Sunday, September 01, 2013

I kind of miss submitting stories

This year I've not been doing a lot of self publishing, just a 5-part serial earlier this year. Last year I produced a total of about 600,000 words. This year I'll be lucky if I break 100,000 words. Stuff happens, life intrudes, in this case mostly health-related stuff, bad stuff. Things seem to have settled down a little bit, so I've been able to get a little work done of late.

However, most of what I've been working on are not materials to be self published, which means it will likely be some time before they see the light of day. I've a handful of short stories out for various anthologies, and here and there I'm working on a larger secret project which I don't want to reveal just yet as I'm not the only person involved with it.

I sought out none of these projects. They were offered to me or my name was suggested by someone else, and I gladly jumped on them. Thankfully those I've been working with are understanding folks, because I've let the ball drop a lot this year when it comes to writing ... family has to come first sometimes, like it or not.

Some of these projects fill me with a great amount of pride. Mainly I'm proud because others thought of me when the projects came along. I like that, and I definitely appreciate it.

It's even got to the point where I've had to turn down quite a few anthology offers this year. This also makes me feel a little pride, editors and publishers asking me if I'm interested instead of me having to send out yet another query letter or submission to someone who doesn't know my name.

I wish I'd had the time to take part in all those wonderful projects. Truly. If not for my serious family health issues this year, I probably would have taken part in all those wonderful projects. Self publishing is fine, it pays the bills after all, but there is a part of me that enjoys working with others.

And there's a part of me that misses the old days of submitting stories.

Yes, you read that correctly. I actually miss that stuff.

A little.


Don't get me wrong. I don't want to go back the days of blind submissions being my only option as a writer. Because then it wouldn't be an option.

No, I like the fact I can write what I want, when I want, how I want, where I want, and then I can do with it whatever I damn well please. I don't have to write to a market, or to a particular editor's taste.

But I kind of do, even when self publishing.

See, I write for a living, which means I still have to write to a market. And though I don't have to please a particular editor or publisher, I still have readers (some ... okay, both you guys reading this). If I want to continue making my living as a writer, to some extent or other I have to publish material that is at least somewhat pleasing to the audiences I am trying to reach.

So far it's working decently, but because of my lack of publishing this year, things have fallen behind with my writing and even financially. Then there are all the health bills, and my own health, which is not so good most days (sometimes I can't even write a hundred words, but lately I've been doing better).

Anyway, enough of the sob story. What I really wanted to talk about today is submissions.

I didn't think much about submissions until the last few days when I heard of several anthologies which sounded interesting to me, and there are a handful of magazines and online sites I follow to which I'd like to submit.

But I've other projects at the moment, and not been able to write much this year, and I'd really like to self publish at least one novel before the year is finished. Hell, come January it will have been two years since I've published a Kron Darkbow novel. Two years. I couldn't hardly believe it until a fan contacted me recently and asked when the next Kron novel would be out. It's true I've published several works in the Ursian Chronicles, the same world in which Kron exists, but I've not published any Kron-centric stories or novels.

So, here are my plans for the rest of the year, if the health situation remains somewhat steady: I want to finish up that secret project I mentioned, which I hope to do in the next month or so. Then I'm thinking of penning and submitting three or four stories to various magazines and online sites. That will probably take me another month, give or take. After that, I'm going to start my next Kron Darkbow novel, to be titled The Company of Seven. My estimate is the novel will be about 100,000 words, and my goal is to have it ready for publishing by Christmas of this year.

That's a lot of writing to do in just a few months. I've done it before. In fact, I did it last year, and probably the year before. But my health was better then. Now I'll be pushing it. And I'm not going to rush myself. If my health fails again, or if I get worse, then I'll be doing nobody any good if my writing slows even further, or if I get to the point in which I cannot write at all.

I'm shooting for Christmas for the Kron novel. If it doesn't make it, it doesn't make it. It'll come out in January or February, or whenever I can get it written and beta read and edited and designed, etc. I might opt to start the novel before working on those stories for submission, but I'll see how things go and how I feel when I get to that point.

Regardless of all the stuff going on in my life and with my writing ... I still kinda miss submissions. As infuriating as it can be, it's still a little fun to roll the dice, to spin the wheel, to lay your cards on the table.

I miss that.

Now back to writing.


Charles Gramlich said...

I too remember the days, before easy email, when you mailed out those subs with an SASE and eagerly checked the mail every day to see if any good news had come back. I'm actually keeping a record of the words I write this year for the first time ever so we'll see if I break 100,0000. Most years I have not. this has generally been a pretty good year,although the past month I have certainly been lazy. Do take care of your own health man. My leg issues do make it hard to write long hours like I used to. Gotta keep healthy to spend all that time in the chair.

Ty Johnston said...

Good luck with that leg, Charles. My own leg problems are much the opposite, making it harder and harder to stand for any period of time. But then my heart issues flare up worse when I do sit or lay for long periods of time. Frustrating. But it is what it is.