1. friendly_meese
    Offline

    friendly_meese Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    34

    it's not the heat, it's the humidity

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by friendly_meese, Jun 18, 2014.

    There is a market with an online submission portal that pays 10 cents a word for fiction between 500 and 1,000 words. I read some of the stories in the publication and decided I could write for them. So I wrote and submitted something and put it out of my mind to wait the eight weeks they take to respond. They bounced my submission in five _days_. And, as is common practice these days, they didn't explain a single thing.

    I went back and re-read the stories they've published. Quite a few are significantly worse than my submission. I had no idea what's going on. So it wasn't the rejection (as superficial people would assume) but the feeling of helplessness that made me curl up into a ball in bed at 7 pm and sleep for nine hours. I actually wanted to stay in bed longer. I didn't want to wake up. And right now I just want to destroy every copy of every piece of fiction and diary I've ever kept and never write a single word again.

    Part of the problem is that I have no value, and am of questionable membership in the human species, because I don't, and can't, have a job. If I don't start to make a living from writing, then I'll spend the rest of my miserable days on a government check, sitting in my room for 16 hours a day staring at a TV set. I don't know whether that would be worth it.
     
  2. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    I get the point about being down after your work is rejected.

    You just need to understand that the editors may have been looking for something specific, and your piece simply did not fill that need.

    It is not necessarily a comment on your ability.

    I think you should find another place that is open for submissions, and send it again. Send to multiple mags.

    I believe that you should keep a piece in circulation until it gets published. It could take a while, but so what!

    Just remember to keep track of what you sent where and when.

    One more thing. Getting rejections has to be a badge of honor. ALL writer's have experienced it. And now you have too. Welcome tot he club.
     
  3. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Not to hit this one too hard, but whether you spend 16 hours per day staring at a TV set or spend it honing your craft as a writer is entirely up to you. JK Rowling was spending her days on a government check, and parleyed that time into one of the most beloved series of recent times. I've spent the last 35 years stealing time whenever I could to further my writing because I had to squeeze it in among a demanding career, children with special needs and other issues. I'm longing to retire so that I'll be able to spend the time on my writing that it deserves.

    Start by reading. Read a lot. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read within your favorite genre and outside of it. Read great literary works, and read pulp fiction. Writing is a craft that not only has to be learned, but can never be completely learned. As my grandfather used to say, "The day you stop learning is the day you die." So read. Not just for entertainment. Pay attention to what the author is doing and how. If you've gotten so caught up in the story you don't have time to focus on such things, go back and read it a second time. Time is the great gift you've been given. Then, when you've gotten an idea of what styles and methods appeal to you the most in your reading, try adapting them to your own purposes and see how that works out. Compare them with what you've read. Where do you fall short? How can you make it better?

    Time is also your friend in that you can spend some on these forums. There are some folks here for whom I have enormous respect and great fondness. Get involved in the discussions. Go to the Writers Workshop and start critiquing others and learn how to critique yourself. Your submissions will be stronger for it.

    And please don't fall into the trap of "if I don't work I have no value". That's a canard invented by those who live off the labor of others.

    Now, off you go. And best of luck. PM me anytime you want to chat.
     
  4. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,228
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Look, I have to be honest here. The last two posters who started topics like this either (a) wanted to stew in their own misery or (b) believed they were superior than the rest of us. They didn't want to listen to any of the advices we gave them, and more or less acted like the publishing company either had some elaborate scheme to crush them or owed them something. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, but my cynical side tells me otherwise. :/ Sorry, but I'm fed up with trying to give advice to people who won't listen. If you're willing to listen, I'll give you the advice you need.

    So, uh, listen to Mike Kobernus and Ed. They have good advice to offer you. As well as others in this forum. :) Good luck!
     
  5. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    This hasn't happened to me (yet) but I can imagine how difficult it must be to not even know why. It's even harder if your self-esteem is a bit broken. It's also why I despise the profit-oriented attitude in publishing, that is all-or-nothing, and the rudeness of not even replying is a part of that. If they spent more money on readers, or even secretaries, surely a sentence or two of some semblance of a reason could be afforded to most rejectees.

