Quandary

I have–rather, I had–I dilemma. This post isn’t about the dilemma itself, but rather my joy over how I found my solution.

If you’ve been following my Twitter lately, you’ll know that I’m making an effort to resubmit my rather shameful backlog of returned stories in order to keep them in circulation. It’s quite the shell game, making sure you’re resending stories to Plan B, Plan C, Plan Q markets while making sure it fits their varied guidelines and submissions periods.

Now, I believe in the conventional wisdom–sub to top markets first, then work your way down. I don’t always follow it, but I believe in it. Me, I consider all of the following when I decide where to submit a story:

  • Pay Rates–just like the conventional wisdom says.
  • “Street Cred”–I wasn’t paid for my one piece on McSweeney’s, yet it’s been worth its weight in gold, as I found when I mentioned it to other pro writers at a recent conference
  • Story Fit–only 2-3 stories I’ve ever written might have almost, possibly, if you squint your eyes, be appropriate for Analog)
  • Timing of their submissions period.

I don’t like having to make Story Fit and Timing my primary criteria. I get there sometimes when I feel I have to choose between (getting rejected by) a top-paying pro-zine or high “street cred” market that isn’t taking subs until next month, or a market that might not pay quite as high in either area but that’s taking subs now. That’s where I am with one particular piece. I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say that I’d been asking myself the question of “How small of a market is too small?”

Then, checking my backlog (another backlog–gee, there isn’t a pattern, is there?) of unread Google Reader items, I found that John Scalzi, Cat Valente, and Sarah Monette all have different takes on my quandary, all posted over the last few days.

I rush to point out–none of these positions are wrong! They gave me a lot to consider, and now I’ve decided that the story in question isn’t going to do me any good whatever sitting in my trunk.

6 thoughts on “Quandary”

  1. Heya, Famine. Blogstalking.

    I used to have a goal to have 40 pieces out at one time. Some big pieces, some great mags, some smaller mags, Twit Fics, whatever. It kept me on task like you wouldn't believe! And then I started focusing on The Novel, and my subs count is somewhere around 12 or so. Ugh. So rock on! Hopefully your drive will inspire me to pull myself out of this lazy slump.

    -Mercedes

  2. Wow, that's quite the goal! If you pulled that off, even for the smallest length of time, I'm very impressed. I can hardly believe I have 5 pieces (soon 6) out at once.

    I have a pipe-dream of an output like Bradbury's, who drafted one story/week. One day, maybe…

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