Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 267 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis






Last night I mentioned that I have a fair number of projects out to different journals, magazines, and ezines. I mentioned thirteen or fourteen pieces submitted for consideration. These are out to a total of seventeen different venues.
Some of them are single short stories. Some are from three to five poems. In the short fiction, there are examples of Crime Noir, Satire, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life Vignette, and the good old Pulp Genre. The poetry is free verse in a style and voice I have spent decades honing and perfecting. Some are out for the first time and other selections are seeing their third and fourth submission. Of those that have gone out more than once, a few were rejected by earlier houses, and one in particular had the bad timing to be accepted only to have the publication fold and then get high praise from another whose debut has been significantly delayed.
So what's the point? Tenacity, determination, and doggedness is the point. One of the hardest things to get around is the disappointment of rejection or bad luck. You start thinking, "Maybe I'm not good enough?", "Maybe I don't know enough about the market place?", "Maybe I don't know enough about the protocols?", or "Maybe I should put in an application at some fast food joint?"
The last one is the only one with definite prospects. At least you can stay clothed and fed while you're launching yourself towards exhaustion writing in your free time. And in that last thought is the key!
Yes, there are those annoying tales of how some complete unknown sent in their first real manuscript and a star studded career resulted. Can you say, "One in a million"? That's the odds. Most of us go about it the old fashioned way. Submit, re-submit, get whopping drunk, re-submit, cry on a sympathetic shoulder, re-submit. Notice that there is only one action in that sequence that repeats.
Unless you know someone and they have become familiar with your work before you ever thought about sending it out, the likelihood of a quick kill is slim to none. Does that make you a failure? Nope, just a writer. What will make you an author is the discipline and understanding that this is a big field with a lot of competition. If you stay with it and make an effort to improve your art and craft, your knowledge, and your acumen in presentation and professionalism, you will eventually become an AUTHOR! (All right, so it may be more like author.) The key to it all is to outlast the competition and your own doubts until this happens.
The Editor-in-Wife put together a really useful Excel spreadsheet for me to keep track of submissions. I know what went to who, and when. I also know when I have a reasonable chance of hearing back so I can make inquiries if they become necessary. I also have a space for the disposition of the submission. Was it accepted, rejected, or turned back for other reasons. These can include suggested reworks, corrections, or the occasional act of the deities.
The one thing the spreadsheet definitely gets me to do is to turn anything that comes back right around. Sure, this or that particular editor or reader said no. But the next one might not. It's kind of like speed dating without the chance of any gifts that keep on giving. No, I do not feel like a slut! I expect to get paid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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