Short Story Submission Thoughts

I just submitted another short story for rejection, so figured I’d share a few random thoughts I’ve had on short story submissions before I go do what I need to be doing, which is write.  (I’ve been slacking all week.)

1) I really should not submit to markets that require cover letters.  I forget myself and say funny things that I’m not so sure the editors or slush pile reviewers appreciate.  (I am not good at sales, so I say things like, “This is a very odd story, but hopefully you enjoy it anyway.”  Bad.)

2) If you have stories outstanding you get to this point where you’re almost praying for a rejection just to have a response from someone.  I somehow managed to submit a handful of stories on a staggered basis and all of them are now within the range when they should generate a response.  It’s making me very twitchy.

3) I write some weird shit.  Not necessarily good weird either.  I still need to master the art of making a concept into a good story.  Then again, I’m not quite sure how you write about someone with no life to speak of without it being boring…(Maybe I should quit writing about boring people.  Then again, they say write what you know, so…)

4) I can’t decide whether I should really keep submitting certain stories until no one will have them anymore or whether I should realize that perhaps it’s not a good idea to have people’s impressions of me tied to those stories.

5) Using a pen name is actually irrelevant for short story subs since you submit under your real name.  (A follow-up to 4.  Pretty sure I’m the only one submitting SFF stories that has my particular name…)

6) It’s going to be a while before I’m published.  One, because some of the stuff I write will likely never find a market.  But, two, because the ones I have written that likely will find a market, I’m starting at the top of the top with.  (I submitted one to The New Yorker last week…)

Haha.  I crack me up.  But, you never know if you don’t try, right?

Non-writing related example without useful specifics: I decided to transfer schools after freshman year of college.  I’m not quite sure what I did freshman year, but there wasn’t much I did that you can put in a college application.  I had some IM sports and a play, but that was about it.  And a 3.0 GPA, which was not great for transferring to the schools I applied to.  It was Rice, so not like I was a complete slacker, but when you’re trying to transfer to Ivy League-type schools, that GPA kinda shows that you’re not exactly a high-achiever.  But that didn’t stop me.

All of the schools I applied to were top-level schools.  Three were smart enough not to accept me (including Harvard, thank god).  The fourth now solicits me for money every year and (if all goes well) will someday have to publicly acknowledge me as one of its alums.

If I’d looked at my GPA and my activities I might’ve realistically assumed that I had no business applying to any of those schools and that maybe I should stay right where I was because I’d obviously peaked in high school.

Good thing I’m not the least bit rational and have a mammoth ego.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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2 Responses to Short Story Submission Thoughts

  1. Lizzy' says:

    I’ve read some weird short stories in anthologies. These two books in particular:

    You should check out one or both books and their publishers. The second one in particular is FREAKY FREAKY. Like whoever wrote some of those short stories should be committed.

    • mhleewriter says:

      Great recommendations! Some of the authors in that first anthology have been on my list to read at some point, so that anthology might be the perfect intro to them.

      My stories aren’t violent or gorey in any way. They’re just odd. And because I’m still learning (and always will be), I think I sometimes fail to make them interesting first. At some point when I cave and self-publish some of them I’ll do a post fully explaining what makes them odd and what’s wrong with them. (Because that’s good salesmanship, you know? Tell people why they shouldn’t buy your product.)

      I figure I’ll publish two or three collections at once and offer the readers of this blog a freebie anyway, so, if they want, they can choose which flawed story to read for free. Haha.

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