Month: December 2010

2010 in Writing.

It encourages me when I add up the actual numbers, so I’m going to to that more often. I feel like I don’t accomplish anything, looking at it on a day-to-day basis, because I always plan to get more done, and fail. Ah, brains. They’re funny that way.

Short Stories in 2010
Short stories written: 24 (approx 85K words)
Short stories submitted: 27.
Short story rejections: 72.
Short story acceptances: 3.
Short stories published: 2.

Novels in 2010:
Novels written: 5 (237K) (3 novels under 40K).
Novels submitted: 4.
Novel rejections: 19 (subpar!).
Novel acceptances: 1.
Novels published: 1.

Murder Mystery Games in 2010
MM Games written: 1 (about 10K, still being edited).
MM Games submitted: 2 (including one proposal).
MM Games accepted to be written 2 (including one proposal).
MM Games published: 0.

Nonfiction Work For Hire in 2010
Articles sold: 11 (about 10.5K).
Books written: 3 (about 109.5K; one of the books is in Draft 0 form and needs another 5K or so that I’ll do over the weekend and send up for editing/review).
Books published: 0.

Total wordcount: About 452K, almost half a million @#$%^&* words.

Gross writing income:  Less than $3K received (about half again that much due); over half of that was past royalties from the murder mystery games.  I have sold over 1000 of them as of this year.

Conclusion:  I can do the work, but I need to get paid more.  Lee has been awesome in helping supporting me.  I am living mostly on credit cards and will break into my 401K if necessary.  I can do this.

Best Books of 2010

All, I have a request. This is the time of year that I gather a lot of my TBR list for the next year (I throw it all on a wish list and check my library as the current stack gets low).

What were 10 best books that you read in 2010? They don’t have to be books published in 2010, but I’d like to have books that you first read in 2010, not books that you’ve loved for years (that’s a discussion for a different day).

I read a LOT more fiction than anything else (except maybe cookbooks), but I’ll try anything.

Here are mine, in no particular order:

–Joe Hill’s Horns
–Neal Stephenson’s Anathem
–Justin Cronin’s The Passage
–The Popul Vuh (Mayan mythology)
–Dan Wells’ I Am Not a Serial Killer
–Leslie Halse Anderson’s Speak
–Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue
–Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey (I just typed Shakes of Milk and Honey…drooling now)
–Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate trilogy (so far)
–Carol Berg’s The Spirit Lens

What have you got?

Christmas De-light

I don’t usually do holiday commemorative posts, unless it’s “here’s the recipes for the food we ate” kind of thing, and then I usually put them up on my food blog.  The reason for this is that holidays are usually either a) satisfying in a boring kind of way, or b) difficult to talk about.

I don’t like Christmas as much as I like Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is all about food; I get that.  I have a more difficult relationship with Christmas.

I’m not a Christian any more, yet I celebrate the holiday.  I struggled with the “what are you anyway” question for a long time.  I think I’ve ended up in the agnostic category.

I don’t think humans are smart enough to know the truth about the universe, the same way we’re not smart enough to count all the stars in the sky with a glance.  I mean, we might get proof of cosmic divinity or we might get proof of the GUT, but we’ll never be able to grasp it.  We’re lacking something; “smartness” might not even be what we lack.  I feel like humanity is that group of blind man feeling an elephant, each one describing what it feels, but unable to see the whole.

“Jesus is the truth!”

“There is no god!”

“The supreme being is Pan!”

“Flying Spaghetti Monster!”

I don’t think we can know.  I think we all have a piece of the truth, but I don’t think we can put them together in a significantly “true” fashion.  All I know is that, whatever there is, I will do what’s needed of me.  Something I can know, down to my bones, is whether I have acted in accordance with the belief that joy is better than pain, and if there is a capital-G God, then he may do with me as he wills, as long as there is more joy in the world because of me.  Ditto for the laws of physics, fate, etc.

So what am I doing, getting ready to celebrate Christmas?  Isn’t it disrespectful to celebrate a holiday of a religion whose creed I cannot profess?

One, it’s how I grew up.

Two, lack of sunlight makes me tired and sad, and this is the darkest part of the year.  I need lights and good cheer.

Three, once you scrape off the hypocrisy (St. Paul my @$$), Jesus was a good guy.  “Play nice” is a good spiritual path.

Four, Santa Claus was also a good guy.

