Monday, May 20, 2013

First Manuscript done!

I finished the first draft of my FIRST manuscript!!!! This is such a huge accomplishment for me. New to writing, I found it easy to lose interest after the first 10,000 words. All of the advice I read said that this was totally normal and that the best way to get through it is to set quotas for yourself and it worked!

I promised myself that I would write at least 1,000 words a day at least 5 days a week and I did it! Now I'm going to set it aside for a month or so, so I can approach it with new eyes for revision. I've already got a running list of all the things I want to change, but I tried to keep the critic in me shut up until I was finished.

And what am I going to do in the next two months while I'm letting my manuscript fester, you ask? I'm going to blog my brains out. You're going to get sick of me I'm going to blog so much. Actually I probably won't blog any more than usual, but hopefully they will at least get better...Eric bought me a seat in a 6-week blogging class, so hopefully I learn some things and get some feedback (and report out on it, of course).

I am also going to focus on writing some short stories. So far I have written three. My first one was my best one so far. It was a 750 word short story contest for Writer's Digest (which I'm currently in 2nd place for!) but incidentally, is my best piece of work to date. I almost wish it hadn't gone so well, because now I just expect everything to turn out that well with as little work as I put into it. Not the case, apparently...

My second one, was decent. It was a flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig. We had to smash subgenres and I got Weird West and Haunted House. Neither of which was I familiar. But it was out of my comfort zone, and I am all about getting out of that good ole comfort zone.

My third one, was a little rape-y. Like, A WHOLE LOT more rape-y than I had intended. I actually like it a lot better than my second one though. It was another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig where we had to use a fantasy character generator to base our story around. Mine was "An efficient milkmaid is reduced to stealing to survive."

So anyway, after posting my story, I thought "I wonder if I could sell this..." After all, who doesn't need a good rape story? And I started doing research on submitting to magazines.


First, I should mention that it does not seem at all feasible that someone could write short stories for a living, click this link for the math (at the bottom of the page).

If you didn't click the link, then here's the poorly done synopsis. The best way to sell your short stories is in this order: sell first rights to a magazine, when you get the rights back, sell second rights to a different magazine, then put a few short stories into a collection and sell them.

I have begun the first step except I think I may have done it in the wrong order. I have the stories posted on my blog so I'm not sure if that counts as technically being published or not. I'm assuming it does.

How do you know which magazines to submit to? I used Duotrope like the link above suggests. It was actually really handy. You can start with a free 7-day subscription and then it's $5/month or $50/year. AND, they send you an email with directions on how to cancel your subscription should you wish to do so once the free trial is over.

You just have to put in how long your story is, the genre, what types of magazine, what kind of pay, etc. And it will compile a list of magazines that match your search.

My search gave me 4 magazines, 2 of which don't pay, so I saved those for last and haven't tried them yet (you have to try one-at-a-time most of the time, typically you can't have the same story in two-magazines at a time). I chose Shock Totem to try first. I read their guidelines, they were very clear that if any of the guidelines were violated, they would completely dismiss the piece.

Basically all I had to do was provide the title, word count, and a cover letter -- wait, what? A cover letter? Yeah...

The only cover letters I have done have been for legit job applications with resumes and the whole gauntlet. I didn't know what to put in a cover letter for a 999 word story. I just put in a little bit about myself (that I'm a new writer, trying different things and stretching different writing muscles, blah, blah) and then attached the short story.

Now I just have to wait until they either accept or reject me. They give themselves 60 days so I don't expect to know anything anytime soon. But, even if I do get it, I'll only get $.05 per word so that's only $50.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and get some things published for no pay at all, just to get more familiar with the process of giving up rights and getting them back and how that whole process works.

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