#This has got to be a golden age of opportunity for the short story writer. Duotrope lists thousands of venues.
But, in a whiny sort of way, I've been feeling stressed by too much opportunity. I thought I'd blog about how I've been attempting to organise my time.
And let's pretend that I just write shorts. I'm also writing poetry, and many of you are writing novels, too. Let's put that aside.
If you want to get published the aim of the game is to get your stories in front of editors. Occasionally I've sold without submitting (when editors have seen a story link on my blog) but its rare.
To increase your number of submissions, you can do two things: make more submission, write more stories and then make more submissions.
Guide to Making More Submissions.
1. Query Any Current Overdue Submissions.
If you've been subbing for a while you might have overdue subs, submissions that are taking longer than is usual (usual can vary widely). It's is not unknown for venues to die on me without me noticing. Check duotrope.com and the venue itself for response times. This is how I query by e-mail.
Dear X editors,
I wonder if my submission is still under consideration.
I always forward the original e-mail, making sure the story is attached, in case it's been lost. Nine times out of ten this brings a very quick response, a sale or a rejection or a holding notice. If I don't get a response in a reasonable time (two weeks is reasonable to me) I politely withdraw the story. It's important to withdraw so that you have documentation if a dispute arises in the future.
Dear X editors,
I would like to withdraw my submission sent to you on xxx.
I usually forward the query letter and original submission, but, I don't like to go into the whys and wherefores of the matter. But that's your call.
2. Make Reprints Submissions
I don't make enough reprint submission which is very foolish of me, as I consider them pain-free. If you get a rejection, you know that it's due to editorial taste. After all the story has already been published.
There are many quality reprint venues that you can find using duotrope.com's nifty reprint search function.
3. Make Submissions from your Inventory.
Send out the stories that you've already written. A really nice tip, which I've never managed, is to send a story to a new venue immediately when you get a rejection.
There is a time cost to making submissions. If you have a lot of stories, you could probably spend all your time subbing. I suggest picking a number that you feel happy with, for me that 40-50 story submissions. If my race score gets low, like it is at the moment, I like to make a story submission a day, until it gets to a good level.
Be strong, Grasshopper. Do not get discouraged by rejection.
4. Write a New Story and then submit it.
You can either write whatever you feel like and then find a venue. Or you can find a venue and try to write a story that fits.
But how do you decide what venue to write for? And in fact, how do you decide where to send inventory stories? I've got some thoughts. And that's going to be the subject of part two.
I'm interested in how you guys manage your submissions. Is it much like me? Are you happy with the number of submissions you've got out at the moment? Anything that I've forgotten, or gotten outrageously wrong?