Raising Hope

November 29, 2015

Chances are, you can look back through pretty much every blog post I’ve made and one major theme will be present: frustration. Specifically, frustration at not getting stories accepted and published. Believe me, it’s more than frustrating, and if you can believe it again, I’m actually holding back in most of those posts. You know that old cartoon image of the red-faced guy with steam coming out of his ears? Yeah, that’s me.

But I feel hopeful tonight, and positive. Maybe it’s this cold, crisp air opening my neural pathways, or maybe it’s something else, but in regards to publishing, I’m not in that bad of a mood.

Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few publications that are way beyond due to give me a response. Anything, please, will do! But when I query, they either ignore me (proving they’re defunct or just don’t give a damn anymore), or they respond with a very terse, “please wait longer” type message.

Some are literally one day over their estimated time limit. While I understand that there’s been the Thanksgiving holiday and whatnot going on, it still gives me hope. I don’t believe in jinxes or luck or any of that mumbo jumbo horseshit, but I don’t like to talk about it before it’s a sure thing. Still, I have a pretty good feeling about some of these.

Even if they send me an email this Monday and apologize for the long wait because they’re swamped with submissions but still give me a big fat no, I’ll be okay. After all, I always set the bar low. I never expect to be published in any specific magazine…just hope to. Not only is it awesome if and when they say yes, I’m not horribly disappointed when they say no.

However, there are a few rude readers out there who give “advice” and comments on their rejections. While I appreciate any and all help, there’s no reason to be condescending. Saying I’ve got “growing up” to do and have to wait to play with the big boys (or whatever crap it was they said) is beyond inappropriate. And it irks me beyond belief when someone tries to be creative (like I typically do) and the first reader/editor personally doesn’t like that meshing of genres, so they reject it. For instance, a battle axe belongs in ancient Crete and not on a pirate ship, according to one person’s opinion, so the story wasn’t worth their while. So sorry I wanted to switch up weapons from the generic and overused bullshit we’re all sick of seeing.

Sorry, I don’t want to rant. But I feel like I need to! I’m hopeful and happy and yes it is irritating that one jerk tosses me aside because I’m trying something new, but it doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

And that is why I’m hopeful.

There are a lot of people out there. Surely, one of the people that writes the checks has to like me, right?

Right.

Because they are out there, and they do like me. And if not, I’ll self-publish it all, and do it the way I want.

Nothing wrong with that!

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Ugh

August 30, 2015

I’m burned out. I have a new job and it sucks, specifically the fact that I have little to no time to write or work on writing. There’s some time here and there, but not much.

So why am I there? I really needed to get out of my last job. It was killing me! Supposedly, this was going to have better hours and better pay, but nope, neither.

Until I find something new, I’m stuck. And yes, I am constantly searching for new work! Hopefully something good comes very soon!

Something else that’s bugging me is the writing I already have. While I’m having little to no luck getting things published (I wrote a very angry blog last night about it, maybe I’ll post it soon), I’m getting frustrated at people on my workshop.

For years now, I’ve been a member of an online workshop that has a great system. What bothers me, however, is how irritating some people get to be. I’ve talked about it before, like the “I guarantee” and “No editor will ever accept this” bullshit. And yet, if you go read any book or literary magazine (science fiction or fantasy, as that’s what I write, natch), you’ll see so many of those “rules” broken incessantly.

So why are people quoting chapter and verse of writing guides at me? Oh no, I used an adverb! Oh no, I used a “filter” word! If I followed your “rules” I’d have nothing left on the fucking page! (And yes, I’m aware that they are always guidelines, and have their moments to be broken, but just go with it.)

Sigh…some people get a real bee in their bonnet over stupid shit. I write stories to entertain and provide some semblance of escape to people who want to enjoy themselves. Who gives a shit that I used the word “was” a few times?

Sheesh. Get over it, people.

And you’re probably thinking, maybe that’s why I can’t get published. Far from it. The simple answer to that is, until I’m proven otherwise, I’m not in bed with the right people!

Hugos!

August 23, 2015

Last night, the Hugo Awards were presented. Unfortunately, not only could I not attend, I wasn’t nominated (seriously, people?!).

However, there were a lot of people/publications/etc. nominated that were there more or less because some people are very, very petty. These groups, the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies, are bigoted and hate liberalism, and feel the need to bring things back to white males, because reasons.

Guess what?

None of their nominees won!

As a perennial loser, I understand the frustration and emotional impact that losing can have on a person, so I feel for them, truly. However, the nominees who were there more or less for no reason other than to prove a point would have been hollow victories. The “true” nominees, based on the merit of their work, not the color of their skin/country of origin/merchandise between their legs, mostly all won.

Some of the winners were “No Award” which is an even bigger slap in the face to the losers, it seems.

Point I’m making? Thank you, people, for voting intelligently. Thank you for thinking about things, and not just proving a petty point that no one really cares about (except those hoping to make it).

Will this bury me? When editors receive a submission from me and go check on my social media to decide whether or not they’ll publish my work, will they see this and get pissed? I don’t care–I want people to judge writing/entertainment on its merit, not the overlay of color that seems so important these days.

And to some publications that didn’t want to be on the slates in the first place? Good job.

(Oh, and in completely unrelated news, I edited a story last night, and I’m very happy with it. Hopefully it’ll be coming soon!)

The Reason?

May 7, 2015

I don’t know if this will actually “get through” to people, because chances are, people aren’t going to be reading this in a year or two. But still, I want to put this up for posterity.

Lately, I’ve been having no luck getting stories accepted for publication. Editors are either giving me the typical form rejection emails (thank you, by the way!), or comments on what they didn’t like about my stories. I hate that, because they usually either contradict themselves (very funny! our readers would love this! Um, then why didn’t you accept it?), or they put some random statement that tells me they didn’t actually read the story.

