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  1. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    How many times do you submit your story before trunking it?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by mrieder79, Feb 8, 2019.

    How many different magazines do you submit your story to before shelving it or putting it up on your own website?
     
  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Looking at my essay was making me feel ill - deleted - in memoir bucket for historians.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Supporter

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    I've never submitted short stories but with novels, my plan was to query every single reputable agent. I didn't expect to get rep, so I was working on the second one and was planning to do the same to that.

    I would rather trunk that go with a bad publisher, though.
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I submit like crazy. I've spent years reading many journals and magazines to really know what's out there and who is publishing what. Where you send your work is important. Having a feel for what the magazine publishes is important. There are things you can pick up on that will give you a better sense of where you should submit. Still, it's not easy. Just look at the rejection thread I started when I was new here. It seemed like I was never going to sell a story, but it did happen. It's important to be prolific in terms of both writing and submitting.

    So, well I have some older stories (that were my best at the time) still on submission, I think my new stories are better. What older stories are out there are on there last go-through of the submission process. But if you want to know numbers, it's not unusual for me to try 50-plus magazines and journals for a story. Along the way those stories go through rewrites (sometimes becoming different stories all together). The first short story I wrote that I thought was good enough to submit I sent out to many places over the course of five years. Several rewrites changed the story and made it better, at least good enough to get picked up by a place I really like eventually.

    I have other stories that went out once or twice before I realized they either needed more work or to be shelved. The important thing is to be writing and revising all the time. Stories need to feel fresh. This is my observation from reading these publications. So, it's important to really embrace the current contemporary literary scene, which I would say is a different scene than it was five years ago. I had a story that I thought was pretty good. It got rejected a handful of times before I did a major rewrite. The first few pages were replaced my new ones and I sprinkled ad much of "today" as I could throughout the story. The next place I sent it bought it.

    What you can and will write will always be better than what you have written. That's important to keep in mind while writing and submitting short fiction. Well there is nothing wrong with trying dozens of places, to really have a chance I think you have to know what's out there and revise and submit accordingly as times change. Some writers can get very attached to what they have written which could hold them back.

    That said, I try to have each story out at about five places at a time so long as they allow simultaneous submissions. Some places don't, but if you write enough stories, you sort of temporarily forget about them and everything else on submission. I see nothing wrong with submitting a single story to many places and giving it a real shot. Ten rejections is nothing. Twenty rejections is nothing. There are so many good journals and magazines. Be smart about where you are sending your work. Then submit like crazy and keep your lineup fresh with new works all the time.

    We give up on stories for different reasons at different times. I think when you realize you're becoming or are a better writer, it might be time to let some of the old ones go. I don't shelf a piece because of a certain number of rejections. But I'm also embracing that my newer works are better. They stand a better chance on selling. And I'm far from done writing short stories and publishing. :)
     
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  5. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Deadrats, that is a very comprehensive and helpful answer. My gut reaction is, "how do you have time for all that?" but I already know the answer. I'm very impressed at your determination. Finding magazines has actually been difficult for me. Sure, I find the really popular ones who publish big-name authors, but smaller ones that may be willing to take a chance on someone just getting started are more challenging for me to find. Again, thanks for your reply.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The bigger ones will take a chance on a new writer with a good story. For real. I promise that is true. :) It's super hard and no your first story isn't likely to get accepted. Maybe not even your 10th or 20th. Maybe not ever. But it does happen. Pay attention to the writers' bios. Every now and then you will see it's someone's first story or there aren't as many publishing credits as many writers or there aren't any.

    As for less prestigious publications. Just about every college and university puts out a journal. Some of these can be as hard if not harder to break into than the big ones. But there are a lot of them out there.

    A resource I could not live without is duotrope. It's basically a searchable database of publications. All of them from the big guys to the small ones. There are stats and interviews with editors. It also manages your submissions so it's easy to see at a glance what you have where or what stories you have already submitted to a specific publication.

    I don't think it's a good idea to aim too low. You want to make sure you're submitting and publishing in places you will be proud of. It takes some work, but it's worth it. If you need any help finding specific publications to submit or have specific questions, feel free to message me or just reply here. Happy to help. :)
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If you've written something for publication, I think it's a mistake to put it on your own website. If it's not being accepted and you're out of strategies for improving its odds, it makes more sense to me to put it aside and look at it in a few months/years.

