With the wet, blunt end of 2011 racing towards us as I type, it seems only fitting to look back on the past year and get a bit of persepctive on where I stand on the submissions front. In case you are wondering, since I thought November and December would be relatively quiet months I decided to forego November’s update (due on about December 3rd) and look at both months together at the end of the year. Also, laziness.
I had two goals to reach by Christmas 2011; to reach 100 stories written and 50 stories accepted for publication. I am happy to say I reached both targets, finishing my 101st story by Christmas morning and having my 54th story accepted for publication two weeks before Christmas. I am delighted, but that’s really just the first and easiest step, there is still plenty of work to do!
Scary, intimidating work.
Anyway, let us have a look at where the submission stand for a final time in 2011, on this day, 30th of December.
58 active submissions. They work out as follows: 22 from April (I think a large part of these non-responders stem from the fact my early submissions were inept; I remember writing on a large number of them that the story submitted was ‘entitled’ whatever it was. How embarrassing) 11 from June, 5 from July, 8 from September, 6 from October and 6 from November.
This number will only go down over the next few months as I am putting submissions on hold for the time being. Once I have built up a backlog of unpublished stories, say 20, I will begin sending out submissions again, provisionally in April 2012. I will however submit to places that personally ask for material. I’d be mad not to.
Looking at my notes I can see that my first submission wals to The Stinging Fly on the 3oth of March, sending them the stories Hot Spectral Helmets and My Son Is Now My Motorbike, both of which were rejected.
My last submission was to Emprise Review on the 23rd of November. I sent them the story That Night You Showed Me Ambaglass. Still waiting for a reply on that one, understandably.
Since I sent out submissions in batches of thirty or more a day, often for weeks at times, many of my acceptances clump together on certain submission days. For instance, out of the submissions I sent on the 10th of April, four were accepted, while six from June 12th were picked up. (There were of course fallow months where nothing I sent out was picked up at all )
I don’t know how many submissions I have made in total. I would venture a guess of somewhere in the region of 500, what with all the resubmits I have done over the months. (Thank god for electronic submissions, that’s what I say.)
224 No! Some of these rejections have been lovely, the majority have been curt and anonymous (understandable), some have been… baffling as to the reasons why. One, unhelpfully, said they weren’t sure ‘why I’d written it like that’ but provided no reasoning beyond that.
52 Yes! (54 stories in total, 34 of which have now appeared online or in print) That averages out to something like three acceptances every two weeks, which is great. Another four or five should appear in January, and in the months following the rest should trickle into awful shambling life.
77 Resubmits. That’s quite a lot– up from 9 in October! These will languish, unplugged with prose until I have more (good) stories to jam in.
There are still 17 stories doing the rounds. I can’t help feeling these are the absolute dregs and I’m not sure I’ll bother sending them out again in the new year. Stories like Punchneck with a Prick of Fistness just aren’t… palatable, it would seem. Or just badly written…
So if that’s where we leave things for 2011, what about the year ahead? What are my plans for 2012? Well, I have to conquer my fear and start submitting my short stories to agents and publishers. That is, after all the reason why I pushed myself to get to 50 by Christmas. And as a good friend said to me, someone who is unimpressed by 50 is unlikely to be impressed by 70 (100, though, is another matter) so now is the right time to start trying to get the work out there on the next, terrifying, level.
For the time being I’ll keep plugging away at the short stories. Maybe one a week? That seems reasonable. I’m working on 103 at the moment and have ideas for another couple. No set goals, not this early. Maybe in six months time I’ll try and push for 50 by Christmas 2012. Or I may be doing somthing else entirely. But I do plan to map the place at some point. That’s not worringly obsessive is it?
So here’s thanks for a productive, succesful and kind 2011. Let’s hope 2012 is even better!