Posts Tagged ‘writing goals’

10
Apr

It’s been a while

I haven’t blogged in quite a long time, but I’m still writing, still busy–busier than ever, in fact. I’m still writing short fiction every day, but my focus has shifted from submitting to self-publishing. Under names you probably wouldn’t recognize, I self-publish erotic romance and similar genres.

I used to be wholly against self-publishing. I thought that was what failed writers did to feel better. I cringe writing that now, but I’m being honest. If you couldn’t get published (probably because you weren’t good enough to), you self-published. My thinking on this has evolved quite a bit, obviously. ūüôā

It began as an experiment well over a year ago, just to see what it was like and see if I could make a few bucks here or there. It wasn’t under my name, so if something tanked, who cared? I put the first story up not expecting much. Maybe I could buy a dollar burger or a pack of gum or something. I made several hundred dollars in my first month, and I’ve never looked back.

Self-publishing has become almost my entire income in the last few months. I no longer write for the two clients I worked for during all of 2012 for various reasons. Both those associations ended at almost the same time, which would have been a very bad thing a couple of years ago. It would have left me scrambling for new clients, popping Advil for stress headaches, and hoping to squeak by until I found work. Thanks to self-publishing, I was able to shrug it off and then see it as an opportunity.

Instead of spending time finding new clients to fill the gaps, I decided to give myself a trial-period for full-time self-publishing. I planned to take the time I would have spent looking for new clients and writing for them and invest that time in myself and my own career instead. I’m making enough each month to be able to try this, which still amazes me. If my income isn’t where I want it to be by the end of June or so, I told myself, I’ll contact some potential clients and go back to writing marketing copy.¬† I fully expect not to have to do that.

I’m extremely lucky in that it would be okay if I went back to marketing and sales writing–I like the work, as repetitive as it can be at times, it’s just that writing fiction is more fun, has been my dream for years and actually pays better in the end. The hours spent writing a story, creating the ebook formats and publishing it don’t pay once like articles and web copy I write for other people does. I keep getting paid for the fiction as long as it’s for sale.

Since my goal is to keep increasing my income, the stories that I plan to self-publish have to be my¬† focus for a while. Horror, science fiction and fantasy stories aren’t in my publishing empire (ha) quite yet. My plan is to take each story, send it to the best markets that are appropriate, and if it doesn’t sell, decide whether to self-publish it or give it another look. I suppose that decision will depend on a number of factors: the story, how I feel about it, its theme. I won’t know until I get there.

It’s an exciting time! My participation in W1S1 in 2011 primed my short fiction pump and made it possible for me to write and built a catalog fairly quickly. So that experiment really set the stage for my success now, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

 

 

06
Aug

Writing/Rejection/Acceptance Statistics

When I created this website last year, it was with the intention of motivating myself to have something more than old publications to actually put on it. I’ve achieved that. Now I hope that someone on the cusp, wanting to submit but unsure, might be prompted to give it a go. That’s really the purpose for chronicling everything. It’s not so much for me–though it is nice to look over things when I feel a bit glum–but for others to see the process.

Given that, here are some statistics from my W1S1 experimenting so far this year.

  • As of today, August 6th, 86 submissions this year, 23 acceptances (one a contest win, not a publication, so 22 publication acceptances) with 15 of those written this year. I currently have 10 things out to 10 different markets.¬† I’ve had 7 withdrawals for various reasons, and 45 rejections.
  • Of 22 acceptances, 12 of those were accepted by the first market I sent them to.
  • Of 86 submissions, submissions I made without reading¬†at least something from the¬†publication I was submitting to: 2, only because those were new markets with nothing yet published.
  • The first 4 things I submitted this year were accepted by the first markets I submitted them to.
  • Of the first 7 things I submitted, 6 were accepted by the first market. My 5th submission was rejected, but #6 and #7 were accepted first time out. Those were submitted in February.
  • That was the last time that two things sent consecutively were accepted at those markets until the two recent submissions from July 28th and 29th, which were both accepted about a week later.
  • My first 7 acceptances of the year were to the first markets the pieces were sent to. Getting those 7 acceptances on pieces submitted in Jan and Feb took until the end of May. Acceptance number 8 broke that streak.
  • I have yet to have a story accepted on its 4th time out. I’ve had 12 accepted the first time out, 6 accepted the 2nd time out,¬†2 accepted the third time out and 2 accepted the 5th time out. Smoke and Drum and When They Come were both rejected 4 times before being picked up. They’re my most rejected published pieces.
  • My most rejected piece so far (ever, not just this year)¬†is Sounds on Blacktop. It’s been rejected 5 times, and is currently at market #6.
  • There are 4 pieces that were rejected that I haven’t resubmitted for various reasons. Every other rejected piece has been submitted at least twice.
  • 12 of the rejections were personal rejections, that had comments about the story inside. The rest were form, or probably form.
  • The longest time a story has been out before acceptance is 100 days. The longest one has been out before rejection is 69 days.
  • Smallest number of submissions in a month: 4
  • Month with the most submissions: March, with 37
  • The longest streak of acceptances received in a row: 4 between April11th and 24th
  • The longest streak of rejections received ina row: 19 between March 2nd and March 31st. I then got 2 acceptance on the 31st, or the entire month of March would have been a wash.
  • Month with the most rejections: March 21 (two came in after an acceptance on the last day)
  • Month with the most acceptances:¬† April, with 6
  • Months with no acceptances: 0
  • New stories written this year that haven’t been edited and submitted yet? 13
  • Old stories that are close but haven’t been final edited/submitted yet: 5
  • Of the 45 rejections, how many really, really bothered me:¬†1. I still resubmitted within the hour.

