Forgive me a brief moment of unprofessionalism …. HOORAY!!!!!!!
Just a quick update on a short story submission:
Submitted: May 2012
Piece: “The One without a Book” (Fantasy)
Publication: Echo Ink Review
Rejected: September 2012
“The One without a Book” didn’t make it. Sadness. But the good folks at Echo Ink Review responded in four months, a whole two months ahead of what I was expecting. So that just means I can send it somewhere else!
Back in March I got two submissions out, two short stories specifically. And I thought I’d post an update about how that is going.
The first submission, a 2,000 word humorous piece called “Drifting” is still with the magazine. I haven’t heard back yet.
The second submission, a 4,600-word fantasy piece called “The One without a Book” came back with some nice comments on it. I submitted it to a funny sounding magazine called Barbaric Yawp. One of the notes simply said they really enjoyed the piece but it was too long. Their word count maximum is 2,000. But then they asked for a shorter piece. So … I wrote a shorter piece with the same tone and sent it off. So now I’m waiting on that.
And in the mean time, I sent “The One without a Book” to another magazine called Echo Ink Review. Their response time is around six months, though.
I’ve got about seven other short stories to edit and then hopefully I’ll have more submissions going out.
In other news, I’m still waiting to hear from True Renditions Magazine (formerly True Story). Also back in March I posted about the situation I’d gotten into with True Story, and a really helpful reader cleared up all the confusion and provided me with an email address for the new owners of the publication. I’ve been forwarded to someone else within the company now, and I’m waiting for an answer. But even if they haven’t responded to my email yet, it’s good to have someone to contact.
That’s about all I know on a Saturday morning. I can’t believe May is here already. I need to post an update on my 2012 goals so everyone can see how far behind I am. =)
Next writing series post will be on secondary characters and sidekicks!
I thought I would post an update on the legal situation with True Story Magazine. I’m still in the beginning phases of this whole ordeal, so I thought it might be a good idea to keep track of everything that happens, not only for my own benefit but for the benefit of anyone who gets to experience the same thing some day.
I submitted a short story I had written called “Chris Maher’s Left Hand” to True Story Magazine in fall 2011. On September 14, 2011, I received an email from someone at Dorchester Media who wanted to accept the story for publication. They offered to pay me if I’d turn over all rights. I’ve been writing for years, but this was the first time I’d submitted a story and had it accepted.
I was slightly concerned about it because I couldn’t find any evidence of the magazine online. But I did some Googling and found enough history about the magazine (and the person I was in contact with), that I decided to go through with it. After all, the story (while it was cute) wasn’t the absolute best thing I’ve ever written, and I didn’t mind giving up the rights for it if I were going to get paid.
I signed the contract and send it back to them, agreeing to sell them the rights to the story for payment. The contract indicated that the story would be published in December 2011 and I could expect to receive payment the month afterward.
December came, and I received two copies of the magazine in the mail with my story in them. The title had been changed (“Caught Left Handed”), and the story was altered only slightly (probably for word count). But it was the story I had written. I was super excited.
Then January came and went.
Then February came, and I still hadn’t received payment.
I figured that they were probably busy, but I went ahead and wrote just for a status check. I didn’t hear anything back.
Then March came. Finally, I decided to start Googling again, and I discovered that True Story Magazine apparently stopped publishing a year ago and only offered an online version. I also discovered that they had pretty much gone under, filed for bankruptcy, and canceled all the subscriptions for all their customers. And from what I gather, there are a number of legal suits against them because they have not refunded the subscription money to many of their customers.
So, I wrote to my contact again. But this time I received an email back saying that her account was no longer functional.
I have a friend who is an editor so I wrote her and asked her opinion, and she recommended that I wait six months and then write them to reclaim my rights to the story. She also gave me a link to the Author’s Guild, which looks like a legal site for writers. I think the six months is a good idea because I’m sure they’re all buried in legal problems, and I agree with my friend that they’re probably not going to squabble over the rights to one goofy little short story.
At this point, I really don’t care if I get paid or not. I just would like to have the rights back so I can submit it somewhere else. If it doesn’t work out, that’s all right. I can always write something else, but it’s difficult not to be discouraged when my first official success turns out to not be so official. =)
I’ve been doing a little digging into e-publishing in hopes of figuring out if that’s the route I want to take with my novels or not. I haven’t submitted to nearly enough agents to give up on that possibility, but the more I think about it, the more I dislike the thoughts of getting involved in traditional publishing culture.
In all honesty, I didn’t write these crazy novels to get rich. That would be nice. I wouldn’t say no. But I wrote them because I had something to say and I had a story to tell, and I could find very few books in the world that actually peaked my interest. I like a specific type of book, one with a lot of complicated plot issues and lots of subplots and really intense character development. Most books I read aren’t complex enough. I try to figure out the way the story is going to end, and most of the time, the story ends far more simply than I imagined. And I am disappointed. A good new example of the type of book I really enjoy is Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. Really satisfying reads, both of them, especially for a schizophrenic mind like mine.
And more and more it’s really difficult to get an agent’s attention. I know there are probably workarounds. And I know it’s a lot about networking. And it’s also very much about selling yourself. And I suck at all of those. I can sell other peoples’ work without any trouble at all, but ask me to promote myself? Yeah. I prefer to hide in a corner and try to convince people I don’t exist. Anonymity is my closest friend. I would rather make the works available to whoever wants them for as cheap as possible and stay in the background while they enjoy a really good, really random read.
I have a Kindle and I take it with me everywhere. I use it every day. And that’s probably the way I’m going to go. I mean, after all, real marketing starts with grass-roots efforts, doesn’t it? Amazon has a pretty easy FAQ on their Kindle Direct Publishing web site. There are a lot of do’s and don’t's and a lot of formats to stick to, which I didn’t know about and will have to reformat everything to suit it. Oh, well. My devotional this morning was on diligence. I guess I can put pen to paper on that and see how it works out.
What really fascinated me was the concept of the Kindle Singles. They’re basically short stories or novellas. I wasn’t sure if they had a word limit or not, and they seem to vary from 5,000 to 30,000 words. So my plan is to try publishing one of my short stories to see how the process works and if it’s successful, I may follow through with a novel . . . or two . . . or three. =) I’ve got plenty to choose from that don’t fit the mold any publisher or agent wants right now, according to my reading and the people I’ve talked to. Actually, they don’t fit any mold.
In other news, I tried entering a self-publishing group’s contest. I thought I should give it a whirl. The contest was through Xulon Press, a Christian type of publishing group. Sounds nice. I’m sure they’re perfectly peachy. I didn’t win the contest, but I thought it was a good shot. I think they hold the contest every year, and the grand prize is a pretty sweet publishing package worth around $8,000.
And I was informed that I will have another piece of work published in February. Not fiction. And really more centered around my day job, but writing is writing, right? I actually get my name on the February edition of Plumbing Engineer with a piece about the domestic water installation in the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City. Yeah. That’s going to look great in my credits . . . . a romantic short story . . . . and a plumbing installation article. Fan-freakin’-tastic. =)