So I have submitted a story to tor.com, which for those of you outside the speculative fiction community is pretty much the brass ring: they pay five times pro rates and offer huge exposure, since the website is both free and associated with one of the biggest spec fic imprints around. In the probably very unlikely event that my story is accepted for publication, I will be sharing space with the biggest names and most talented writers working in the field.
But I won’t know for months. Last time I submitted to them, they sat on my story for over a year and a half. Which is awesome, because it means I made it to the second-look pile. I also got the best rejection letter maybe anybody ever got from anywhere, which included an invitation to submit again if I could stand the wait. That was back in January.
So why did I wait so long?
There are a few reasons, though mostly I didn’t think I had anything good enough. I still might not, but during my insanely productive period in South America it really felt like I was leveling up as a writer, and though I’ve had real difficulties producing in the period since, I came away with five new stories, of which this is, I think, the best. I have since given it to some writer friends to read, gotten some good feedback, and revised it in light of what they told me, most of which was extremely useful.
But now I have to forget about all that, and about this story.
There are some markets that get back to you really quickly, whose slush readers read quick and judge even quicker. Given the ongoing rejection contest my Clarion class has, the temptation is there to run it through those markets first and score some points (not that I’m in any danger of winning; many of my classmates are much better than I am about submissions). One of them might even have bought it, which would be a feather in my cap, since I have made exactly two sales thus far in my, ahem, writing career. But I feel like this one has a real chance, and so I’m taking a chance on it.
Of course I want to see it published before then. Like everyone in the internet age, I want instant gratification. And I really want to be able to point my friends and others who ask at stories I’ve had published. But even in the internet age, it seems that the publishing world moves at its own pace. It is what it is, as the saying goes. The best, indeed only, thing to do now is to throw it down the memory hole for the foreseeable future, think about (and work on) other projects, and in the odd moment of remembrance cross my fingers and wish my story luck.
Or, you know, I could write a blog post about it. It might even help with the second thoughts I started having the moment I hit send.