 

What does all that mean? Not much, really, except that the more you have out there, the better your chances of publication, and the less you’ll focus on individual rejections. And it certainly can’t hurt to actually read the kind of¬†stuff you’re writing, from the publications in which you’d like your stuff to appear. That is all. Go submit something!

01
Jul

January – June Recap

Now that the first 6 months of the year have officially gone the way of the dodo, here are my stats. I’m happy with them, I feel good about them, and I’m very glad I signed up for the W1S1 challenge, without which I probably wouldn’t have managed to finish quite so much.

Written: 30 (and 3/4)

  • Micro-fiction: 8
  • Flash (1-1000 wds): 7
  • Short Stories (1,000-7,500 wds): 15
  • Novella: (15,000+): 3/4 completed

 

I’m really pleased with those numbers.

Submitted: 73 times

Withdrawals: 7

REJECTIONS: 39 (I had to look that number up. You really do lose count after a while, because you just don’t care anymore.)

ACCEPTANCES: 18 (10 of those written this year during W1S1)

STILL OUT: 9

There’s no way I can squint at, stare at or sneak up on those numbers that I don’t feel diddly-damned great about them.¬†My writing production will probably slow down a little for the next couple of months, since I’ve only committed to 1 story a month for at least July and August. But I intend to get the stories this year that I haven’t revised fully yet on out the door, so my submissions should stay pretty active. Hopefully the publications will, too. ūüôā


Jul

June Recap, July Plans

June was tough, because of less time and shifting priorities. I knew it would be, and even considered downgrading from the weekly to the monthly W1S1 (1 story/1 sub a month, as opposed to 1 a week). I didn’t, however, and still had hoped to meet the goal of 5 stories written in June. Didn’t happen!

While the competitive, but-I-said-I-was-gonna! part is a little frothy about the mouth at the idea of not hitting that goal, most of me (about 98%, I’d say) is okay. I feel like what I did write this month–2 stories of the hoped-for 4–were good stories. I enjoyed writing them, and look forward to seeing where they might end up, and who might enjoy them. I’ve also come to the decision that for July/August at least, I can commit to the monthly W1S1, but not weekly. I may write more than 1 story (in fact, I am hoping for at least 2) but I can’t commit to more than that right now. And I feel pretty good about the switch.

So my May plans are to write 1 new story, sub as much as feels right (which will be at least the required 1, but probably much more), and spend any other fiction-writing time revising the dozen stories written this year that are patiently waiting for their turn.

I’ve had a great 6 months, so I feel nothing but positive about the whole experience. June stats:

Wrote: 2

  • Submitted: 17
  • Accepted: 4 + 1 first place win (Shock Totems bi-monthly flash contest)
  • Published: Poem in Niteblade, short story in Luna Station Quarterly
  • Rejections: 7
  • Withdrawals: 6

 

I’ve only ever withdrawn something once before, because the email kept bouncing. Probably wasn’t even a withdrawal, since they never got it. This month, I had 5 micro-shorts at a market for a long time that seemed kind of off, so I queried twice, about a month apart. Couldn’t get the dude to say boo, so I withdrew them. I also had submitted to a market some time ago that hasn’t been replying to anybody in months. I didn’t query, I just pulled it, resubmitted, and it was accepted within a couple of days elsewhere.

So, that was June. Today is July 1st, and I do feel a sense of relief and not having to produce a completed story each week this month, knowing how I’m going to feel as the month wears on (which won’t be great). But I also feel optimistic about getting stories revised and submitted.

I hope everyone else feels the same!

 

30
Jun

Success! At Least for Today

Yesterday: I added over 5,000 words to a story that had stalled out at less than 1,500 words. In doing so, I finished the first draft. It’s in pretty good shape, only needs some tweaks and a solid one-pass edit, and I think it’s ready to go. That’s tomorrow.

Today:¬†I wrote a story this morning. This afternoon I edited it. And this evening, I submitted it. I feel accomplished. Jury will be out, of course, about whether that’s justified, until the response comes back.

When the stories have been pinballing around in my skull for a while, and I have bits written, notes, dialogue, snippets, they can come out fast and it feels pretty good. I just wish I would learn to get them out fast before the day before a deadline.

I’ve developed a very unfortunate feedback loop, I think. I ponder the story for a long time, until the 11th hour. Then I write it fast, smack it around a little and pound it into shape, submit it and get this incredible little rush from beating the clock. Fun, satisfying, but tiring as heck.

Those¬† two stories are the only two I wrote this month, far short of the 5 I had hoped for, so it’s the first month I haven’t hit my W1S1 goals. I knew the month would be crazy, however, and so I’m not surprised. I’m not even bothered. Because those two stories make me happy. ūüėÄ