    My suggestion would be to get some books on writing and start figuring out how you can improve. Not because of this publisher, they are irrelevant because who knows why they rejected your work (maybe you weren't a match for that publication, maybe you ended up in a slush pile and nobody even read your submission, and maybe you aren't being realistic about your own work. Who knows?). But by working on your writing skills will give you a sense of control and like there's something you can do.

    All of us here have plenty of room for improvement, so this won't be a wasted effort. And remember just how many writers of masterpieces had a terrible time finding someone to recognise their talent. You have plenty of time, many more agents and publishers and many more new stories to write. If you persevere, at some point, someone will honour that. Good luck and don't give up! :)

    ps. And re: not working = having no value. I had a high flying career and then I got sick. That was 20 years of education and hard work wasted, plus now I don't even earn any money anymore and I was on 300K+ per year. I'm lucky to have a very loving and dedicated husband, but my worst nightmare was to be dependant on someone. Be as it may, this rather pathetic turn of events has given me a precious gift of free time to become a writer! When life gives you lemons, make a lemonade. Go on, add plenty of sugar and a few sprigs of mint too ;)

    pps. And switch off the tv, internet is far more entertaining these days :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
    aikoaiko, jannert and Link the Writer like this.
  6. friendly_meese
    Offline

    friendly_meese Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    34
    Thanks to everyone who responded. You have indeed been helpful to whatever I've done to start sorting out my thoughts, although, naturally, I had to do all the heavy lifting myself.

    I thought that I had walked into submission with both eyes wide open. I knew the odds of being published are remote because of the vast number of good writers and the tiny market for their work, but, when you find so many small publications with online submission portals, most of which pay money for accepted work and don't charge submission or reading fees, I figured that submitting stuff would be like getting a free lottery ticket. There was nothing to lose. The way I couldn't handle one simple, unexplained rejection (which I still don't understand) is a major surprise to me.

    I think I'll keep writing simply because I enjoy the act of writing. If I do submit again, I'm going to train myself to forget the submission until and unless I need to double-check for simultaneous. If something gets bounced, I'll put it out of my mind except insofar as that specific publication asks you to wait a period of time before submitting something else.

    There are far worse ways to kill time than by doing something you actually enjoy, which in my case is writing. And a far better writer than me, one of the best in his genre during his generation, was broke all his life despite being published. Yes, Philip K. Dick. I don't pretend to be a more worthy human being than him, so maybe being a writer is just a curse that stays with you all your life, and you have to live with it.
     
    jannert and Link the Writer like this.
  7. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,228
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Now that is what I want to hear. The willingness to keep on writing no matter what. The desire to write just because it's fun. Forget what I said earlier, OP. That was shitty of me. :D Have fun, and if you do intend to publish, I wish you all the best. :) Welcome to our humble abode. And no, you will not escape our grasp.
     
    jannert and EdFromNY like this.
  8. ddavidv
    Offline

    ddavidv Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    My wife and I have adopted six dogs over the years. About 2 years ago, we tried to adopt a dog from a rescue organization. We filled out a online form that must have run 6 pages. We're very dog experienced, and our veterinarian has joked that he would like to come back as one of our dogs when he dies.

    We were rejected, with no explanation.

    I was horribly pissed, annoyed, insulted, offended...and it took me some time to realize that morons are everywhere. They are just part of life. Too bad for that dog that we weren't accepted, but we've had two more fabulous rescues since that time and it's now just a interesting anecdote I can pull out for threads like this one. :p

    Keep writing and submitting. It's sort of like match-making; you're going to go on a lot of first dates before you find one worthwhile.
     
    jannert and jazzabel like this.
  9. criticalsexualmass
    Offline

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky
    When I got my first rejection letter, I was disappointed but also pleased. Sure, I wanted them to buy my story. But it was my first submission anywhere and I didn't expect much. I accepted it as a proof that I was out there. If you aren't writing, you can't be rejected, but that's not the only thing you have to do. I had been writing HARD for a year, and it was a relief to know that I had finally submitted something.

    As for spending your days watching a TV, well, that's a choice, not a requirement.
     
    aikoaiko likes this.
  10. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    Pretty much any market that pays that well is going to be very selective about what it publishes. The pro rate right now starts at $0.05 a word. This place pays twice that. So I'm guessing they get a ton of submissions each month, which is why they don't spend time telling writers why they got rejected.

