If you’ve been following this blog lately, you know about my original magazine quest. I’m reading at least one issue from 24 (up from the original 12) different science-fiction magazines, and picking which one(s) I’ll subscribe to. I’ve only posted 14 magazine reviews so far, but I promise I’ll write up the others over the next few months.
This post is about another kind of magazine quest: I’m trying to get a story I’ve written published in a science-fiction magazine. I’ve never submitted a piece of fiction before (unless you count scientific papers where a co-author inserted dubious statements and/or data), and I thought some of you might enjoy reading about the process or about my progress.
I wrote this story in November of 2014, and since then, I’ve been holding onto it with some vague idea of writing more stories and self-publishing a short-story collection. The time demands of my day job and finishing my latest graduate degree have made that plan seem unrealistic, but the magazine quest got me interested in my story again, so I hit the “submit” button.
I’ve done everything I can to succeed. I’ve given my story to several beta-readers and made revisions based on their comments. I’ve run through it several times myself to improve wording and remove ambiguities. I’ve chosen a magazine which I think is a good fit for my story. As requested by that magazine, I’ve reformatted into standard manuscript format, even though many aspects of the format seem incredibly archaic to me.
I can hear my author friends: “How adorable, he thinks he can get an acceptance with his very first submission. That’s so cute.” Yes, I’ve looked on The Grinder and seen that this particular magazine rejects 97% of its submissions — and that’s 97% of submissions recorded by authors who are savvy enough to use The Grinder; I’m sure the actual figure is much higher.
It’s probably time to be more like this guy:
My story is about 3,700 words long, and involves an admiral and an AI trying to stop an alien invasion. I’m not sure when I’ll post about this topic again — the magazine says it will respond in 2-6 weeks, but the authors who use The Grinder claim that the average is closer to 22 weeks.
I think I need to achieve the following four things before I can consider myself a writer, from easiest to hardest:
- A story rejected without explanation
- A story rejected with an explanation that makes no sense
- A story rejected due to legitimate criticism
- A story accepted
Leave a comment below to let me know what you think of my latest quest, or tell me about your own publishing experiences.