More rumination on submissions...
I had a few minutes of jitters when I sent out Incident at Clermont. Mostly during the part where I typed up the opener to the email and kept the e-cover part of the letter as simple as possible. Just what they asked for. Now this is where I recognize that I've changed a bit.
After I sent out Chazho, I went through major panic attacks for weeks, one way or the other. He'd take it but gut the theme and meaning of the book. (NOT, this editor's that good and the theme is pretty obvious.) He'd think it was too far out. (What a joke. This is an SFF publisher that's done weirder stuff.) He'll hate it and reject it. Not as scary as the possibility of 'my first sale, but I have to say no to it on grounds of artistic integrity. Not bloody likely. What I really hoped for was to sell it of course. It might fly. I'm less worried about it now because if it comes back, I will bash it again and then it becomes Agent Bait and goes out again. This time with a good SFF agent who actually knows those markets.
This time it's different. I procrastinated a lot on doing this but I've got a cushion now with all those other stories. I have enough in my hand to just play the numbers till I win. And just systematically start that one down the road, trusting it will stick somewhere. Everything goes to pro paying markets first till I run out of pro paying markets, then it's small press paying markets. I'll have to shuffle and track these stories a lot more closely than I ever did before. They keep going out there till they stick.
This isn't how I treated my stories most of my life. Even up to the last time I sent out short stories. I wrote a spate of them, three or four or six. Typed them up and proofread them and wrote cover letters and mailed them - and then didn't write any more short stories till they all came back with rejection slips. I had an encouraging rejection among the last batch, sent out around 2000 back at the shelter. I responded better to that one, sent that editor two or three stories before the anthology closed because he did take the time to critique and make suggestions for what he wanted instead. I didn't really get the 'film noir' feeling in any of them and when I look back, I needed to have already taken some of the classes I had at Forward Motion.
I know that if I faced that anthology again or a market similar to it, that I'd be able to come up with a far better story for it. Out of that batch, they could all be reworked and a couple of them were pretty good. Each only went to one market before I folded up and went back to writing novels. I was doing a lot better with novels than short stories. I'm starting, just starting to get to the point where my short stories with work get up into the range of skill my novels fall. I've become a lot more critical of them. In a good way. I'm also starting to recognize when they're workable.
Even the last one I sent to that editor could be punched up in a big way. The ending would change and some elements of the lady's character would change, I'd dramatize it more. She'd be a little more legit than she was in the last version. I have a little research to do to make him a bit more plausible. But it could work and would be Film Noir if it did, with a cyberpunk twist.
I haven't written much new stuff this week, the one minimal story for the Dare and a short-short that wasn't quite Dare length but really would not be improved by padding it that last 300 words or so. Still, it was a good week and these things get done. These things get done and easier all the time.
I started this blog entry just to post something wonderful, an internal victory. The fear went away as soon as I hit Send on my submission. It was just done. Gone, a chore that's finished, a quiet little satisfied feeling like looking at a cleared desk or an empty sink without dishes. It'll need to be done again and again for the rest of my life and right now that little bit of it's done and taken care of. Far cry from all my old fears. I'm not being judged. That story is the best that it can be right now, it's done and taken care of and I'll be too busy working on the other ones catching up with myself to worry about it.
Maybe I did just need to have enough other material to hand that I don't have everything loaded on any one submission. It worked with the novels and it works now with short stories and if I keep on this way, eventually they will all find their readers. Coming soon, lots more vampire stories. It's been a good night...
Robert and Ari >^..^< (Cats have fangs! It's love when I chew on your hand...)