Anyway, I just realized today, the closer we come to the annual awards being presented, the more difficult it is to get an acceptance. Especially this year, 2015. Why?

The Sad Puppies. I’m not going into a big thing about this, and Puppygate as they call it, but it’s fucked with everything. Everything in the sci-fi/fantasy/speculative writing community has been thrown for a loop because a group of people bumrushed the gates and made their demands known. Some publishers and editors are so mad at this that they’ve withdrawn their nominations simply out of protest.

I applaud them for doing that. But I just wish that this wasn’t so frustrating for them. Why? Because then they could actually give themselves twenty minutes to sit down and seriously read submissions they are receiving. This includes mine!

Please, editors, first readers, publishers, whoever…if you are reading this, ignore the drama. Focus on what’s truly important: entertainment.

I know, I know…not all of my stories are awesome. And not every publication is going to want it. But it seems to me that a lot of them are passing up some great writing (including other authors I know, not just me) because, well, their mind is somewhere else.

Hey, no offense. Am I wrong? Sure, probably. But let’s face it, all I see is constant talk about this Puppygate BS and as an author, I’d prefer to see constant talk about new, exciting authors. As a reader, I’d prefer to see constant talk about new, exciting authors.

Let’s put this behind us. Move on. Publish new writing. Fuck the awards.

UPDATE: I will say, thanks for the support and advice, people of internetland. Someone reposted this on their blog and commented that I should self-publish. While I am looking into that for book-length writings, like, well…books that I write, short stories are another beast altogether. It is definitely something to look into, and if this hibbity-jibbity crap with the awards ruckus gets too out of hand, I have a feeling a lot more authors than just myself will look into that.

I love you but I hate you

November 23, 2013

There’s a new, fledgling publication out there.  Of course it’s an online journal.  An e-zine.  An electronic publication.  Whatever you want to call it, there’s one that hasn’t even been published yet, and I’m more than familiar with it.  I’ve submitted three stories to them, and all three have been rejected.

It’s called [DELETED].

No, “[DELETED]” is not the name of it, but I’m not writing the name of it.  They might be really bored and search for loser authors who’ve submitted to them before on Bing or Google and find this blog and see me besmirching their good name.  And then they might…reject another story I submit.

Allow me to explain the purpose of this entry.  See, all three times I’ve submitted, they’ve responded within 24 hours.  Way less than that actually.  Like, about three hours.  Three hours for a rejection.

Ouch.

On the one hand, that’s awesome!  No waiting around for any kind of response.  They’re quick and I can continue living my life, thumbing my nose at them and finding another unsuspecting e-zine to spray my rain of terror on them.  And then submit another story at a later date to [DELETED].

But on the other hand, three hours?  Really?!  Did you guys even read it?  Are you so bored that you sit around, waiting for emails to come it and read/reject them right away?  In that case, kudos to you, but really, get a life.

I know I sound sour grapes and all, but I really have to wonder how many editors actually read your stuff.  Seriously, if there are any editors reading this (and I know there are plenty of skulkers, but no commenters), tell me honestly that you read everything.

Because I really doubt you do.

You see the words “Myke Edwards” on my email, scoff at the ridiculous sounding code-name, and toss it.  Then go look in the mirror and remind yourself you’re a good person, and gosh darnit, people like you!

Okay that last part was harsh.  But I stand by my words.  Editors: read my stories.  Then publish them.

Duh.  Why is this so difficult for you?

Several weeks ago, I received an email.  It was one of those emails that you’re always dreading opening, but more than relieved when you do.  The news in there was not fame and fortune, but a potential doorway to those things was opened.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, someone wrote to tell me they wanted my story.

I’m always happy by this.  The payoff was $10, but hey, it’s a sale!  Another listing for my writing resume, another name for editors to notice when they are deciding whether I am worth publishing or not.  I mean, they’re looking at the quality of my writing more than anything, of course, but I have a feeling that the more publications one has, an editor opens their eyes just that much more.  Or not…but that’s not the purpose of this.

The point it, I was elated.  More than thrilled.  It was a story that I highly doubted would ever get published.  It was a publication that had turned me down numerous times.  It was $10 that I can use to…huh.  Well, I’ll figure that out later.

So I went ahead and email the editor back.  Sure, I said, I’d love to be published by you!  Please let me know if I need to do anything, or just sit tight.

And since then, I have been.

I haven’t heard back from him.  That was early July.  Today is September 2.  I mean, he hasn’t even email to apologize for the wait, maybe let me know that he’s hella busy and will sent a contract, or news, or money, or whatever, when he has time?

Nope.  Nothing.  At all.

And it isn’t just this one.  There are contests I’ve applied to.  Anthologies, that had strict deadlines.  I even had a rewrite request, back in May.  Well, where’s the “Please hold tight while we continue reviewing, we are busy as hell right now”?  I did get one of those, but that was late June.  So far, nothing!

I know, I know.  If you want an answer now, then it is a resounding NO.  But I’d like an answer sometime…hell, just an acknowledgment.

I get it.  Editors are people too.  They don’t always edit their online magazine as their only job.  In fact, they’re lucky to even focus on it more than once a week.  Don’t you just think it’s rather…rude to leave people hanging like this?

I know there are others out there who agree with me.  One of the worst things is not knowing whether or not you should submit your story to another publication.  Because let me tell you, waiting on pins and needles for up to six months (sometimes more!) just to hear a bullshit “we are sorry but this does not fit our needs at the current moment” blowoff is, well, bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am perfectly willing and able to wait.  But when it’s obvious they never even looked at it, it’s obvious they couldn’t give two shits about you or your story, what are we doing this for?

Because we love it.  And no one can take that away, no matter how long you have to wait.

Still, I’d love an answer…