After letting it sit on my hard drive for a year or so, I decided to see if I could find a publisher for a story of mine, Crowded. Crowded was originally written for a competition held by Strand Bookstore, which it did not win. Although I was proud of the piece, I wasn’t expecting it to win. It was a romance writing contest, and I tend to dwell on insecurities and complications rather than passion and drama. Despite the fact that I’ve been happily dating the same guy for six years, I am an incredibly unromantic person, and it’s difficult to summon an energy that just isn’t in me most of the time.
Besides that, it had a stupid title. Before I renamed it, it was called Avery Today. I don’t know why I called it that. The main character is named Avery and there’s some stuff about time, but it’s not a good title at all.
Once the title issue was fixed, I decided to see if any literary magazines would be interested in it. After all, I had been sending Angelhands, Kondrati 2.0 and Hematoma out to every place I could think of, to no avail. Why not see if one of my other stories would fare better?
To decide, I pulled up a document that I use to keep track of my submissions. Like Crowded, Hematoma is also about relationships. It had been rejected about ten times already, but a few of the publishers invited me to send more work. One publisher, Verdad Magazine, asked to spend more time with the piece before ultimately rejecting it. This probably meant that the editor liked it enough to consider it, so I sent them Crowded to consider. Then, being busy with student teaching and homework, I forgot about it for a little while.
Time passed, and I got an email from Verdad Magazine. I have trained myself to expect rejection, so when I started reading the email it took a minute for it to register that Crowded had been accepted for publication. Only not quite. The editor wanted me to change a few things first.
This was a first for me. I am not an experienced professional author. Crowded will be only my fourth published story. I have only once had an editor change anything about my work, and that was for an article, not a story. I have never been asked to make the change myself. When I received the request, I was immediately prepared to go through with it. The editor suggested that I change the ending so that it included an image. The rest of the story relied heavily on imagery, but the ending wrapped it up in a pat and cutesy way that didn’t work with the rest of the story. Once this was pointed out, I was all for it. Part of me felt like I shouldn’t be so quick to change my work, but the editor was right, the end would have been improved by changing imagery. Besides that, I wanted it to be published. I’m willing to make changes as long as they don’t damage the heart of the story, and in this case, the change just made things better. I wasn’t sure for about a week if they actually wanted to publish my piece or if they were just being sweethearts and telling me how to improve, but in the end, it was finally confirmed…
Crowded, a short story about a dude with social anxiety taking a girl out on a date at a book store, will be published in the Spring 2013 issue of Verdad Magazine!
I recently submitted Angelhands to Clarkesworld Magazine, a fantasy/sci-fi magazine. After submitting, I discovered something truly amazing about this magazine. I’m not talking about the content, which is entirely excellent, and which you can check out on your own. No, I’m talking about that little word circled in red on my poorly-done MS Paint edit above. If you can’t see it, the word is queue.
A queue. Can you believe it? This is a magazine that tells the reader exactly when it can expect a response, and lets you track the progress. How cool is that? I’ve been submitting my work for about three years now, and I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’ve seen submission managers that let you check on your story, but all they ever say is “received”, “accepted”, or “declined”. There’s no in-between. I never expected any kind of in-between. Until now.
When I first submitted my story, two days ago, it was #66. Now it’s #38. Therefore, I can reasonably assume that I’ll be getting a reply in the next few days. Because this magazine doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions, this is important to know. The more information that I have to aid my planning, the better.
This queue is fantastic, and I thank Clarkesworld for providing it. Whether or not you accept my work, you guys are rocketsauce awesome.
Angelhands, a story about Natalie Heidelmann, a girl with the ability to make people sick by touching them, has just been rejected from Asimov’s Magazine. This is after being rejected from Daily Sci-Fi and The New Yorker. Unlike some my stories that were widely rejected, I have yet to come to the conclusion that the work isn’t good enough. I still believe in the quality of this story. I just haven’t found a home for it as of yet.
I’m not sure what angle to take with it. So far, I’ve been submitting to paid markets. I don’t know why, I guess I was feeling ambitious. The fact that I want money could also be a factor. The New Yorker was obviously rather unlikely. The other two were both difficult to break into, but I thought they were worth a shot because my story can be categorized as sci-fi. From here, I’m not sure where to go. Do I keep trying with paid markets, or is that an exercise in futility? Do I keep trying with sci-fi markets, or do I send it to mainstream literary markets?
Sigh sigh sigh. All is complexity and woe.
Yesterday, I got rejected by the New Yorker. It was the best thing that had happened to me all day.
Sounds weird, right? It definitely sounded weird to the friends and family that I told this to. Who wants to be rejected?
The thing is that the New Yorker was a long shot. I never expected them to publish me. They publish Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, and Junot Diaz. Why should they look twice at someone with three published stories to her name? Besides, it had a fantasy/sci-fi edge to it. Not really the New Yorker’s style.
I submitted it because they sometimes publish unknown writers, and they sometimes publish sci-fi. Both are rare, but I was confident in the story and I thought, why the heck not? The worst thing they can do is not respond to me.
They did respond. Here it is:
Dear Anna Lindwasser,
We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.Sincerely,The Editors