How it Gets Done
When a story is finished and I’ve edited it from a horrible mess into a finished product, I have to do something with it. I can’t just let it sit idle on my hard drive. I wrote the damn thing, it should be out working for me, now! So, I line up some professional markets to send it to. You need to start at the top, after all. If you send it to a free market that grabs it up immediately, you will start to wonder if maybe a pro market would’ve wanted it.
I have 2-3 markets that will get a new story.
– Clarkesworld almost always gets a story first, but sometimes they may get it second. They have a cool online submission engine (created by the editor) so you can impatiently track your story, and generally the editor gets your rejection right out to you in a day or so. They only accept 12 stories a year, so the odds are stacked pretty high against you.
– If it’s a science fiction story (which, admittedly, is most of what I write), then it will go to Lightspeed. It uses the same submission engine as Clarkesworld, and the editor there usually gets your rejection out in several days.
– If it’s a fantasy story, then it will go to Fantasy. Since it is a sister publication of Lightspeed (and edited by the same person, John Joseph Adams), they use the same online engine that Lightspeed uses. They also get your rejection out pretty quick.
After that, I then start looking for publications that won’t take forever. Typically, its only been 3-5 days since the original submission, so I have some satisfaction that its on the market and being rejected, and now I can find a market for it that may take longer to get to it. Some of my stories have been out there a while, but I just keep moving along and hope to eventually hear back on them. “Goliath” so far is the longest waiting story, sitting in the slush pile at one of my favorite publications for 195 days now.
Ugh, has it been that long?
So, when I started sending out “Lifestealer” a few weeks ago, it first went to Lightspeed and then to Clarkesworld. Of course, both kicked it back at me. So I went looking for someone else to send it to. I rolled across Ray Gun Revival and after thinking about it a bit, I decided they were worth a shot. They also have a cool online submission engine that allows you to compulsively track your story. After a little bit of work, I had the story in their system and the waiting set in. After a few days, it moved to a new status that explained that a slush reader had read the story, and it had been passed onto an editor. Oooh, that sounded promising.
Well, 10 days after submission, I get this in an email…
Dear Joseph Giddings,
We are pleased to tell you that we have decided to publish your story “Lifestealer” in Ray Gun Revival magazine!
I should mention that the Slushmasters said: “Good action, lots of twists. I’d like to see more stories based on these characters.”
We will contact you again when we know the date of publication. For now, congratulations and we look forward to seeing more of your work!
Overlord, RGR magazine
I was in the store when that email came across. I had to stop in the aisle and read it several times before I believed it. RGR had taken my story! And on top of that, it had been on the market all of 18 days and RGR was only the third market it had been to. Yay!
Other stories haven’t been as lucky, having been to 5 or more, some even getting to 10, and still going, looking for a home. But, I keep working at it, and soon they will find homes.
I wrote a new story this morning called “Don’t Shoot the Messenger.” It rang in just shy of 1500 words, but after revision will likely be larger. Also, two more stories need editing so I can get them on the market. I may work on a new adventure for the characters in “Lifestealer,” since the folks at RGR mentioned it. 🙂