Having clocked in over 50,000 words of fiction since the end of February, I am also thrilled to have received two story acceptances from publications in the Antipodes. The first, The Planck Harvest, is already out to read and can be found in Issue 102 of Aurealis. The second will probably not be appearing until sometime next year, so watch this space. On top of that, I recently received an Honourable Mention at the Writers of the Future competition and was shortlisted, though ultimately rejected, at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, which would have been my first “professional sale”.
What I’ve found interesting is that both sold stories were written back in 2014 and 2015. These were, in no way, recent pieces of work. They had both been rejected at least ten times before. I think it highlights the common advice that publishing is a lot to do with luck and timing, and finding the right publisher for the right story. If you’re being rejected, it’s not necessarily because the story is bad, but it’s because it doesn’t quite fit, or they just had a similar story, or a dozen other reasons (one of these may still be that it wasn’t good enough). This is not a new revelation. Lots of writers have talked about this. But I don’t know if new writers truly believe it. I think they reckon that if they’ve written a great story, publication will soon follow. And as these two sales showed, sometimes you just have to find the right place for each story. You’ve got to put into the work and maybe a year later you might reap the harvest.
I’ve now got a dozen stories which I think are publishable, so it’s just a case of finding the perfect market for each of them.
Regardless, I’m taking a step back from short story writing for a little bit now. I’m planning on working on some longer projects that I hope I’ll be able to talk about more later. By the end of the year, I should have a clearer idea if they’ve got potential and, more importantly, a future. I am very excited about one project in particular, though, which seems both very retro but also of the moment in terms of form.