Thanks (for nothing?)

July 28, 2015

I hate sounding like a complainer. However, as a human, especially one as down on his luck such as myself, it’s easy to get into the swing of pointing out all of the negative aspects of life. After all, things would be so much better if only this or that were just a little different…

So anyway, this morning, I opened my email, as usual. To my surprise, not one, but TWO emails from editors awaited me! To make things even better, there was a message from Devilfish Review! That was good, because they were very close to being on the receiving end of an email from me!

See, I submitted a story to them 100 days ago. I mean, literally, to a tee, one-hundred days ago! Their website says if I hadn’t heard back from them after 3 months, email and ask them what’s the holdup. I kept considering it, but generally, as a writer, if you want an answer now, it’s going to be “no”. Still, it was getting a little frustrating waiting, and I kept telling myself “One more day, one more day…”

That day has come. They sent me a response!

It was a big fat NO.

Sigh…

It’s so irritating having to wait so long for an answer, just to have it be negative. Worse yet, getting a stock/form email telling me this. They couldn’t add a little “sorry for the long wait” or “we apologize for making you wait, but we had serious deliberation on this piece” or anything?

I honestly thought it was going to be a positive response, hence the lengthy wait. I mean, 100 days for a publication that barely pays anything in the first place must be positive, right? Alas, it was not meant to be.

However, let’s look at the flipside of this. I mentioned a second email, right? It was from Shimmer. Shimmer is a pro paying market, meaning that not only do I get a minimum of $0.06 per word for my story, it helps qualify me for membership to the SFWA. That’s a pretty big deal! (Science Fiction Writer’s Association for those too lazy to Google it.)

While they rejected my piece and sent me a form letter as well, this only took 7 days. A week! Did they read it? Maybe a few paragraphs. Did they deliberate? Probably not. But who cares! It took them one measly week!

Now look, I get it. You’re only human, right? Maybe you’re the only person working on your magazine, the only reader, and you get 50 every day. Maybe you were in the hospital. Maybe you got a new job and have had little to no time. Maybe you truly were deliberating the story and just didn’t say anything encouraging in the email. There’s always a lot of maybes.

But there isn’t a lot of time.

Sorry to vent, folks. It’s just frustrating when I have multiple stories out at multiple publications, many of whom simply can’t be bothered to get things moving. Not only for me, but for themselves as well.

Speaking of, I still haven’t heard from Black Denim Lit yet. Is there some conspiracy against Myke Edwards amongst the publishers of internet speculative fiction magazines?

Nah, I’m just being paranoid. Right? Hey! There’s a van across the street with a radar dish on top of it! Oh, wait, it just drove off. Thank you.

The Hugo Awards are coming. Very soon, Worldcon will be held, and the most important awards in science fiction and fantasy will be handed out to those most worthy.

I, of course, will not be present.

As you can all guess, I’m not a writer of much importance. Not yet, at least. I have many, many hopes that someday (hopefully soon!) I will be published in big name magazines, with big paychecks, and followers who found out about me through the paper channels I so desperately desire. Alas, now is not that time.

I’m frustrated because the day before Christmas last year (literally 7 months ago!), I had a story accepted. Black Denim Lit told me I would be published within a few months. At first, it was to be June. Ultimately, they declared it would be the end of July. They have a week to show any proof of this publication (and promised payment).

That isn’t a huge deal, though. I have no doubt that things will be worked out in the end, and I’m not upset with them. Hey, shit happens, after all. No, it’s the time that I’m mad about.

Seven months have passed since I’ve had a story accepted for publication. Have all my other stories been that bad? Is it the plot itself? The writing? The characters? The fact that Myke Edwards is not a marketable name, and you don’t want to risk an upcoming author when your regular readers typically buy your publications due to the recognizable names attached to the front cover?

Whatever the case, I’m getting upset. At myself, at the editors, at the industry…it just feels so moot anymore. Does anyone care about short stories? Do they care about writers and the sacrifices they make for the love of their craft?

I care. And I care for each and every one of those Hugo nominees, even the ones that don’t deserve it (I’m looking at you, Sick Puppies). I care because you put in the time, the effort, the drive, the blood sweat toil tears and every other thing you do.

I care because I’m one of you. I know that I’m no one, but that doesn’t matter. We are Legion, we are many.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be one of the Hugo Nominee (or even winner!) legion. Hopefully.

Catch the mistake!

July 21, 2015

I haven’t given up the dream, which is good. I’m still kicking it, still writing and editing, still finding reasons to continue. Hopefully, someone sees promise in me, and I can just get through this. A few days ago, I prettied up a story enough to get it ready to submit for publication, and decided that last night would be when I do it.

So for some reason, when I went to bed and was about to fall asleep, I realized something about the story. Not a major plot hole, just a bit of a loose thread. Just a minute ago, I checked, and yep, it’s there.

Now, it’s not the worst thing. If an editor likes the story but notices the mistake, it’s easily fixed. I mean, seriously, with one sentence it can be taken care of. Hell, people could just gloss over it, excusing it for the natural passage of time (it makes sense in the story).

Or they could catch it and reject the story outright.

Or…they won’t even notice it. Not that I want this mistake to remain within the story, but I have this horrible feeling that the instant someone notices it, they’ll just toss the story. After all, I’m the writer. Shouldn’t I be responsible for finding these things? If I can’t be bothered to fix my own mistakes, what does that say about me? And how many more mistakes like this did I let slip?

Am I overthinking this? Sure. But keep in mind, there are some editors/first readers that will reject a story because they don’t like the first word (no joke!). The absolutely ridiculous myriad list of stupid reasons a story will be rejected is so long and laughable that you honestly would think it’s a joke. But nope, it’s real, and I fear that a mistake like mine will cost me.

Fortunately, I sent that story to 8 publications. If you work at one of those publications and you don’t accept simultaneous submissions, I only sent it to yours 😉 But the best thing is (and I hate to be cynical, but let’s get freakin’ realistic here!), they probably won’t publish anything by a chump like me anyway. Myke Edwards isn’t a moneymaking name, so why shell out $0.08 per word for a dork no one cares about?

Once they’re all rejected, the corrected version will go out, and hopefully increase my chances of getting considered. I’m still holding out hope, despite these past 7 months not being at all promising to me. Why not? Better to be positive than not…right?

(And yes, if you missed it above, I am correcting the mistake in the story, so don’t think I’m just letting it get away from me.)