So I've had a bit of luck this month with getting acceptances for publication. What really worked was that I actually sent stuff out. Most people know that novels get published by publishing companies, and are then for sale. You make money from publishing novels. I haven't done that yet.
What most people don't know, and I certainly didn't until I started doing it, is that there are literally THOUSANDS of online publications that publish short stories and poetry. You could read for free for the rest of your life!
Supposedly, the short story is making a comeback in a big way. People don't want to devote days and weeks to the same story (aw, that's kind of sad). If they would rather read something short, they don't have to skimp on quality. Sure, some of the bigger names like Glimmer Train and Tin House cost money, but I'm not kidding when I say there is something for everyone and most of it is free on the Internet. Oh joy!
When published work is free to read, that usually means the author didn't get paid anything. They simply got the joy of seeing their name in print (a profound and somewhat pretentious joy, but joy nonetheless). Due to my increasing name-in-print success, I've added a link list to the right of where you are currently reading. Some of them are accepted but not yet published and I will, of course, update those when they are published. Others are just a click away. I think this will be an easy place to steer people who are curious about what I am doing all the time.
I didn't send anything out for about five years after I started writing and even now, when something's gotten accepted I'll read it again and find a fault that makes me want to call the publisher and say, "Wait, I need to fix something!" My advice to myself and other writers is NEVER DO THIS. Just let it go. You will someday prove (to whoever gives a damn) that you can writer better. More better. Whatever. Really, I should just stop reading my stuff again after it's accepted. I think I understand why some singers can't listen to themselves on tape and why some actors can't watch their performances. We know the flaws, and now it's there FOREVER.
Bah ha ha. Forever. I wish.
But it is fun, seeing your name up there in lights. I mean on the screen in small font. I set a goal when I started writing in February of 2009 to be published. I realize now that it was a vague goal. So now, when I send out Short Stories and Poems, I make myself send to publications that accept a lower percentage of submissions than the last acceptance. I will slowly make my way to the more prestigious written word. That sounds totally snobby, but I only mean it as a challenge to myself. And if I put it here in black and white, it's easier to not let myself off the hook after 20 rejections in a row.
Writing is the easy and fun part (who am I kidding - it's hard work). Sending out work for someone to accept or reject is scary. I don't have to do this. I have nothing to prove. But I think there is value in continuing to set high standards and strive to accomplish goals, particularly when you don't have to. I'm lazy by nature and I could see myself living the slug life (it's like the thug life only slower), but something deep bubbles up to the surface of a long ago desire to be heard, to have something to say, to leave the next generation with something of import. I'll give it a try. You should too.