As I said in an earlier post, I decided to bite the bullet and send out most of those stories I’ve been holding back for that final polish that never quite seems to get done. I’m shooting for semipro markets for the most part with these and I’ve been doing minor edits between submissions when an editor notes a flaw in his or her rejection (so far, such comments, while rare, have been very helpful).
Since December, I’ve logged 61 submissions and received 42 decisions. 38 rejections, 4 acceptances, as follows:
“The Last Liverbeast” appears as the featured fiction piece in the March issue of A Fly in Amber. This was a short story I wrote after attending James Gunn’s Intensive Workshop in Science Fiction. The main character is a mini-tribute to two instructors, Kij Johnson and Chris McKitterick, who were so helpful and companionable.
“A Conversation With Mother”, my first flash fiction is slated to appear in the April Flash Me Magazine. This is a story I submitted to their online flash fiction workshop and reworked based on instructor and student comments. It’s a much cleaner story now. They liked the result enough to ask for it for the magazine.
“She Thinks of the Moon” will appear this spring in Sage of Consciousness. This is a mainstream short story written for a creative writing class I took at Indiana University a few years back. I brushed it up and sent it off. It’s a little overwritten, but has some nice moments.
“Monster in the Making”, a 100 word story, has been accepted for Flashshot. This was another story I wrote for the creative writing class, then later broke into pieces and trimmed into flash pieces. A Flash Me Magazine flash fiction workshop instructor suggested I distill this piece down even further (from 350 to 100 words) and try it at Flashshot. Looks like she knew what she was talking about.
As things stand, my accept rate is just under 10% since I began this effort. That’s not great, but it does get some of these stories out of that nag bin at the back of my mind. I do have more ambitious stories that I’ll be marketing soon. In particular, I’m hopeful of selling a few of my purple chin cycle, a near future scenario where the religious right and genetic advances have generated a whole new concept of socialized medicine. I got some nice comments from F&SF with my first one and a personal rejection from Sheila at Asimov’s, so I’m on the right track at least. A little more complication and amping up of the language and they may just go.
Meanwhile I’m finishing the polish round of our epic fantasy novel (working title: The Last Maker). One chapter to go, then back for some small to medium changes suggested by our workshops. Then off to the agent. Wish us luck!
If anyone would like to volunteer to first-read the behemoth manuscript for us (around 200,000 words), let me know via a comment or e-mail and I’ll be happy to arrange that. We could use a few fresh reactions from dedicated epic fantasy readers. This is not your typical fantasy world (we feature elephants and an odd sort of magic that involves body fat), but is designed to deliver the epic experience.