Where others succeed…
In terms of blogging my weeks can seem somewhat monotonous, which is why there are bursts of posts and then gaps. My weeks are not that monotonous as it happens. On a small scale Spring is bringing new wonders to my morning walks on a daily basis and, just recently, I have been in one of those happy places where fresh ideas are plentiful. In the larger realm of my work itself, although the pattern of my day is pretty regular the problems and issues each story throws up are varied indeed.
It’s just; sometimes all that energy is channeled into those projects and my blog doesn’t feel a particularly important part of the process.
However it did occur to me make a quick reference to those places where you have submitted work and–dare I say–failed!
Now with regards to submitting to magazines and the small presses I would hope that you are well acquainted with the type of work they print. I would say you should not be sending something to a regular journal without having read through the last three issues at least. Something that I have been interested in lately though are anthologies.
What research can be done when submitting to an anthology? The two most obvious starting places (and sometimes these are one and the same) are the publisher and the editor. Look them up, see what they have done before and try and get a feel for their tastes. Even after writing that sentence alarm bells started ringing. There are some writers who do try and write for a market, I would personally always advise a writer to be themselves, there will always be places out there that fit your voice, it just takes research.
–Stuck for a place to start? Try Duotrope—
The message I wanted to get across in this post though was about failing to get a story into an anthology. In these circumstances it is easy for us to stick our head in the sand and ignore the product that doesn’t feature our lovingly crafted piece of prose.
Always buy the anthology!
Seriously if you are writing short stories, you should be reading short stories and that mean that some of your hard earned money will be spent on short story collections. Don’t ignore the ones you failed to get into just because you’re fed up that you’re no longer entitled to that free copy you were hoping for. Buying the anthology gives you more stories to read and it specifically lets you see the standard of the stories that ‘won’ against your own. Maybe you will feel that your story was as good as the ones that got in. That’s fine, a lot of the time it’s down to taste or yours didn’t quite fit the brief as well as the others. All this should tell you is that with a little perseverance it won’t take long to get in print.
There is another important reason for buying the anthology. By doing so you are helping the industry that you want to succeed in. When you get into print you will hope that people will buy your stories, so you can do your bit by helping short fiction achieve the sales it deserves. Think yourselves lucky that there are lots of places for short stories, for it’s a far sorrier situation for those who work in short film.