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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Submitting

   
Author Topic: Submitting
RMatthewWare
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Maybe I'm wrong:

I've been writing seriously for just over a year. I started with a novel and have branched into short stories. I've just submitted my second short story to a magazine. From what I've read, the difference between a professional writer and an amateur is the length of a stamp. I've also read that if you can survive enough rejections you will eventually get published because you will learn to persevere and improve your work.

My thought is to get several short stories finished to the point that I'm satisfied with them, then just send them all out again and again until someone bites. They might not be the quality of OSC or any published writer, but if I never submit my work, I'll never get published. But then, I've never read OSC's first short story. Something I've written might be close to that quality.

I think that I have a better chance by finishing something and submitting it, rather than keeping it hidden on my computer and subjecting it to endless editing and tinkering while I never send it out and risk rejection.

Matt


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Robert Nowall
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I'd say that "professionals" are those who have a leg up on "amateurs"---but that in terms of the quality of work, there isn't much difference.

"Professionals" have "track records" and "agents" and are "known" to the "editors" who do the buying. Their manuscripts get kidglove treatment and quick turnarounds.

"Amateurs" get their manuscripts dumped into the "slush pile" for months at a time, where maybe someday the "editor" or "reader" will dig throug it and dig one out and maybe buy it, and then convert the "amateur" into a "professional."

It seems to be getting harder to break through---for instance, last time I looked, most big-name markets for a novel won't look at anything unless it comes through an agent---and there's the theory that you can't break through at all if you don't play the crooked game and submit your stuff.

Y'know, I've read stories of editors who've found something in writers and their hopeless manuscripts, who've guided them from "amateur" to "professional" and made them published writers. But it never happened with me. Either nobody noticed my talent---or there was nothing to find. And either conclusion is vastly depressing.

I'll carry on---it's a habit I can't break now---but I think now I'll view even success with suspicion.


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Lynda
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From everything I've read, the days of an editor who will nurture a writer into becoming a "polished" writer are long over. I've been very frustrated with a lot of the books I've read in the last few years, books filled with typos, wrong words, and other things that show a serious LACK of editing! And then the JUNK that makes it into print, into the library, into the bookstore. . .ARGH!!!!!!! My stories are a LOT better than those, and that isn't just my opinion. I've had probably 10 readers go through at least part of my novel now, and in nearly every case, they say it's a good read. Each has different comments to make about it, but overall, a "good read" and with few typos, wrong word choices, etc. I'm still in the "getting ready to submit queries" stage - envelopes prepared, synopsis as tight as I can get it, first three chapters polished, but I'm waiting for one more review of the first three chapters before I have a go at agents again. I wish I could write short stories that satisfied me - I'd sure try that route if I could, but I seem to be a novelist. Now, if I can just get an agent and a publisher to agree with me!!

Lynda


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Jim Rage
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Its like you said, you won't get published if you don't submit so keep writing. Someone new to writing, myself included, needs all the practice they can manage to hone their skills.

Success WILL NOT happen over night. There is nothing to lose from submitting your work. It can only help.

Write it, clean it up, spell check it, mail it to the first market on your list and forget about it. Write your next story. Rinse and repeat

Follow submission guidelines for whatever market you're submitting to the letter.

If a rejection comes back, put the story back out in the mail to the next market on your list - per Heinlein's rules. Keep it in the mail until it sells.

Savor any personal note from an editor that you may get on with your rejection slip, and don't take any rejection personally.



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Spaceman
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We all started there. Get that first one in the mail and keep sending it out until it sells. Rinse, lather, repeat.
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Survivor
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I think that it's a good sign that you're now ready to treat "success" as a real purchase rather than a gift horse.
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Spaceman
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Yeah, I've noticed my threshhold for success keeps getting higher.
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Survivor
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Um, I was responding to Robert's comment about viewing it with suspicion. I'm not sure how my comment would relate to your "Rinse lather, repeat" suggestion. I guess I'm seeing a soapy horse somewhere in this picture.

Anyway, my point was that getting to where you want to be as a writer takes real work, even if you're really talented.


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Robert Nowall
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Pay no attention to me on that. I'm just bitter because I've "lathered, rinsed, repeated" for over thirty years. The original post just punched one of my "rant" buttons. Some of you might have better "luck" than I've had---but the "luck" might be luck, or it might be more talent or better-developed skills.
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Spaceman
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It's probably the skill development. I don't know what you've done over the past thirty years, but if it hasn't worked then you need to try something different, maybe radically different. If you still have the passion after thirty years of spinning your wheels, I can't imagine you'll ever give up. The question is what to do different.

I'd be willing to look at something short (2000 words maybe) and offer my suggestions on how to take it to the next level.


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Robert Nowall
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Well, my last submitted piece, stuck-in-neutral after two submissions-and-rejections, is 2500 words long. I'll toss it into an e-mail and send it along. Thanks in advance. I think I'll reread it, too, and compile my own list of my literary sins...
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Chaldea
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Robert,

If you want more input I'm willing to have a go at it, as well. My writer friends tell me I'd make an excellent book editor out there in the real world.

[This message has been edited by Chaldea (edited February 25, 2007).]


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RMatthewWare
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Yeah, Chaldea, and I hear the pay for editors is great!

Of course, if I made as much writing as I make in my job now, I'd be the happiest man on earth.

Matt


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dee_boncci
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I suppose I'm the biggest coward out here. I haven't submitted anything yet. I haven't even thought long and hard about it. And the reason is pretty stupid when you get right down to it.

Ah well, maybe someday. Perhaps I'll come up with something worthwhile via the resurrected writing challenges.


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Robert Nowall
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Sending along, sending along...I'll send a copy to anybody who expresses interest. And Spaceman's comments were insightful...
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arriki
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I'll take a look. I went through a radical revision of my writing a few years ago. I decided to really analyze some writers whose work I liked and whose books sold in the wildly successful ranges to vast audiences.

Now I'm that I've figured out how they're doing it, I'm trying to learn to utilize those same techniques.

I can try to see if anything fits in what I see you doing.


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Spaceman
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quote:
And Spaceman's comments were insightful

I've been fortunate to have some pretty good mentors over the past couple of years. It's only fair that I pass the knowledge along. (Robert, please don't disclose the name in this forum.)


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Robert Nowall
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No one will hear it from me.
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