I’ve said this dozen’s of times and probably will say it a dozen more times, but persistence is the key to getting your work published.
- You need to be persistent in the early stages. Don’t stop writing, no matter how stuck you feel. Write about being stuck if you have to. Just keep writing. Eventually, you will get somewhere.
- Be persistent in revision. Seek feedback. Think carefully about what feedback you take. Revise your story over and over and over until it feels right. This can be frustrating, but you have to keep going, keep revising, until the story is really done.
- Be persistent in your attempts to publish. Try to not to let the rejections get under your skin.
- If there is a market you want to get published by and they reject you, send them something else. If they say you have to wait a month, wait exactly a month. If they say you have to wait until the next reading period, wait, but don’t forget to send something when the next one opens. I really wanted to get a story into an anthology called Dark Magic: Witches, Robots and Hackers. They rejected the first two stories I sent them. A few days before they closed for submissions, I sent them a third. They bought it! A few days earlier, Daily Science Fiction, another market I really want to get into, had rejected a draft of that story with a p.s. saying “an almost for us.”I’ll be sending DSF something new soon.
- If there is a story you really want to get published, then keep sending it out until someone accepts it. I had two acceptances this week. One was a story that had been rejected 16 times, and the other was something that has only been rejected twice. You never know how quickly or slowly it will happen. Just don’t get discouraged. Keep sending it out!
- Be persistent in improving. Don’t let a few acceptances make you think you’ve become a master writer. Always seek workshops, feedback and discussions that will help you hone your craft. If you feel like those stop helping you, then try teaching someone else. I learn a lot about writing and revising from guiding students through the process over and over again.
Some people might see this post and think, well, the writing has to be good, too, doesn’t?
My answer is yes, but when it comes to writing “good” to one person might be “boring” or “depressing” or “confusing” to another. If you like your writing, and the people you showed it to liked it and were able to make sense of it, and its free from unintentional grammatical errors, then its probable that somewhere out there is an editor who will like it too. It will just take a lot of persistence for you to find each other.
When you do reach that metaphorical summit of publication, make sure you take the time to enjoy the view, enjoy the feeling of victory, before going back down into the valley of rejection and hiking another mountain.