This morning, this author has submitted a story to one of the most prestigious magazines on the planet. My novella, Emi, is winging its way to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, as we speak (or as I type).
Now, let’s not get excited. I think that F&SF is the second longest running magazine of its kind, and possibly the highest selling. This is a huge market. Also, Emi is a little longer than they typically accept and will probably have to be serialised, which is something that they haven’t done since…well, a long time. The only one I actually know of (as a non-reader) is The Gunslinger by Stephen King. So, you see what kind of high expectations the magazine has.
With all that in mind, my chances of getting in are particularly slim. Wafer thin. Leaf on the wind light, and just as easy to blow away.
But, if we don’t try, we don’t succeed, am I right?
If I’m unsuccessful, there is an upcoming open submissions for Tor Books’ novella imprint that I’ll have a go at. That one is similarly unlikely. But after I’ve been rejected by those two, at least I can say that I gave it a go and then move on to other publications.
If any fledgling authors such as myself are reading this, then I hope you take heed of these words. Go big or go home. Try everything. By only going for “smaller” magazines etc, you’re selling yourself short. Let someone else turn down your work, don’t do it for them. You see, a rejection slip isn’t someone saying to you, “this is the worst thing I’ve ever written. You should give up.” Unless, of course, it literally says that. Generally, rejection slips are from someone who has a thousand submissions to get through, who has a very tight criteria to adhere to, and who must, for the sake of their sanity and their job, make pretty quick decisions about the fiction that they accept.
In order to be accepted to a publication, your work has to hit their eye-line at the exact moment that they’ve had their coffee and the sugar from that donut has worked its way into their system. It has to be the right time of day. Not too early that they’re half asleep, not too late that they’ve read a hundred submissions already.
Basically, if the person considering your work is not too tired, not too wired, not trudging through a fictional mire, and ready to hire, then you’re on to a winner.
And if not, then try somewhere else. Or, if you want to be sneaky, then take any advice they give, rewrite, and resubmit to the same place. You never know. Next time, you might hit their sweet spot.
I’ll keep you updated with how it goes.
Thanks for reading, folks.