Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Submissions (not like that)

The post is starting to annoy me. Over the last few years it's been getting gradually later, which is especially annoying when you need to go somewhere but can't go anywhere until the parcel you were expecting has arrived (or, more commonly, not) with the morning post. Only it's never morning these days. It's early afternoon, which is ridiculous.

It would also be nice if Amazon actually did as I told them. I asked for the two books I ordered the other day to be packaged together. It makes sense, doesn't it? Less packaging is better for the environment and cheaper for the company itself. Apparently, though, Amazon doesn't do that, and has instead sent me them separately. Or, rather, it's sent me one and the other's apparently still en route to my front door.

As you may be able to tell, I'm a little cranky this evening. I could do with my tea, but what was promised for six is now definitely going to be ready for seven (or so I'm told). According to the person in charge, it was always going to be seven. What is this, the Wilson family equivalent of the Ministry of Truth in 1984? Blimey.

I've followed up my submission of a piece of flash fiction to a website the other day with the submission of a short story to Clarkesworld. Apparently, Clarkesworld is one of the hardest markets to crack (probably because they pay so well), but I quite fancy the challenge. So, off this story has gone, quite probably coming back in a day or two's time with a 'get stuffed' note attached. Unfortunately, rejection is likely to happen a few times over the next few weeks.

This is the writing Gom Jabbar, the acid test of whether a writer really is serious, has self-belief and is prepared to keep plugging away. In the past, I failed it - I got a few rejection slips and by self-belief was hit hard. To be fair, I was about 16. I was inexperienced and had only been writing 3 years. It was raw stuff I was sending away, and it isn't a surprise. My stuff now may not be world-changing, but it's better than what was going off then.

Unfortunately, many talented writers get their first rejection and never submit again. On the other hand, many who are convinced they're God's gift to literature receive their first rejection and do exactly the same, so there's an upside to every problem (how many are convinced the editor just didn't get their work is not something up for discussion right now). My message to the former of these two classes is to keep working at it. We're in the same boat, you and I, two (or more) hopefuls auditioning for a chance to grasp the first rung of the publishing ladder. I know that when my work's rejected I'll just be resubmitting it and working on other things at the same time.

Best of luck to you! You stand a better chance of publication than I do of getting my tea at any point in the next century.

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