victories, just reality.) That means that, unless there's a real sea change sometime, I need to be choosy about where I put my efforts. Not everyone sitting at a submissions desk is going to want to read grit. But there are some. Not everyone wants to hear my take on poetic expression. But there have been those who have. Sometimes I get lucky and they find me...Mostly by chance. Other times I find them...Mostly by bull-headed perseverance. Either way it has led to some sweet relationships along the way.
What has given me an edge from time to time is just old fashioned labor. I write all the time. I edit until I start going cross-eyed. I pour through market guides, web sites and complementary copies of publications. I do the work, I have a body of that work, and I am willing to return to it time after time to refine, rewrite and resubmit it. One publication at a time.
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis