Welcome to Part 3 of my blog series on the 2012 AWP Conference session titled, Now That’s a Novel Idea: Marketability (Gasp!) and Creative Writing Programs. I’m assuming you’ve at least read my introductory post, so I’ll just jump right in today and talk about the panelists’ views on submitting and submitting and submitting and…
One of the main lessons stressed by all of the presenters on this panel is that you should submit and submit often. One of the presenters says there is no better time to submit your work than today because, “It’s best to begin the process of being rejected” sooner rather later.
Don’t avoid submitting your work because you don’t think it’s good enough to be published yet. Instead, submit everything and accept the fact that you will be rejected. Most of us would rather be rejected by a lover than by a publisher, but we have to remember that rejection is just a part of the writer’s life.
Besides, not every story you submit will be what the journal is looking for that month. You never know who is sitting on each particular review board. The readers who review your short story at a given literary journal one month may not be the same people reviewing those stories in the next submission period. At times, your work may be rejected simply because your story doesn’t suit the particular tastes of this month’s review board.
You may have one story that is rejected repeatedly by a particular journal before it is finally published. Maybe you worked on the story and refined it between submission periods, maybe you didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t anything you did to the story that finally got it accepted. Maybe your acceptance came down to a simple editorial staff change. You may never know why a particular literary journal accepted or rejected your work. All you can do is keep trying.
One of the presenters also said, “Short stories pave the way for your first novel.”
Keep sending out your short stories while you write your novel. Start with “crappy little regional magazines” just to get published, then work your way up so you’ll be able to point backward and show where you’ve been published. It’s better to be able to say you’ve been published in one of those crappy little regional magazines than to not be able to say you’ve ever been published at all. This will come in handy when writing query letters, which I’ll go into more detail on in my next post.
Where do you submit your short stories? Have you published any yet? Please comment below.
Note: This blog post is based on an AWP 2012 Conference and Book Fair session I attended, which is titled, “Now That’s a Novel Idea: Marketability (Gasp!) and Creative Writing Programs.” The session was held in the Continental A ballroom on the lobby level of the Hilton Chicago. Presenters included Jessica Pitchford, Brock Clarke, Leah Stewart, Mark Winegardner, and Susan Finch. If you were at the event or are one of these presenters and can help me attribute the quotes I mentioned here, please let me know so I can update the post. Check out my first post on this session for more details.
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