    I say that as someone who has zero personal experience, however. I'm just saying it because it's unlikely to do anything for you on your website, and it might do something for you later, when your skill has increased to the point of improving it again. So I'm arguing against essentially throwing it away.
     
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  8. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    I'd rather have a severely rejected story published in an anthology or ezine before giving up on it completely. After every 10 rejections, I'd shape it up a little and then do it over again. My current short story is a hard sell though.
     
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  9. The Mink

    The Mink Member

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    I handle rejection really badly. After a story has been rejected once I shelve it ( I have brought a couple out and resubmitted them years later - but that is rare).
    I know that this is the wrong thing to do and I should keep finding markets and putting it out there, but I'm too fragile.
    My success rate is about 10% on short stories - 3 accepted out of about 15 that I've submitted out of about ~100 that I have got to third draft
    (Also 2 novels that are solidly second drafted - but I can see that I will never have them in good enough state to let them go)

    My recommendation is to submit each story to at least half a dozen different markets (one after the other) - do as I say, not as I do.

    Good luck out there
     
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  10. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I once made a short film that I entered into a single festival, got rejected, and never did anything with it again. A shame. It was 127 hours 3 years before that film was made. I might try two next time.
     
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  11. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I usually keep submitting until I run out of markets that I think might be a good fit for the story.

    For example, I have a novelette which has eight rejections ranging from form to personalized, along with the Honorable Mention it earned in the Writers of the Future Contest. That's still technically a rejection, though it's perhaps the best rejection I've ever received.

    I don't really have any other markets for it on my radar, so I'm setting it aside for now. Once I'm done with the novel series I'm working on, I might rework the story into a standalone novel. And so the cycle will start over.
     
  12. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

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    Hi,

    My answer would be never trunk(?) a story. This represents effort on your part, so just putting it aside, throwing it away is a waste of that effort. And if you want to be a writer you have to publish - it's sort of a necessary evil. So set yourself a number of submissions whatever it is. When you reach it - start editing for publication, slap a cover and the other bits and pieces on it, and publish in whatever way you can. Make up up your own anthology of your stories, or chuck it on Amazon as a single etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

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    IDK, haven't ever submitted to a mag before.
    Must be a a shorts thing, cause I have only
    ever tried to submit a novel but that was to
    a couple publishers.
    Spoiler: They said no. :D
    I still got it out there (kinda) on my own. :p
     
  14. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I'd probably rather keep revising it until it gets accepted, or until I lose interest and passion for the story. It wouldn't depend on the number of rejections. I think it would rather more depend on whether I can see why it's being rejected and thus what I need to do to fix it, and then it would depend on whether I have it in me to actually revise it. Hence the "until I lose interest and passion for the story."

    I've had 6 rejections so far, one of which came back with a personalised comment. It was the one that requested my query through a twitter pitch though, so I'm not sure if she wasn't just being kind based on that fact. I've got another 14 I've sent and still awaiting replies for.

    From the last query onwards, I'm submitting a rewritten query. I initially marketed it as Adult High Fantasy, then I switched track to YA High Fantasy. The latest query got finally switched to YA High Fantasy Romance (the rewritten query reflects the romance aspect much more strongly too). I'm actually still not sure if it's really YA or Adult - technically it should be adult based on the ages of the characters, but the tone/voice of the piece sounds a lot more YA. The characters' ages are basically never mentioned in the book, so I'm hoping maybe I'll get away with it? Also because a lot of agents usually represent both YA and Adult anyway so I'm guessing if they genuinely liked the story but my query had marketed it with the wrong audience, they'd probably just let me know rather than reject it. I switched it to Fantasy Romance based on the fact that my initial "Fantasy with strong romantic elements" just sounds like I hadn't a clue what genre it should be, and I didn't think that reflected well on me.

    Maybe that's way too many changes based on 6 rejections. I don't know. I have no experience.
     
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  15. Gail

    Gail New Member

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    I submit to every agency in my genre.
     

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