Sunday, 26 January 2020

Buy signals & bye bye signals

In my look back over 2019 I commented that I had ended up with an unusual number of submissions marked as 'Pending, Held for Consideration' on the Grinder.

Well, how those numbers have fallen.

Some of them I had limited faith in.  Two still cling on - no names, no pack drill - although they fall very much into the category of 'didn't make the cut for this issue, but if there's ever a volume two maybe we'll consider it'.  I doubt there ever will be a volume two, and I've been provided with no certainty even if there is, but their entries remain officially open for the moment. 

Another two submissions were of the same story to the same publisher: Crone Girl Press.  One clearly made it over some hurdles for 'Coppice and Brake' but fell before the finish, the other (which CGP asked, unbidden, to hold for a second volume of 'Stories We Tell After Midnight')... well, maybe there won't be a second volume, or maybe it got trampled on by a weight of better material.  Guess I'll never know.

Also changed to 'Rejection- form', a reprint of My Avatar has an Avatar, which Frozen Wavelets liked, just not enough.  A common enough response.

But, the sixth... well, delighted to say that Daily Science Fiction have taken my tale of an android finding out the meaning of irony the hard way, 'Audit's Abacus'.  First sale of 2020, and it's not the only buy signal that I've had so far - but I'm hardly going to jinx matters by telling you, am I?

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

End of term report

Another year, another glance over my shoulder at the trail of chaos and confusion in my wake.

Last year, I didn't set myself a target of a short story submission a day, so there's no shame in only managing 206 in 2019.  As regards results, the year saw seven acceptances, 162 form rejections, and 29 with something nice to say alongside a firm 'no'.  Twenty-eight remain out in the ether, a herd of editorial Schrodinger's Cats, with an unusually high proportion (six) of 'held pending consideration', although I doubt more than a couple will bear fruit.

So, on the face of it, a good year, and the primary target of three pieces sold achieved in spades.  But, when you consider what those pieces were and where they went:

Two drabbles, three pieces around 1000 words, and only two proper short stories.  All new material, granted, but that's still barely 11,000 words in a year.  Hardly Proust.  And, having written ten stories in the year, I'm still selling them slower than I'm writing them.

Plus, when looked at through the prism of my acknowledged need to get published in more professional, higher paying, greater circulating, more prestigious places - with all respect to the semi-pro venues listed here - it's not been a roaring success.

As part of that strategy, feeling that I at least had a sense of what the Writers of the Future were after, I went all out after that glittering prize, garnering two silver honourables, and two unplaced.  One of the latter pair really stuck in the craw, as I felt it architect-designed for them, but them's the breaks...  

In addition to those above, 'The Loimaa Protocol', sold in 2018, appeared back in the Spring.  And 'May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door', also sold in 2018, remains slated to appear on Abyss and Apex sometime this year - and caused a minor ruffle when they chased for a signed contract, with ominous tones of 'if we don't hear from you rapidly', a year after I'd actually returned the paperwork.

Three other targets: to sell a novel, write a novel, and publish a novel.  In roughly that non-intuitive order.  Might as well sell what I've already written whilst writing more.  Right?

Less said the better on all fronts.  Irons remain in the fire on my YA Harry Potter-meets-Doctor Who novel, which I just want someone to love as much as I do, but that hasn't shown any signs of life in a while.  It remains out with a small number of agents and publishers - here's hoping that somebody lifted it off the slush pile whilst in a good mood this Yuletide.

As for my dark sci-fi thriller 'Toefoot', it's drifted along from 18,800 words to 33,000 words.  I'm in that long dark tunnel known as act two with little sign of any light at the end.  Ideas for short stories are too frequent and too enticing, and I keep reverting to the short form.  That or working for money, which is also a constant fly in my ointment.

And, as for taking the easy way out and publishing direct to Kindle, I'm still clinging to the hope that somehow a proper imprint will come along and save me from being my own publisher.

I can dream, can't I?  It's that time of year.