…although it certainly didn’t seem like it was going to start out like so. I received my first three-star rating on Goodreads for Soft Target. I had an idea that it might be coming, as not everyone is going to like what I’m putting out there, and now that people who aren’t my friends, family, or personal acquaintances have started to put the book on their “to-read” list, I kind of expected some different ratings than the heretofore very flattering praise. (Many heartfelt thanks, btw, to all who have taken the time to give such praise!) The one thing that exacerbated the indie author neurosis, however, was the lack of accompanying review. If you didn’t like … why? Tell me! Please … I’m begging you…
Okay, so I got over that.
I then realized that I have enough rejections (six or seven) to submit my poor little “Readers” to The Rejected Quarterly. But I’m a little worried. What if I get rejected by a litmag for rejects? That would be exquisitely ironic and also a little depressing…
Next up, I started a new job at work, and having escaped the boiler room of the operations section and headed back where I belong, I got a bunch of jokes on my newfound position. What can I say, I work with a bunch of jokers. But I love them. Really. I do. And anyway, I got my own jokes.
I’m now realizing that I should have led off this blog post with the actual win that I have to announce. But what the heck, if you’re reading this far, you must be halfway interested in what I’ve got to say…
When I finished Cold Run, way back in NaNoWriMo ’11, I thought to myself – self, this is pretty good. And it was fun to write all the way through. I think we’ve got something here. But I wasn’t sure what to do with it. At the time, I had – I think – one story accepted into a publication. Or maybe this was before IronFae got accepted by Aoife’s Kiss, I forget. Anyway, I came up with a plan. I was going to get six short stories accepted and then, when I went to query CR, I would have a good set of published work that would persuade an erstwhile agent or publisher that people (not my friends, family, or personal acquaintances) thought my work was good enough to print in their publications.
Fast forward approximately two years. I’ve had five Short Stories accepted and either published, or pending publication. About halfway through this time, I found an anthology that put out a call for submissions for “urban Green Man” stories. This struck a chord and I found myself pounding out a 6K-er with Rick Keller, the main character of Cold Run, doing his thing in the urban green spaces of NYC. I polished up “Night Run”, got some critiques, polished some more, and sent it right out.
Then – the waiting. And the waiting. I waited as the story made it through the first round…the second round…and then in the final round, I get the old “Thanks for your submission; it was really great, but it wasn’t for us.”
So, I hopped back on the old Duotrope.com, and found another anthology. This one was calling for stories that were re-tellings of Old Myths, and I thought to myself, “Thanks, universe!” Polished that sucker up (okay, so I re-formatted it to make sure it conformed to their submission guidelines), and sent it right in. A couple months later: “Thanks for your submission; it was really great, but it wasn’t for us.” Thanks for nothing, universe.
Part of the problem is, I consistently write what I call “transgenre.” My stuff tends to be hard to categorize (in no small part because I grew up with “fantasy/science fiction” as the main publishing genre designation and have no idea what “magical realism”, “slipstream”, or other modern publishing parlance terms mean.) Cold Run and “Night Run” are kind of urban fantasy, kind of shapeshifter, kind of paranormal (without the romantic implications that particular genre label has taken on), kind of secret agent, kind of post-Cold War spy novel. So, after the two “myth” anthologies didn’t pan out, I decided to get a little more basic and searched for “Shapeshifter”, specifically “werewolf.”
Lo and behold, I found Kerlak Publishing’s call for submissions for a werewolf anthology. Thinking to myself, “Okay, if you can’t get a short story about a werewolf into an actual werewolf anthology, this might be a sign from the universe,” I once again made sure I was formatted to the submission guidelines, sent that sucker in, and hoped for the best.
In the meantime, I embarked on the editing process for Cold Run, cleaning up the copy, addressing issues that my beta readers raised, and generally getting the manuscript into shape to start shooting out in the so-far-completely-indifferent universe. I also spent time researching how to write a short synopsis (Thanks, Suze!), put one together, and submitted it to my writers’ group for a critique.
Something in there must have stirred the universe, because yesterday, as I was heading out to play music at the noon liturgy, I happened to open my Yahoo! email and found an email from the anthology editors. Hey, it said (in not so many words). We like your stuff and we’re going to give it a home in our anthology.
Week made of win, indeed.
(Postscript… As I re-read through this post prior to sending it live, I realize that writers must have a significantly different definition of “Win” than the average Jane Citizen. Or maybe it’s just me. Small victories, people, small victories. Peace!)