Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Conundrum of Publishing

Let me preface this by saying that this is intended more for the novelist than the short storiest, as the market is an entirely different process.

I've been spending a LOT of time on Duotrope lately and even submitting a few things, and I've come to a conclusion: There are so many markets out there, what difference does it make if I'm rejected?

Really. I used to get all worried and tense and start freaking out whenever I built up enough courage to submit something. Now, I'll admit that a bit of the anxiety is still there, however I realize the ridiculousness of it all. I've heard it said, numerous times, that it is completely 100 percent subjective as to why you are or are not accepted. I didn't believe it until I was forced to do this very thing myself. I was forced to pick and choose based on what resonated with me, and nothing more. The writing across the board was fine--good even--but I didn't always get that zing one hopes for in reading new prose or poetry. And I guarantee it is the same way for EVERY PUBLICATION out there. We don't need to worry about their not accepting our work--there is a good chance someone else will. The better question is, "Do we even want to be a part of their magazine?"

As I said, there are a crapton of magazines, journals, and even locally produced zines, all searching for your work, your content, your words. But is it even worth your time to submit and build up a list of publications--even if the publication isn't very professional?

Because of the interweb and all its modern conveniences, everyone and their iPod can have a journal--even I started one of the things. So what makes it worthwhile to send out those words you've pored over and poured your heart into? Who's to say that it isn't just as worth your time--or more--to work on a novel and submit that instead? I honestly don't have an answer.

Sure, it is a great ego boost and shot of joy when you receive that acceptance letter, but I'm still wondering if it is worth all the time, stress, and anxiety over something that ultimately boils down to the editor asking himself, "Do I like this?"

Then what happens when the publication that accepts you goes under after the first two issues? Was it worth it to be a part of them, to garner that name for your CV, or would you be just as reputable, if not more so, for avoiding such flippant publications?

I'm just throwing things around out here. I think--as with everything--it comes down to personal choice. I guess we're always just wondering and worrying if that was the RIGHT choice.

To help solve this dilemma, I'm proposing a test/idea. I'm going to write a few micro-fictions, anywhere from 1 - 1,000 words. I'm not going to spend much time on them. Yes, I'll make sure they are free of typos and have the basics elements of story, but I'm not going to worry about whether or not it is "ready" for publication. I'm going to take these stories--that take, maybe, a day or two to write--and submit them. If they are accepted, wonderful. If not, I will give them another once-over, another revision, and send them out again. Process, repeat, repeat, repeat, until the story is accepted or I finally dub the story "finished."

Anyone else game?


stephanie said...

This is interesting. I have some little tiny stories hanging around that I could shape a little better. Where would you send them? Like, to all the magazines? Big ones, little ones?

Kate Simmons said...

Fantastic idea. I'll be interested see how it goes.

click said...

I'm thinking anywhere. Of course, I want to read a story or two at the place, just to see if there is even a chance, but I want to take the stress out. We're putting our babies out there for scrutiny. You don't care as much about splitting cells. Let's submit those.

Prindle said...

My question is, "Do you think that you'll be able to start a story that won't turn into a novel?"