Getting started is often the hardest part. It definitely was the case for me submitting short stories. I’d already submitted a few, and I’d received some personalized rejections, which was encouraging. For my non-writing readers, there really is such a thing as a good “no.”
Despite this fact, it was hard for me to pull the trigger for publications that would earn me membership into the Science Fiction Writers’ Association. I figure that I will dramatically increase my odds of getting an agent with that feather in my cap, yet I wasn’t submitting.
Finally I got disgusted enough at my own inaction to do something. I created a spreadsheet of all the eligible publications, what they looked for, their submission periods, the suitability of my work, and which short story would be the best fit. I also added in a couple contests focusing on science fiction. Once again, lists to the rescue. That made everything so clear.
With that in place, I kept up the list making by finding a few other publications that might take a short story that I love which is outside the sci fi genre. I think it is one of my best. It’s tag line could be “a heartwarming tale of murder.”
Specifics in hand, I added submission dates to my calendar. If I schedule it, it will happen.
My final step was to recruit DH2U’s mom as a beta reader for the short stories. Her feedback has already made my stories tighter as a result.
Right now I have two short stories out, and two more scheduled for this month. Wait times are long, but at least they all have sophisticated online submission programs so I can check the status. These are big time, though. The first story in this group went to a magazine that had 400 submissions in their last open period and only accepted two. That means my odds are good, right?
At least with my trusty calendar I will keep moving forward and be ready when things take off. In the meanwhile I continue to spend my lunch hours writing. Luck favors the prepared. I’m betting on it!