If you’ve been following this thread, then you know I’m in the midst (the exact middle, actually) of a 20 Days of Submissions self-challenge. Today is Day 10, so it’s time for another update. As it turns out, these last five days have been a bit more exciting than the first five.
Day 6: It started off fine, with a bit of flash fiction heading off to try its luck at Lamplight magazine. “The Bear and the Girl” was inspired by the photography of Katerina Plotnikova — which you should definitely check out.
Day 7: “The Butterfly Eaters,” a contemporary fabulist piece set in my honorary home town of Springfield, Missouri, wended its way to Clarkesworld. Unfortunately, this was also the day that “Arcturus Rex” received a rejection letter from Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine–five days after I submitted it. But F&SF has a pretty fast turnaround. I’ll get in there with something, by golly. Just have to find the right piece.
Day 8: Okay, now I’m beginning to question my rules about re-submits counting toward my 20 Days. Not because I submitted “Arcturus Rex” to Andromeda Spaceways magazine down in Australia (‘Allo, Aussies!), but because Clarkesworld rejected “The Butterfly Eaters.” A 1-day turnaround. Crikey! My fear now is that I might be so busy submitting rejected pieces that some of the other stories get the short straw. Soooo, after conferring with my Executive Assistant (thanks, Angela!), I’ve decided to save up rejected pieces and submit them all on one day of each 5 during my 20 Days of Submitting…maybe a Wednesday.
Day 9: “Of Father’s and Unicorns,” a mournfully humorous story about a father’s quest to make his tween daughter happy went off to Shimmer magazine. Not quite sure of the fit, but I like Shimmer and would like to place something there. The problem is that I sent a version of the story that isn’t the one I meant to send. There aren’t big differences: a few edits and a different title — this story’s title has evolved from “The Unicorn” to “Of Teenagers and Unicorns” to “Of Tweens and Unicorns” to it’s current iteration of “Of Fathers and Unicorns.” I’m a bit surprised I didn’t opt for “Of Unicorns and Unicorns” at one point — but there are differences. Anyway, now I’m having to decide whether to wait and see what the response is to the version I sent, or send an embarrassing message asking them to swap out what I sent with what I should have sent. If you have some thoughts on this, I encourage you to sound off in the comments section.
Day 10: Despite my intention to wait before sending rejected pieces to the its next potential market, I put “The Butterfly Eaters” in the submission pile at Persistent Visions. So there.
I also discovered by accident this week that portions of an early version one of my previous submissions is actually on someone’s blog (with my permission — I just didn’t remember it until I stumbled across it while doing a title check). The lesson you should take away from this is that even when you’re dealing with flash fiction, poetry, or even a short story you don’t think will find a market, don’t allow it online for free until you’ve given it a chance. Maybe one day you’ll change your mind about it and try to find a more fiscally lucrative home for it.
Anyway, now I have to contact the magazine I submitted that piece to and withdraw the submission, because it’s not good to try and pass off what essentially counts as a reprint as an original work.
Given these blunders, I’d throw in some advice about always triple checking your submissions before sending, quadruple-checking your proofreads and, for heaven’s sake, double-checking that you’re sending the right file, but, well, I did that with these. Sometimes you just screw up anyway. Take the hit (and the responsibility), move on, and keep submitting.
So keep on submitting.