This is a much more me-specific post than my usual, although I’m going to try to broaden it up at the end. Even so, if any of you who are here for writer chat or ethics posts aren’t as interested in this sort of thing, feel free to skip today’s ramblings.
I have been completing my post-MFA submissions very slowly. This is in part because my thesis wasn’t terribly long, so after a point I can only send out more work as I produce, rewrite, edit, and polish new material. Which is not a quick process. More than that, however, I’ve been approaching submissions more gradually intentionally. I’ve never much cared for simultaneous submissions — as an editor or a writer. For one thing, they don’t allow you to revisit the story as you get notes and comments from editors. For another, they put an emphasis on completing the submissions process as quickly as possible, which just isn’t my mentality now. Even though the internet has blasted open the market, there is still a very finite number of appropriate venues and I mean to take them on their own terms, one at a time, reading back issues and really considering which story works best for which magazine.
I know most writers disagree with me, and still that’s where I stand. I like taking my time.
This does mean that I’ve sent out only a grand total of twelve submissions since finishing my degree. But I am happy to report my care and patience has not been in vain.
Of the twelve, I’ve received eight final decisions. (Two have received news regarding semi-finalist and finalist status, but more on that in a minute.) Of the eight, six were rejections. But that’s a little bit deceiving, because of those six, three were very kind, very encouraging personal rejections from magazines I respect quite a bit. Of the remaining three, two rejections were from contests, which don’t usually offer personalized feedback. So, ultimately, I only found that one last form rejection to be at all discouraging.
Happily, I’ve also had two outright successes, the first being that I was a finalist for Indigo Ink’s Modern Grimmoire: Contemporary Fairy Tales, Fables & Folklore anthology! As a finalist, my story, “Night People, In Summer” will be published in the anthology in May 2013. I love the small press scene and I have been incredibly impressed by Indigo Ink’s professionalism and aesthetic. Moreover, they partially funded the project through Kickstarter — and if you follow my other blog, “The Girl Who Loved Zombies,” you know how I feel about kickstarters.
Also, I recently received word that my story, “At Glenn Dale” snagged a third place ribbon (and a check!) in the Dr. Eugene Clark Library “Scare the Dickens Out of Us” ghost story contest. No publication, but it’s extra nifty because the contest itself is a fundraiser coordinated by the Friends of the Library. And libraries are awesome.
There is an especially nice symmetry to these successes — you see, these are stories from my MFA thesis and my undergraduate honors thesis respectively. And they both have the particular distinction of being the stories I read for my thesis presentations. In other words, I have fond memories of being terrified holding these two stories! And of the amount of work that went into both of them, before and after I submitted them to my committees. Moreover, “At Glenn Dale” was the writing sample that got me admitted to my MFA program. At this point, editing it feels like working with an old friend.
And while I don’t actively shop my undergraduate fiction anymore, it was especially gratifying for this story to get some recognition. It has a nice sense of closure to it.
I have some other news I’m not comfortable sharing on public forum. It involves a contest — one which is judged anonymously and which has reached the final stages. Consequently, it seems like poor form to mention it specifically by name when a decision has yet to be made. But when I can tell you all, rest assured that I will! I don’t do this to be coy, just to respect the process by which blind-reading must happen.
Of course, that raises the question of how one best shares exciting writerly news in general. Is it better just to spew it out on the twitterverse? In a blog? I admit, I always feel slightly uncomfortable telling people about my good fortune. It feels too self-congratulatory. Even this post is kind of giving me the heebee-jeebees. I hope I’ve tempered it somewhat by also discussing my failures.
How do you share your good news?