I took my first real crack at the market with a submission to Liminal magazine one year ago today. It was a ghost story set in Roman Britain, and has been out a couple of times. It’s currently with a fiction contest in the UK. 365 days is both a long time and goes by in a flash – this blog has been running since October and I started it specifically to document my progress once I had some progress to talk about, the publication of my first sale, Lo, These Many Gods with SQ Mag on September 1st, 2016. The sale itself was made on April 29th. I started work a lot earlier, of course, I trace this whole endeavour back to my vampire short story Crimson Blade, written late 2013 and published in Spectral Visions: The Collection the following year. That one started the ball rolling, got me back into writing short fiction after a long absence, and I’ve kept going. By the beginning of last year I had enough stories in hand, in enough genres, to be worth beginning a program of submission, and it’s been a long process.
So, what do the numbers look like? As of the one year mark, I have made 301 submissions, which averages more than one per working day throughout the year; I have at this time 51 stories on submission (including two shortlistings) plus nine placements, therefore I have been rejected 241 times. Some of them have been near-misses, a few times editors have profoundly regretted the necessity of turning a story away, but the cruel fact is they can’t find a home for every good story they see. In addition, I have been awarded Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest twice in successive quarters. My overall acceptance rate is running at 3.73% of total rejections, which is somewhat ahead of the general industry curve to the best of my knowledge. I also have a novel under consideration in the UK.
What of productivity? During calendar year 2016 I completed 52 stories, ranging from flash to half-novel length, and have three more incomplete at this time, for a total wordage on the year of 297, 781 words.
Where do I go from here? More of the same, keep up the intensity, continue to research markets, keep writing. Fingers crossed for a breakthrough to better-paying markets, hopefully up in the pro range, and in time perhaps join the professional writers’ guild. The second year will be as much an adventure as the first; I began its first day by redirecting two rejections, and one of those submissions, interestingly enough, went to Liminal, which rather closes the circle of year one!
Cheers, Mike Adamson