Submission, mission, what’s your vision?
Sending in stories and getting accepted.
If that came across as something you sang, as if you were part of school house rock – congratulations. Your mind works like mine does. Honestly not 100% sure that is something to congratulate you on, but trying to be positive (for a change).
As I work to navigate the realm of submitting my latest short story (The Dead Kennedys) for publication, I am learning quite a bit. Let us discuss some of the things I am taking away from the process, shall we?
- To most publishers the term “Short Story” means a maximum of 6000 words. For some publications it is capped at half that. While I am sure that it is entirely possible to tell a riveting story in 6000 or fewer words, my current work is 8100, and under 3000? Come on, are you writing in emojis? Zero chance I am going to be able to shave 1/3 of the story from mine and it be worth reading.
- Just because a publication/company says they are accepting submissions, doesn’t mean they are accepting submissions. So far 100% of the rejection emails I have received have stated something to the effect of “We are not accepting submissions at this time.” or “Thank you for the submission. We have more works currently than we can use in the foreseeable future.”
- Don’t be in a hurry! Most organizations tell you, “You will hear from us within 6 months IF we are going to use your work. At this time we are too busy to respond to all submissions, so we only respond to those we have chosen.” In other words, you have tossed your manuscript into a black hole and if it somehow makes it back through the event horizon “Congrats” to you. Oh, and by the way, we don’t want to use previously published work so if you are submitting multiple places at once, you need to let us know if someone else accepts your work before we get back to you.
- Keep a tracking spreadsheet. As mentioned above, most want to be notified if a work submitted to them is accepted elsewhere. To that end, I keep a spreadsheet where I track the following data: Date, Publisher, Responded (Y/N), Accepted (Y/N), Paid (Y/N), Notes. I create a new tab in the spreadsheet for works I am submitting so it is easier to keep track of each one’s submissions. (Note – I only have the column of Paid, so I can track money made for general knowledge.)
- Some sites help with the leg work. Submittable is an example of a site I enjoy using to seek out opportunities for publication. There are others, so find the one that works best for you (or pick many).
Hopefully, I will have this story picked up soon and can come back with more information to share with you about what happens after your work is selected for publication.
As always, I hope you are having an enjoyable time getting your words down on paper.