Once you get past the age of “me me me,” the very best part of Christmas is being able to give other people things. (Obligatory gifts still suck, I must say.)  Whether you’re the type to give people presents or send donations to charity or spend the day working in a soup kitchen or volunteering at church, Christmas becomes a day to say, “This is for you.”

A day to delight someone else.

And so, whether Christmas makes you miserable or makes your head spin ’round with collecting ornaments, please take a moment to consider the things that have given you the most delight in this life, even if it’s sniggering at someone else being an idiot.*

*I’m looking at you, Celina.

What do the editors want?

I had a writer ask me this question in my slush queue, after I rejected his story.  (I told him the story wasn’t what the editor was probably looking for and it had some other issues, which I gave him my opinion on, briefly.)

I thought other writers might get something out of the answer, so I’m going to post it here, too.  One of the reasons I started reading slush (for free) for Apex was that I wanted to learn how to write better by seeing thing from a different perspective; this is one of the things I’m working on.

Determining what stories a market will publish is one of the Great Arts of writing short fiction.  I have not yet mastered it myself.  The main way to do it–and I’m not speaking as a slush editor here but as a writer–is to read stories in the magazine.

In addition, each editor at each magazine is different, and they change.  Many editors are also writers; I also recommend reading their work as well.  Often the editors will leave a trail of breadcrumbs in the form of “Writers who we admire” or some such in an interview.  There are a lot of good interviews containing that question housed on Duotrope.com.

This is not something you can do all at one time, as you prepare to send stories out to each market, unless you only have one story you’re submitting!  This is something to do over time in order to become a professional-level writer.

I’m still working on it myself.

In short – you can read as many submission guidelines as you want, but only first-hand experience with stories can give you a solid idea of what will sell.

New Years’ Noodling

I take New Years’ Resolutions semi-seriously; I treat it as a chance to stop and assess where I am as a writer. I don’t usually post about my goals, though, not because they’re private, but because I have felt that I’m not good enough at writing to possibly succeed at the wild goals I have.

The hell with that.

Last year’s goal: quit my day job and find out whether I want to be a freelance writer. It would be nice to make money at it, but I wanted to give myself half a year just to find out whether I liked it.

Goal: success. Also, I like it. Money: Spent it. Things started to pick up in November, but not enough.

This year: Break even as a freelance writer (that is, make enough money to live on).

I have established that I need to make about $1800/month to scrape by. Doing more than scraping by is highly desirable, but that is not the goal at this point.

I have also established that, fiction aside, I get ignored or turned down on what I bid at least 90% of the time, unless I have a track record with that market/client.

Thus, I need to be bidding on about $18,000 in projects, about 2-3 months ahead of time, in order to make that goal, unless I already have (paying) work penciled in.

The good news for January is that I already have $1900 in projects in. However, for February, there is nothing yet.

I have also determined that I am deathly afraid of pitching queries to magazines. This has got to stop. This year’s non-fiction goal includes mailing out at least one magazine/journal/newspaper/serial/website query per week. I’m going to arbitrarily assign the value of $200 per query to my bidding total, until I get a better idea of what the rates are, etc. Also, it sounds like the likelihood is high that I’ll pitch for a feature-length article and get assigned a tidbit-length article instead.

If you have good magazine article tips, let me have ’em.

I’m going to go back to writing a short story a week, starting January 1. I want to get 50 new stories out this year, and keep all unpublished stories in the mail until I determine I want to epublish them, at which point I have to epublish them to get them off my subs list.

Dean Wesley Smith has a good blog up on what he calls the “Race” and the “eRace.”

His article is more cogent, but I realize that you have no motivation to read it at this point, and I’m afraid I’ll space the rules, so I’ll put them up here:

Race: Short story in the mail – 1 point.
Fiction chapters/synopsis in the mail – 3 points.
Whole novel completed and in the mail – 8 points.

eRace: Short story available for sale online – 1 point.
Short story collection available for sale online – 3 points.
Novel (or novella, novellette – longer fiction) available for sale online – 5 points.

He’s been running this with various authors and says on the “Race” that when you’re at 50 points or so, you tend to sell regularly.  The “eRace” hasn’t been going for long enough yet to guesstimate.

(I’m at 32 points right now.)

I don’t know if I want to make any novel-writing goals for next year.  My brain is currently tied up with stuff that needs to be revised, so I may actually make a revision goal for next year:  all projects in the mail.

