1. picklzzz
    Offline

    picklzzz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Florida

    General and specific confusion!

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by picklzzz, Feb 23, 2012.

    Hi All,

    I just went to a writing conference there, and I was told basically by everyone that to really get published, you have to submit to literary fiction journals. I didn't really even know the difference, to be honest (I'm new to this, really), and from what I understand, the lit fiction is primarily character driven. Now, I've checked into magazines and such of the genre fiction I want to write (mystery, thriller, suspense), and they're much more plot driven. I'm confused as to what I should do.

    Should I:

    a) work on some short stories for literary fiction journals, even if this is not the style I want to practice and get better at?
    b) work on some short stories for thriller/suspense/mystery magazines, which is the style I want to practice and get better at?
    c) do both (a) and (b)
    d) just work on my novel for now, which is 1/3 of the way through, so I don't lose my flow?

    I learned a lot at this conference, but it also made me realize how much competition there is out there and that I don't know what I'm doing! I'm trying to research and find out, but I feel so un-schooled with the way publishing works and what my best strategy is. I want to write mystery novels. That's my main goal. But at the conference, they implied you have to get some publications under your belt, specifically with lit journals.

    What do you all think? Mammamaia? Others?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dubya
    Offline

    Dubya Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
    I can't help you, but can sympathise with your predicament. I wrote a novel on a crazy whim, but by the time I finished my first draft, I had learned something of the time and effort involved, the hoops you have to jump through, and the statistical likelihood of ever being published. Having a full time job working long hours, I decided that until I'm retired, (or made unemployed!), I would treat writing as an enjoyable, (if sometimes infuriating) pastime. I self-published my first novel as an Ebook, which I know will be regarded by many 'proper' writers with great distain, but what the hey. Care factor? Zero! :D
     
  3. Eshpelin Mishtak
    Offline

    Eshpelin Mishtak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with the guys at the conference; publication before the novel is necessary. So that the publishers can depend on you to not screw it up.

    If you ask me, I would say, finish the novel. Forget about it and start writing for mags. Then remember about the novel after a lot of days and dig it up. Re-read it and fix the mistakes; and have it published :D

    Thats the best way, trust me :D
     
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Write about the things that interest you. It doesn't matter the genre the stories fall under. There's a market for pretty much everything. I also agree that getting stories published is a great way to start a writing career. And while working on the short stories, you can work on the novel as well.
     
  5. Jamez
    Offline

    Jamez Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I don't buy that as a black-and-white statement. I'm sure that it would be beneficial to your reputation with if you have published short stories before, but it doesn't buy them any guarantees with regards to your ability to finish a full fledged novel. Plus, there are several A-list writers who have never in their live published a short story...
     
  6. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    what conference, where?

    attendees, or the supposed experts giving out advice?

    the validity of that advice depends on what they meant by 'literary fiction journals'... you should have asked for clarification...

    you should submit to the venues that publish the kind of stories you write... period!

    that said, all 'literary journals' do not publish 'literary' works exclusively... for instance, 'glimmer train' is one of the most popular 'literary magazines' and it publishes genre fiction, as well as what could be called 'literary' works, while the 'new yorker' sticks more to that latter, rather uppity kind of stuff...

    google for the 'top literary magazines' and check out their contents and submission guidelines... you'll find a wide range of genres, along with the 'literary'...

    Should I:

    only if that's what you're really passionate about writing... otherwise, why waste time you should be spending on perfecting what you are driven to write?...

    that's a given!

    see above...

    probably... but when you need a break from non-stop work on that [which you most likely will], then keep submitting your short stories to the mags that take that genre, while working on improving your writing skills, if they're not yet honed to perfection...

    it's always useful to find out what you don't know!...

    see above for what i think... good luck!

    love and hugs, 'mamma'
     
  7. MVP
    Offline

    MVP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    6
    Publishing in a journal will demonstrate your commitment to the craft, and it will be good practice for you to develop your writing. It can't hurt you, and it can be encouraging for you, to see your work in print. Keep in mind it is also a rob peter to pay paul, every moment you spend on a piece for a journal submission, is time away from your WIP. Only you can decide if it is worth that time. Publishing in a journal can give you a networking advantage. The publishing world is tight, if someone at the journal feels your work is awesome, they may have a friend that is an agent, and your work could make it to the top of that agent's desk.

    Work on your true WIP. There will be times when you are out or reading an article, and an idea will pop in your head, make that idea your short for a journal submission.

    Be careful with that assumption. Their advice didn't blossom into thin air, they are telling you that, because someone told them that. And someone told them that, because their writing isn't publication worthy, and they took the opportunity to criticize you since someone criticized them. This doesn't mean your writing is at the same level as theirs. Write like hell, polish it up and get your own critiques. Don't let other people play the 'misery loves company' game with you. If writing makes your day enjoyable, than write.
     
  8. picklzzz
    Offline

    picklzzz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank you all for such great advice! Now, how do you know your work is publication-worthy? That's where I keep getting stumped. I keep thinking my ideas aren't good enough, or my implementation isn't great. I did write one I thought was amazing, and it got turned down right away. However, I'm thinking of sprucing it up and submitting it elsewhere. It's really hard to know, but I guess you have to try to really know, right?
     
  9. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    You keep revising until you feel it's the best you can do. After that you submit and hope for the best. Different editors have different tastes, so a rejection doesn't necessarily mean your story is bad. It just means the editor didn't think it was a good fit for the magazine. Just keep submitting, and don't give up.
     
  10. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I am no expert at this, obviously, but my writing would be nowhere now if it wasn't for about, more or less 200 000 words of short stories, a novella and non-fiction essays, which I wrote over the last 5 years. It never occurred to me to send them to lit magazines but they were published and read on the blog, and that feedback was invaluable.

    I don't think every successful writer must publish in magazines (pretty sure jk rowling never did) but every successful writer went through years and years of practice and more or less unsuccessful projects, only to emerge from all that with a skill to write a really good manuscript.
    It's all about how good your novel is (once you write it). If it's really, really good, you can come out of nowhere, send it to publishers and even if 99 refuse to look at it because they googled your name and nothing came up, still, that 1 who reads it, will recognise it's quality.

    That's the ultimate goal - writing an undeniably good novel. Not how well known you are on the circuit (writing conferences, lit mags etc). But if you feel it would motivate you and be useful in teaching you writing skills (through sheer practice) then you might as well, as long as it's free to submit.
     

Share This Page