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Posts from the publishing Category

pushcartprize1

Literary accolades from a farmer’s market always taste fresher than store-bought.

decomP magazinE, which published my story, Punchline Number Nine, published back in February, has nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. I’ve heard writers “joke” that everyone has a Pushcart, implying that they’re meaningless, which would make a nomination eve more meaningless—a tiny pocket void filled with lint sort of off to the side in the armpit of the regular void, I guess.

A) Say that to the Pushcart people.
B) This was my first publication.
C) I’m twenty-three lightyears away from thinking of myself as a successful writer.
Therefore:
D) I’m ecstatic as all heck.

This is the appropriate facial expression of subdued excitement, correct?

This is the appropriate facial expression of subdued excitement, correct?

However, I have no idea how to behave about these things. I’m bad at accepting regular, everyday compliments. How to properly demur, show the appropriate level of both humility and excitement—that fence-balance between of-course and I-can’t-believe.

I know the chances of actually winning are pretty low, but I am proud of my little nomination. And come to think of it, the writers that joked everyone has a Pushcart didn’t have Pushcarts. Interesting.

The cycle of submission and rejection continues. Which I’ve acclimated to, for the most part. The rejection never gets easier, but some rejections are easier than others.

For instance, I got a really nice and encouraging rejection from ZYZZYVA which absolutely made my day. Cloud 9. (A phrase which incidentally comes from the 1895 International Cloud-Atlas in which, of the ten cloud types, cloud No. 9, cumulonimbus, was the biggest, puffiest, most comfortable-looking.)

On the other hand, there are other rejections which make me want to blow raspberries of confetti from my mouth and throw up my hands in mock-surrender.

I had a story rejected from a journal for being eighteen words over their guidelines which, sure, I understand, even if that seems incredibly anal. But they also have a one submission every six months rule, which meant I couldn’t even resubmit it eighteen words shorter.

Another rejection came 196 days after submission where they said they’d recently made the decision to limit all prose submissions to 1000 words. That decision was made over three months ago. So for the first 100 days there was a chance, but for the almost next 100, was basically eh, no hurry.

And I get it. New writers must seem like zombie hordes to lit journals. Hundreds to thousands of drooling, groaning, gross corpses slobbering at your door and all you want is to let in the few remaining, good, living humans into your fortified compound.

On the bright side, with a single publication, my acceptance rate is “higher than the average for users who have submitted to the same markets.” Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 11.05.43 AMWhich means that either I’m doing better or am just luckier than most of these writers or the people getting published in these markets don’t use Duotrope to track their submissions. My bet is on the latter.

So ends my dispatch from the trenches. I’ve got twenty submissions out, seven stories in contests, and a nice clean suit and a confident strut so no one can mistake me for a zombie craving the brains of slush pile readers and fiction editors.