Here are the novels I don’t have in the mail:

  • Chance Damnation (ready to go)
  • Alien Blue (it was in the mail, but the few rejections left feel more like no-answer-forthcoming than anything else)
  • Death Watch (just finished)
  • Iron Road (first draft not even finished)
  • Slaughterhouse Jane (first draft finished…in LONGHAND)
  • Gods of Grey Hill (first novel, needs to have various ideas teased out of it and used for other novels [e.g., Chance Damnation] until there’s only one or two ideas left, and THEN rewritten.  Too Much Stuff)

Getting all those rewritten and out could take all year, but then I wouldn’t be dwelling on the one that got away all the time, which would be nice.

I really want to have Death Watch ready by the time Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference rolls around in late April, and the rest of these rewritten, edited, and out by November, so I can write something new.  I should be able to get Chance Damnation and Alien Blue back out by Jan 1.  The others….hooh.

I’m also writing at least one Choose Your Doom book next year.

And finally, a non-writing goal:

I want to stop getting involved in negativity.  It’s terrible as far as goal statements go, I know, but I am so far from being able to understand the problem that it’s hard to formulate a better goal.

I curse at people when I drive.

I seethe with jealousy when other people succeed.

I get wound up in the injustices of it all, and have days-long conversations in my head about things I can’t control.

I feel put upon and totally shut out other people’s opinions.

I don’t like it; I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of being the kind of person who can’t keep her eye on the goal because she’s pissed off about something.  I’m tired of being the kind of person who spreads anger and resentment around.  I’m tired of not giving a shit when I’m angry.

One of the first things I’m doing is disengaging myself from things that piss me off to no purpose.  I’m trying to avoid getting into discussions that lead to “you’re stupid” “no you’re stupid” arguments.  I’ve walked away from a couple already, and it made me feel both smugly satisfied and good (two different things).  I’m trying to figure out the prettiest, calmest ways to get places, so I don’t have to deal with bad traffic.

So…if you see me walk away from a discussion or ask you not to send me e-mails that add to the amount of snippy anger to the world, no matter how justified they may be, that’s the reason why.  I won’t ask people not to take it personally; I know that until recently, I couldn’t have.  Your opinions are important, but I don’t need to support anger, unfairness, and meanness in their expression – it just sets me off.

I’m choosing to have more peace in my life, and part of that is not holding a grudge when people don’t understand my choices.

It’s @#$%^& hard, though.

P.S. And I can’t say I’m trying to stop all cursing – just the kind that comes out of anger, eh?

Is Steampunk Dead?

I hear this question: Is steampunk dead? (Actually, I hear, “Is it dead yet? Now is it dead yet? How about now?)

I’m going to set aside the issue of whether I like steampunk or not.

I think ~punk will continue to evolve. Other ~punks, like dieselpunk, are shoving their way onto the scene; whether they shove actual steampunk off the stage has yet to be seen and isn’t really important for what I have to say, which, incidentally, includes some not-very-nice things.

  1. Alternate-history fiction is for history buffs. I am not a history buff and find it, generally, annoying. O HAI DETAIL ABOUT LINCOLN WUZ SO CUTE LOLZ!11! WHAT IF THAT DETAIL WERE CHANGED??!!!???!!??!!??? AND EVERYTHING ELSE WUZ ACCURATE!!!1111!!! SQUEEEEEEEE!!!
  2. Steampunk, which started out as fairly nuts and definitely punk, is settling down into a fashion accessory. See Etsy.
  3. The good thing about Steampunk is that it opens the door to grossly inaccurate alternate histories, in which minute, mind-numbing accuracy but for One Vital Point is no longer a requirement. That door opens not just on the Steampunk era but all settings, including fictional ones.
  4. In through this door, for better or worse, came things like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.
  5. And so, while people argue about steampunk, what I would rather see is a celebration of a ~punked alternate history genre. Every movement needs a term, and I think Steampunk is bigger than Steampunk, so I’m going to invent that term now:  history punk.

Steampunk might die out, but hardier I think is the idea that you can screw around with history in ways that are more complex than “What if Hitler won WWII?!!?????”  History is full of stories, and when you’re a punk, you break the stories and make really loud WRONG noises with them.

I hope history punk becomes popular; I’ve been wanting an excuse to finish my story about the post-WWII Nazis invading Iowa with gremlin-run mechs, only to be defeated by Nancy Drew and a quadriplegic version of Val Kilmer.

You may insult my lack of ability to love alternate history….now!

Formatting for Lulu, Part 1.

