Brenda Cooper: Selling

Welcome to the fourth installment of Adventures in Writing.  This is the last post in this series. I want to stop a minute and thank Shaun for doing this, and for letting me finish it out while he’s busy with life.  Thanks, Shaun!

Last week, I talked about two requests for change, one on a promotional article and one on a book outline.  I finished the article, and it was accepted.  It’s better, too.  The book outline is stuck in the back of my head and I can’t quite pry it loose yet.  Maybe timing.  Maybe it’s just because there is so much other stuff I’m doing, and no matter how hard I try, I’m not superwoman.

The story I was working on for Shine  last week is done, and got a thumbs –up from my writing group.  Two out of my ten ideas for this story demanded being written, and so I’m 6500 words into a new one (but to be fair, it’s been a week and half since I wrote the last post).  It feels good to be so excited about a story.  

Copyedits for WINGS OF CREATION, the next book in my series with Tor, dropped onto the kitchen table by owl-post and are due roughly yesterday.  I’m over halfway done, and have probably removed one thousand words and answered fifty questions so far.  I really wonder how extra words, stupid mistakes, and grammar gaffes got all the way through the four or five reads this thing has already had.  Sigh.

On the life side, the only down bit has been that work has been really busy and not a forty hour a week job.  At least the weather has been horrid, which has meant no temptations.

Last week, I talked about revising.  So you’re done.  Now what?

Let’s assume you have committed short story.  First, you’re lucky.  There are a lot of short story markets.  Hopefully you already know that.  I’m discovering new ones all the time.  If you don’t already have a target market for your story in mind, drop by and while you’re at it, leave a small donation for this lovely service. It’s not a pretty website, but it’s probably the best market list.  A few tips on picking markets:

  • Don’t send to a market that’s completely wrong for your story and says so.  If you wrote high fantasy, don’t send it to a market that only wants science fiction. 
  • Don’t sweat whether or not the market is completely right for your story.  That’s the editor’s job.
  • Start with the highest paying markets for your story and work down the list (unless you have a favorite for some other reason).

Check for proper manuscript format.  Then take the extra step and check for the manuscript format your chosen editor wants (you probably won’t ever get in trouble for using standard format, but you might get extra brownie points for getting the house preferred format right – but don’t obsess here).  Send.  Or mail, although snail mail venues are becoming few and far between.  Chances are good you’ll submit electronically.

Wait.  Really, you may wait awhile.  It doesn’t mean anything except that the editor is doing something else.   Write another story.  Maybe a few more.  Get a rejection (or not).  Rinse. Repeat.  Until you don’t get a rejection.    By now, you might have ten stories in the mail.

When you get an acceptance, party.  Be happy.  Take a moment and celebrate.  You lived through rejection, right?  You bucked up?  You put it back in the mail even after the fifth of fifteenth rejection, even though you barely believed that rejection isn’t personal at that point (It feels personal).

Again, I feel compelled to mention that there is no one right way to write.  There are some truisms on this part, though.  Editors very seldom buy stories you don’t send out.  Like, almost never. 

If you miss me being here, drop by for new posts on a variety of topics.

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