December, like 2019 itself, was a bit of a ride, both highs and lows. I hit my goals, both submission count and getting Space Crazies edited and out the door; I received no likes on my PitMad tweets. A friend’s mother passed away. There was a taxes-owing kerfuffle. Christmas. Good times with friends. Depression. A new star war came out (going to see it tonight) and tomorrow begins a new year with new goals and plans, so here is a wrap-up for the year.
STATS FOR MATH NERDS
- Submissions sent out: 200
- Fiction: 67
- 2 acceptances
- 7 pending
- Queries: 133 (22 for Space Crazies, the rest for Blackout Odyssey)
- 7 full requests
- 118 rejections (4 for Space Crazies, the rest for BOO)
- 44 ghosts
- Fiction: 67
- Rejections received: 178
- Pitch contests entered: 3
- Number of magazines that folded while I had a submission there: 5
- Number of long-listed stories: 5 (not the same places; all ultimately rejected)
- One review published in Locus, for Still Life
- One novel self-pubbed (Creampuffs)
- One novel finished (Fletcher & Cooper)
- although probably will count as two once I edit it since it’s 210K words long
- One anthology run (A Quiet Afternoon), for which we have received, as of this writing, 69 submissions (nice).
GOALS NOT DREAMS
Hitting 200 submissions this year was a great goal: it forced me to stretch a bit and take chances I wouldn’t ordinarily have taken. In 2017, before I started a sub/rejection goal, I sent out stories 16 times. I have no idea what percent an increase 200 is from 16, but it’s a lot.
That being said, there’s an unspoken assumption that the increase in submissions will come with an increase in acceptances, and for many people that is the case; not for me. I sold two stories this year (one of which comes out tomorrow). Quite a few long-listed. But ultimately this was a year of rejections, wave after wave of them, and it was… tiring.
So for 2020 I think I will shift my focus to other goals. I still want to send out subs, but I might change gears down to a “mere” 100. Enough to keep me in the game, but not enough that I have to face down the prospect of 198 rejections. Again.
I still have Embers & Ignition to edit, as well as Fletcher & Cooper. I want to write more stories, maybe branch out into horror. And I want to keep helping other people along the way… which leads me to my next goal, changing up this blag a little bit.
This past year I have been running a weekly challenge check-in with a FB writer’s group. It’s fun, cheeky, filled with gifs, and a great way for people to give themselves little nudges onward as well as know that other people are in the same boat (and that boat is a party boat). It’s been fun, insightful and fulfilling, and I think I want to bring it out to the greater world. So starting next week, *Insert Subplot Here will change its format: Monday I will post a Submission Challenge, complete with motivational gifs and/or tips, and Thursday will be a follow-up and/or updates post. So two posts a week, and leaning much more into the productivity help, instead of being about writing. (Although I’ll still moan about writing from time to time, don’t worry.)
I joked about putting 200 candles in a cake to celebrate hitting my submission goal, and then I thought: why joke?
It’s important to recognize the work that we put into carrying on. Too much the focus is on the outward signs of success and ignores the hidden effort that goes on towards that success, and too often adds a burden onto people who don’t achieve the same measures, often through no fault of their own. I worked damn hard this year and I think ending a year with a recognition of that effort in the form of a cake is a very sweet way to send off 2019–and start 2020, because you better believe I am having some of that cake for breakfast tomorrow.
Happy New Year, faces. We survived 2019. Let’s hope 2020 is a little easier.
(Either that or have it come with jetpacks. Finally.)