    In case it makes you feel any better, I've been rejected a number of times (most of us who submit have). I once submitted a short story to a prestigious magazine and never even heard back from them. They didn't even bother telling me that the story was rejected. It happens. You can't dwell on it too much. You have to learn to move on and keep working hard. Good luck.
     
  11. criticalsexualmass
    Offline

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I noticed that too, thirdwind. DailyScienceFiction.com pays like .09 per word for shorter stories, which is good, but to get that rate the story has to be pretty short. So you aren't getting paid well either way. .10 is about the most I've seen
     
  12. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    I do not think it is worth actually writing the short stories for money. It has to be for the practice. To develop the skills necessary to write more, and longer.

    If you get paid, that is awesome. Well done. But if you do not, and you still get something in print, that is just as good.

    However, anything you wrote that missed the mark, do not consign it to the scrap heap. Send it out again. Sure, you can rework it. Tweak it. Maybe you can make it better. Keep it moving, but at the same time write something else.

    I swear to you now that every single short story I write is better than the one that went before. Every time.

    I get better, and eventually, I hope I will be good enough that my work flies out the door straight to a publisher who begs me to write another.

    Until then I keep practicing my chops and the rejections keep piling up. But that's okay. That is what being a writer is. The ability to take a punch and keep moving forward....

    Oh wait...maybe that is what being Rocky is?
     
    aikoaiko likes this.
  13. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    I disagree. You should aim for paying markets each time you submit. I recommend starting at the top (i.e., highest paying/most prestigious markets) and working your way down. There's no reason to sell yourself short. And speaking practically, paid credits are way more important. If you have a bunch of publications in markets that don't pay, it's going to be hard for a publisher to take you seriously as a writer.
     
    jazzabel likes this.
  14. friendly_meese
    Offline

    friendly_meese Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    34
    Several of you touch on an interesting point: non-paying markets. I have avoided them because they somewhat lack credibility with me, and I am also concerned that they wouldn't be viewed as publication credits by other markets. After all, the professional writers' associations not only require a certain number of commercial publication credits, but also a minimum amount of money earned from them, before considering a writer for membership. That must mean something. So I'm still reluctant to submit to markets that pay nothing, or pay only in copies of the issue in which the accepted work is published (especially since paying markets provide free author's copies anyway).

    What do people think?

    EDIT: I posted this at the same time as thirdwind was posting, sorry :)
     
  15. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    My feeling is, it is better to have something published, than nothing.

    I also agree that payed market is better. No question.

    But the unpaid market is not worthless.

    Sure, hit the paying magazines and publishers. But if you do not get accepted, then send them out to the unpaid market anyway. For a struggling new writer, any publishing credit has to be better than none.
     
  16. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,222
    Likes Received:
    4,228
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I might need to disagree with the first sentence. It's better to have something written regardless of whether it's published or not. Not everyone wants to be a published author and that's okay.

    That said, I agree with the rest of your post.
     
  17. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    Link is correct. I was really expressing my own views on writing and publishing. For ME, it is better to have something 'out there' than nothing.

    I can totally see that others might not care, for whatever reason.
     
  18. criticalsexualmass
    Offline

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I'm with you, Mike. Maybe it was just a confidence thing or stupidity on my part, but my bio just felt empty when applying or submitting. I got some stuff published without pay just so I'd have something to go in the "Publishing Credits" section. It's kind of fluff I guess, but it's my fluff and given enough fluff you can stuff a pillow. Which, you know, pillow.
     
  19. Mike Kobernus
    Offline

    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Norway
    Quite so. Fluff, but still, it has value. And I like how you put it. With enough fluff, you can stuff a pillow. Or your Resume! :)
     
  20. friendly_meese
    Offline

    friendly_meese Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    34
    My concern is that non-paying markets might be poorly regarded by paying ones, so that having something published in a non-paying market could be taken by paying markets as a negative that discourages them from accepting a submission. If anyone actually knows about this issue--KNOWS as opposed to speculating--I'd love to hear from you.
     
  21. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    I know it's true. That's why you should only mention relevant publications for which you have received payment (there are a few exceptions, i.e., magazines that don't pay but are prestigious enough to list). Look at it another way: listing paid credits lets people know that an editor thought your work was good enough to actually pay you for it. That's the important thing.
     

Share This Page