Monday, March 21, 2011

And now, crass commercialism!

You'll notice the Amazon link there; that's a link to the first product I have available on Amazon's kindle platform.

A few years ago, I took a few creative writing classes, and they went very well. My stories were generally enjoyed by the class, and there was little that they could suggest to improve on. Classmates and even the professor suggested I submit to various publications, but I still wasn't sure.

Anyway, one day after the class had ended for the semester, I decide to write down a story idea I'd had kicking around my head for some time. The result was a piece I called The Clockwork Girl (there's apparently another work by the same name, but I didn't hear about that until a year or so ago). The next day, I get an email alert about the annual Writer's Digest writing competition. I figured "What the heck" and submitted it. The story wound up getting 8th place in the genre category. To do so well considering the thousands of other entrants gave me the confidence to try and submit my work to magazines. After all, while not great, I at least now had proof that I was pretty good, right? I mean, The Clockwork Girl was acknowledged as very good. Surely, some publication would be willing to pay me for my work, right?

What followed was a bunch of rejections. Some were encouraging, but most were frustrating. The breaking point came about two weeks ago. Last May, I submitted TCG to a publication. Their submission guidelines stated that they would respond to all submissions within three months. Three months go by, and I hadn't heard anything, so I sent them an email. I get the "we'll email you eventually". I promptly forgot about it.

In January, I finally get an email from said publication. The file I submitted TCG as had problems being opened; they were only just now getting back to me because said file sat in a section of their server that no one bothered looking at. So, I resubmitted and waited.

Finally, at the beginning of March, I get a reply- "No thank you, not a good fit, good luck". Seriously, that's it? You have my story tied up for a year due to incompetence on your end and that's all you have to say? Now, I wasn't looking for automatic publication as a result, but I think I'm entitled to a little more. When you keep me waiting for a year, at the very least you can tell me WHY my story's not a good fit for your magazine. I understand that editors and reviewers are busy, but it's not impossible. Last year I also submitted a separate story to another publication; within the week, I got a reply back. I was told my story wasn't a good fit, then there was a point-by-point breakdown of what the reviewer saw a wrong with my story. I didn't agree on all points, but it was appreciated nonetheless.

The whole situation got me so frustrated that I went to vent on a message board I frequent. Someone suggested publishing it via Kindle. I was reluctant, but then I realized that Kindle and other similar programs are just offering options to writers that musicians have had available to them for several years now. The result is featured in the product link above. Feel free to purchase it if you are so inclined. (If you don't have a Kindle, there are Kindle reading apps available for free for a variety of devices.

All I've wanted to do was create and share that creation with people, possibly while earning some money in the process. It's really amazing how easy modern technology makes that goal.