I’ve formatted three books for Lulu.com now (for private use only), and I’m going to record my lessons here, mostly for my own benefit, because I keep having to look things up!

Lulu.com is a place where you can self-publish your own books; I’ve been using it to make copies of books for gifts.

Part 1 covers the initial set up and text formatting for your book. Part 2 will cover making a book cover and putting it all together.

Update: If you privately create on Lulu (using the private only option), it does not affect your first publishing rights; you have NOT made the book public.  If you publicly create the book so people can buy it from Lulu.com, it DOES affect your first publishing rights and you have “self-published” the book.  This is NOT a guide for self-publishing the book, but for obtaining private copies ONLY.

  1. Go to Lulu.com.
  2. Log in or sign up. (It’s free.)
  3. From the My Lulu tab, select the Dashboard sub-tab.
  4. On the left sidebar, under My Projects | My Project List | Start A New Project select the type of new project you want (e.g., Paperback Book). You will go to the first page of the Content Creation Wizard, Start A New Project.
  5. In the Working Title field, type your title. You can change this later.
  6. In the Author fields, type the name you want to use, either your own or a pseudonym.
  7. Under the What do you want to do with this project? menu, select the radio button that shows the appropriate option. (I select the first option, Keep it private and accessible only to me.)
  8. Click the Save and Continue >> button. The Choose Your Project Options page should appear.
  9. Under Paper, select the desired paper type. Publisher grade is cheaper, but there are only two paper size options. I have used Standard paper only and have liked the quality. If you buy 5+ books, there are discounts for Standard paper books.
  10. Under Size, select the All tab, then select the desired size option. I have used Pocket size and U.S. Trade size. I didn’t care for Pocket size; it was so small and hard to read, because of the stiffness of the book. I haven’t received the U.S. Trade books yet. Note: Some sizes cost more than others.
  11. Under Binding, select the desired binding. I have used Perfect-bound and liked it.
  12. Under Color, select whether you want color pages in the interior (not the cover). You can have a color cover regardless of which option you pick. Note: color is a LOT more expensive.
  13. Click the Save & Continue >> button. You should go to the Add Files page. Note: You can change any of these options later, but your template will depend on your page size; page size is the most important option here.
  14. Under the Add Files | Upload | Before You Upload header, click on the download a template link. This should download a zip file to your computer.
  15. Open the zip file.
  16. Open the folder that has the page size on it.
  17. Save the file with the page size name and template in the file name to your working folder for the project. Note: If you’re using the method of cover creation that I list here, don’t download anything else. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
  18. Open the template file and re-save it as the file for your book (e.g., bookname.lulu.doc). Note: Don’t save MSWord files as .docx; I seem to remember that you can’t use them.
  19. Copy all the text in your story, paste it into the new file, and save it. Close your old file (to make sure you have a clean copy and don’t format the wrong file.)
  20. This is the point where I format my pages:
    1. Note: I use MSWord 2007. I’m going to assume that if you use 2003, etc., you can figure out (or look up) how to do the commands for other versions, etc.  I’m also going to assume that you don’t need a table of contents.  The template will set up page numbering for you.  You can change it and you can add a header with your name/book title on alternate pages, but those are topics for a different day.)
    2. Create a new style in the template called “Text.” I do this by highlighting any text, then selecting Home | Quick Styles bottom arrow | Save Selection as a New Quick Style…, typing “Text” in the name field, then clicking the Modify button.
    3. Modify the Text style as follows: Style for following paragraph Text, Font Garamond, Font Size 11, Justification Justify (both sides aligned), Spacing Single Space; Select Format | Paragraph and set the Indentation | Special Option to First Line 0.2″ and the Spacing Before and After options to 0 pt. At the top of the Paragraph window, select the Line and Page Breaks tab and make sure all Pagination options are unchecked.  Click the OK button.  Note:  for a list of fonts that Lulu.com will accept, click here.
    4. Select all the text in your story by pressing CTRL-A.
    5. In the Quick Styles area, select Text.
    6. Remove all tab characters (you’ve set up an automatic tab that’s smaller and more appropriate for your book).  Press CTRL-F to pull up the Find and Replace window, click the Replace tab, then click More | Special | Tab character.  Make sure the Replace with: field is blank.  Click the Replace All button.
    7. Remove all extra hard carriage returns between paragraphs (you can do a find/replace on this using the steps above, inserting two of the paragraph marks in the Find what: field and one in the Replace with: field).
    8. Change all double spaces (e.g., after colons or periods) to a single space using the find/replace fields.
    9. Change all underlining to italics using the find/replace fields.  Leave both fields blank, but click in the Find what: field and press CTRL-U. Click in the Replace with: field and press CTRL-I.
    10. Replace all soft carriage returns (line breaks) with hard carriage returns using the find/replace fields.  If you don’t, you’ll have huge blanks between words.
    11. Format your chapter headings as follows:  Highlight the chapter heading and select the Heading 1 option from the Quick Styles area.  Right-click Heading 1 and select Modify…  Format Heading 1 as follows:  Style for following paragraph Text, Font Garamond, Font Size 16, Bold, Justification Center; Select Format | Paragraph and select the following:  no indentation, Spacing Before 48 pt After 16 point.  In the Paragraph window, click the Line and Page Breaks tab and make sure the Keep with Next and Page Break Before options are selected.
    12. Click the OK button.
    13. Remove all hard returns between your chapter headings and text.
    14. Remove all special marks (e.g., #) to show scene breaks, using find/replace.
    15. Format your title page.  Type your title, press Enter, type “By”, press Enter, type your name/pseudonym, and press Enter.  From the Insert tab, click the Page Break button.  Highlight all text on your title page.  From the Home tab, select the Title option from the Quick Style area.  Format the Title option as follows:  Style for following paragraph Title, Font Book Antiqua, Font Size 24, Bold, Justification Centered.  Either leave “By” and your name the same size or change them to a 14 pt font.
    16. Format your copyright page, which should go directly after the title page.  In Normal style, type the information at the bottom of this blog post (I was having trouble putting it in the list, so screw it.)
    17. Format your second title page, which should have the name of the book only.  Type the title and format it with Title style.
    18. Insert a blank page after your second title page.
    19. Note:  To insert a dedication, insert TWO pages.  Put the dedication on the odd page and insert a blank page on the even page after that.
    20. Optionally, check that all your chapter headers fall on the right (odd-numbered) side by inserting blank pages at the end of chapters to force even-numbered chapter header pages to odd numbered pages.
    21. Select the Print Preview option from the Quick Access Toolbar and check that all your pages fall as you want them, that you have no strange formatting issues, etc.
  21. Go back to Lulu.com.
  22. Click the Choose File button, choose your file, then select the Upload button to upload it.
  23. Click the Make Print-Ready File >> button. This may take some time as Lulu converts your file.

