So, here we are, 2013.
Sorry, yes, I am going to give away a copy of Jamais Vu Journal, Winter 2014, but at the end of this post (and one more on facebook, and one more on twitter), so feel free to scroll right past all this other hogwash.
Anyway, I didn’t quite hit my goals this year, but enough good was accomplished that I’m not going to lament about it too much.
I didn’t quite keep up a respectable output, still falling into the feast and famine patterns of writing a huge chunk and then not again for many days. Here’s the thing: I know “write every day” is the advice everyone gives writers, but… Sometimes that’s not possible. For me, with a demanding job and a family, it’s rarely possible, and just accepting that was a big step for me this year. It meant untangling a few threads of guilt at perceived failure from all thoughts of writing. If I found time, that became a good thing, not a reminder of yesterday’s failure . This translated into longer and longer stories, as I wrote four and five thousand words in a sitting. While I wrote two flash pieces this year for specific contests and calls, the other pieces I finished clocked in at 11k and 12k words, far longer than my old 2k word stories. I’m finding I quite like the wider canvas to work on, and that novelette and novella length stories are very difficult to find markets for… So, click through to see how this year stacked up:
- I wrote two new longer stories: Between the Walls, and Digger’s Lament
- Digger’s Lament is set in the universe of what I had long ago planned to be my first novel, a science-fantasy epic. This story was a great way to dig into a world I’ve been building in my head for a few years, and finally give two of the characters room to play. I had such a blast writing Ananda and Palta that I’ll probably turn their adventures into a series.
- I wrote two flash pieces, Shipwreck, and The Long Night
- I finished a novellette that I started the previous year, The Fields of Ur.
- Started two new pieces in December:
- On The Table – a psychodrama in the vein of “Death and the Maiden”.
- The Drifters – a weird/sci-fi story about lost generation ships, to be featured in the upcoming debut issue of Flapperhouse
- I wrote not a single word on Runner B.
- I did almost no writing on Cradle, but continued to take notes and refine some structural elements.
I’m not thrilled with looking in at my output in the aggregate, but I’d rather go write something than moan more about it. I wrote more, I edited less (I began 2012 with a glut of unpolished stories to work on, no such luck this year), but I think I got better. I kept up my tactics of observing and interacting with other authors, and always learning. It wasn’t the sea change the last year was, but it was progress, one way or the other. Here’s what I accomplished on the non-writing side of writing. In 2013:
- I edited and put into the submission queue a scant five stories
- I received 38 rejections (compared to last years 60)
- I made my first pro level sale, to Jamais Vu Journal
- Heard my story The Blues read by the insanely talented Gabe Diani on Pseudopod Podcast
- Was asked personally to contribute to several markets
- I had 13 sales (compared to last year’s 7):
- Dust (“Horrific History“, Hazardous Press)
- East (“The Again – Issue 14”, Iridum Sound Press)
- Shipwreck (“Another Hundred Horrors”, Cruentus Libri Press)
- Collision (“Shifters: A Charity Anthology“, Hazardous Press)
- Up (“Dark Bits“, Apokrupha LLC)
- One (“Miseria’s Chorale”, Forgotten Tomb Press)
- Shiva (“Jamais Vu, Winter 2014”, Post Mortem Press)
- The Long Night (“A Merry Little Apex Christmas Contest”, Apex Publications)
- Digger’s Lament (“Tales of the Black Arts”, Hazardous Press (forthcoming))
- Between the Walls (“Strange Fortune”, KnightWatch Press, (forthcoming))
- How This Ends (“Vignettes from the End of the World”, Apokrupha LLC (forthcoming))
- First Souls (Stupefying Stories, Rampant Loon Press (forthcoming))
- Before (Nightfall Magazine, which folded and then later to Stupefying Stories, Rampant Loon Press (forthcoming))
So how about those goals from last year?
- Submit more.
- Mostly accomplished. The queue dipped a little low when I neglected to send things back out as soon as they were declined, but I kept pretty close.
- Write more. Then write more.
- I did write more. Not a whole lot more, but I’m not going to dwell on that.
- Interact more.
- This one was easy. I’ve met people I never would have met otherwise via facebook, twitter and the comments here, and I’m glad for it.
- Read more.
- Fell a little behind in the past few months, but I kept up an overall good pace.
- Keep up my relationships with Hazardous Press and Cruentus Libri Press.
- I’m not going to miss a Hazardous Press call anytime soon, they’re always great projects to be a part of, and they’re moving towards a payment in advance model. Cruentus Libri closed their metaphorical doors this year, and none of the anthologies I had stories in sold enough for me to get royalties. Given that I spent more on getting a contributor copy than I ever recouped, I’m going to be more wary of markets that may make most of their money from writers.
- Learn and understand more about the markets I am submitting to, and keep setting my sights higher and higher.
- I learned a great deal this year, and always submitted to the most unapproachable markets first. So far, they remain unapproached.
- Write more.
- A little bit better with miles to go.
- Blog more.
- Finish Runner B.
- Er… Let’s move on.
Ah, and goals for the next year. These likely won’t change much.
- Keep the submission queue full, until it’s all sold.
- Write more. Then write more.
- Read more.
- Keep up my relationships with the small presses I have had such a good experience with, Hazardous Press , Post Mortem Press, and Apokrupha LLC. The respective owners and editors of these presses have been supportive, informative, and welcoming. I don’t want a call for submissions from either
- Write more.
- Finish “Runner B”. Sigh…
- Write and Submit “Green Tunnel”, a story I think is going to be fantastic, which also has me worried.
- One more pro-sale. Just one. Nightmare Magazine, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed… Keep the target high.
- Do a yearly review in 2015 before the end of January.
I’m still hemming and hawing about self or small-press publishing a collection of short stories, but that seems less important to me now. Sure I want to do it, but I certainly don’t want to compile something that I’m not going to be totally proud of.
And of course, I’m still no expert, but the things I’ve learned this year have been invaluable. If I can help you, answer questions, or offer spurious advice, please, let me know. I’m more confident and motivated because people took their time to do just that for me. Please let me return the favor.
As always, it’s because you’re reading this that I am writing. I owe you everything. Thank you.
Okay, still here? I have one physical copy of Jamais Vu Journal, featuring a story by me, fiction from Gary Braunbeck, Adam-Troy Castro, Jessica McHugh, Max Booth III, Michael Kelly, and Sandra Odell, as well as poetry, reviews, and a column from Harlan Ellison.
I will send that copy to a random person who comments on this post between now and Saturday, Feb 15th. Just leave your email address, and I’ll roll some dice. Free stuff, easy peasy.