My primary qualification for holding forth on publishing are the six years I spent producing Richard Hugo House’s InPrint Series. For this monthly, live forum, I interviewed literary agents and editors from publishing houses and magazines about what makes them say, “Yes!” to a submission.
Dale Peck is a publishing industry firebrand-genius-superhero. Famous for his eviscerating book reviews, he is the Editor-in-Cheif of what is considered the 8th-best online magazine in the country: Evergreen Review. Two days ago, I received an e-mail from Dale himself:
I just had a chance to read your stories “That Moment in Lao” and “The Great Ultimate.” I really loved “That Moment in Lao” and I’m sorry I missed the chance to publish it, but I really loved “The Great Ultimate” and I hope it’s still available.
Thunk. That was me hitting the floor in a dead faint.
I let him know that The Great Ultimate was certainly still available. (Currently at 8 other, totally unobtainable magazines.) The thing is, I am so convinced that this offer is what the youth call a “punked” that I keep looking over my shoulder for Alan Funt and the Candid Camera crew. And if you get that cultural reference, you are as old as I am. Congratulations!.
I started on it last night: sent out queries for my novel to six agents with whom I’ve had contact sometime in the past 20 years of work in publishing. Today, two of them responded! The first referred me to his co-agent/VP of his agency; the second asked to see the full manuscript.
I will keep you apprised of the over-all progress, probably in my YTDs rather than as each one happens. (That would be a crashing bore, I fear.) But I wanted to let you know about the great start, since y’all are so supportive all the time. Hearts to everybody!
For the last 24 hours, I have been an A+ editor (but a crappy sleeper). Last night, I tore through my pile o’ reads for Vestal Review. Today, I polished off my stack for JMWW Journal. This weekend, I actually get to edit some stuff for JMWW, rather than simply assess. Juicy, long-awaited editing, here I come!
What, with me being in Asia and the 20-something submissions still circulating from 2018, this years’ submissions are off to a bit of a molasses-pour of a start. The good news, however, is that my submissions-to-acceptances-to-publications rate is dead even: 1:1:1.
Almost as good is my Good Rejection-to-Rejection (Dear Writer: NO) rate: 1:3.
Wouldn’t it be swell if the averages held steady. A-hahahahahahaha.
On Friday, I will submit my first pitch of three for travel articles that came out of my recent Asia trip. To The New York Times’ Travel section. Petrified. I know that the worse that can happen is that they can say, “No.” I probably won’t even be crushed because I am already crushing myself merely thinking about submitting. And I know that there are many other outlets for these exciting pieces. Still … nerves like I haven’t had in years.
In other news: this week, I sent out my first query for As Far As You Can Go Before You Have To Come Back. Now there is THAT whole ferris wheel to think about. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I’m going to go watch Colbert.
Proud to announce that for the second year running, a short piece has made it to the quarter-finals of the ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Contest. The piece I submitted this year, The Brass Ring, is in fact an essay; but I asked prior to submitting.
No news as to when the semi-finalists will be announced. Last year, my short story, I Wanted Ten, made the semi-finals. Hope to do better this year.
Still in Asia, by the way. Thailand. Studying Chi Gong at the Nam Yang Kung Fu School in Northern Thailand, out side the little bitty, hippie town of Pai.
My body is sore and my heart misses my family so much. Other than that, things are going very well. We’ll chat soon.
I was going to post this YTD yesterday. I am glad that I decided to let the draft sit for its customary 24-hour bake period BECAUSE I received a shockingly good rejection from World Literature Today:
Thanks for sending us “Goddess of Mercy.” Though we did not select this piece for publication, we really do appreciate your interest in publishing in our pages. I found your writing vivid and engaging and would welcome another submission, particularly something shorter.
Between their reputation for intellectualism and their flat-out luminosity, I came close to not even submitting to World Literature Today. I said the following aloud as I pressed Send: it’s my job to send the stuff. Let the editors make their decisions.
Finally: since sending out my three new pieces, I received two rejections of the short story The Great Ultimate. The remaining are still under consideration — including the magazine I have my hear set on for Hong Kong, My Twenties.