Congratulations! Your text is now formatted and uploaded.  Part 2 will have how to make a book cover, but I’m sick of being helpful with the type type right now.

Copyright © “YEAR” by “Your Name”
Cover design by “Name Name”
Book design by “Name Name”

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.

Printed in the United States of America

First Printing: “Month YEAR”

Personal Galley Proof: Not for resale

Printed in the United States of America

Brains-eating song

In all honor of Tom T. Hall, I hereby make this satire:

In some of my songs I have casually mentioned
The fact that I like to eat brains
This little song is more to the point
Roll out the corpse and don’t mind the stains…

I like brains. They’re good gray, pink, or pus-rotted yellow!
I like brains. They help me unwind and sometimes they make me feel mellow (makes her feel mell-ow)
Kidney’s are too rough, sirloin costs too much, tripe’s smell still remains
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like brains (she likes brains)

My spouse often frowns when we’re out on the town
And I’m wearing a new pair of arms
He’s sipping Scotch while I’m nibbling a notch
From the neck of a waiter screaming alarms, but…

I like brains. They’re good pink, or pus-rotted yellow!
I like brains. They help me unwind and sometimes they make me feel mellow (makes her feel mell-ow)
Kidney’s are too rough, sirloin costs too much, tripe’s smell still remains
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like brains (she likes brains)

Last night I dreamed that I was gunned down
And my head was removed from my spine
Aw, the gunner saw my brains start to leak down the drain
Tasted them and said they were sublime!  They were quite fiiiiiiiiine!

I like brains. They’re good pink, or pus-rotted yellow!
I like brains. They help me unwind and sometimes they make me feel mellow (makes her feel mell-ow)
Kidney’s are too rough, sirloin costs too much, tripe’s smell still remains
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like brains (she likes brains)

The End of NaNoWriMo 2010

You’re probably not reading this unless you, too, worked on NaNoWriMo this year.

I had a blast; I hope you did, too.

But now, I must analyze and rant.

No, you may not read what I wrote yet.  I mean, you could read it, if you wanted to see what my first drafts look like, but I’m certainly not going to offer, and I’m certainly not going to ask anyone to read it, not even my critique group, at this point, because all that will be said are the things that should be said (“You need to clean this up”) and the things that make me despair of them being said (“This is great!”).  It’s a mess, and I need to clean up that mess before anybody’s comments can get to the meat of what needs/doesn’t need to be fixed.

No, I won’t read your NaNoWriMo first drafts, for the same reason.  Yes, you wrote it; yes, I’m proud of you; no, I would rather read it after it’s cleaned up and you want to know if it’s ready to send out or, even better, after it’s published.  This does not mean that I don’t respect you, but reading people’s ms. in draft is a special gift that I share with my critique partners, because they can survive all my nassssssty criticism and still like me for who I am.

Share drafts only with people you’re comfortable having mock you, and make sure they’re mocking what you want to have mocked.

I have a couple of observations from this year’s slog:

  • I hate reading excerpts (see above).  If it’s not tight enough to be the Quote of the Day, I don’t want to hear it.
  • People are very supportive, even when they shouldn’t be.  If you say, “I didn’t get my word count done essentially because I didn’t feel like it,” there’s a chorus of, “Oh, everyone has days like that.”  Darlin’, I don’t know about you, but mean to be a professional writer, writing professional-level fiction.  The proper response is, “Get the @#$% off the Internet then, dumbass.”  Please don’t encourage me to fail.
  • This is the first year I’ve been freelancing during NaNoWriMo; thus, the first year I had control of my own schedule.  My sweet spot for getting work done is about 4-6K per day with the story.  This requires a certain lack of editing and Internet access and about 4-5 hours.  The few days I wrote around 1,667 words, I was frustrated, because I didn’t make enough progress with the plot to find out what happened next.
  • I’m a plotter, but I went so far off my original outline that I was lost at one point.  Chris Mandeville (at the NaNoTryMo that she speakered) suggested using a calendar instead of an outline and said, “And it really helps when it comes to writing the synopsis.”  It was very useful–it kept me focused on the plot without cutting me off from inventive side journeys.  Not sure how it’ll be with regards to the synopsis.
  • I thought my next step was going to be doing the research that I blithely skipped during drafting, but I now think it’s going to be the synopsis.  The ending is off-kilter, and I’ll feel better knowing I’ve nailed that.
  • You know that horrible feeling of “I didn’t want to come back” that you have after you finish a good book?  Every novel that I’ve finished (including every time I finish an editing pass), I have that feeling.  Unless I’m completely stressed out by something else, it overwhelms me for a few days.  This year, I had to finish a WFH project, so it didn’t hit me until I’d finished that, too.  The depression of being in between stories is this sucking maw of “I have no feelings,” but it’s a sign that you did what you were supposed to do.  Good books make us sad when we leave them; if you’re sad when you finish your draft, you have the core of a good book. That doesn’t mean that you’ve written your book well enough to communicate that goodness to anyone else, though.

Finally, a rant about rejection.  In the interests of science! I’ve been posting my rejections and stats on my short stories on Twitter.  Again, I get a lot of comments of people saying that I shouldn’t give up, it happens to everyone, and if only the editors were smarter they would have bought it.

I thank everyone who has said nice things to me to make me feel supported; I do.  But don’t tell me that the magazine editors aren’t picking the best stories.  They are picking the stories as best they can, for their market.  I’m either writing stories that aren’t good enough, writing stories that are going to the wrong markets, or being beaten by more appropriate stories–a matter of taste.

It’s not my magazine.  The editor’s taste = success/failure of the magazine.  What, I should take away the editors’ ability to do their jobs?  Because I’m THAT good?

I’m not a narcissist (I have many, many other flaws).  I don’t think that my stories are The Best Ever.  I have a long way to go to get from the bottom of the semi-pro level (which is where I think I’m writing at, now) to the pro level.  Yes, part of breaking in is about who you know (but getting to know people in the writing industry is about being talented and professional and following up on opportunities, not about some weird little birthright, so that’s no excuse).

Most of breaking in is about breaking through your own skull, getting rid of the bullshit that tricks you into thinking you’re better than everyone else (or worse; that’s just as bad), and hauling ass.

Do the work.  If you’re not getting the results, don’t do the same thing and whine about your lack of success.

And if I’m not getting the results I want, don’t whine for me!

(This message is as much for me as anybody else, I promise!)

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