Thursday, January 11, 2018

Four

I wrote and submitted my fourth short story of the year today. This one's a 250-word dark-crime/horror flash.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

1

I received my first acceptance of the year, this for a short romance. My two previous appearances in this publication were short pieces of humor published in 1980 and 1982.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Three

I finished and submitted my third short story of the year this morning. This one's a 5,000-word bit of crime fiction I started October 1, 2017, and it's the third (and final story) I found in nearly complete form when I cleaned off my desk this past weekend.

Lesson learned: Don't let things pile up!

Two

I completed and submitted my second short story of the year this morning. This one's a 3,700-word bit of crime fiction I started writing May 4, 2017, and it's the second one I found on my desk this past weekend that only needed a good proofread before being ready for submission.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

2017 in review

37 acceptances (vs. 45 in 2016).

40 rejections (vs. 35 in 2016).

33 original short stories published and two reprinted (vs. 40 in 2016), and no articles/essays published (vs. 4 in 2016). (Even so, I did write some guest blog posts and became a regular contributor to SleuthSayers.org.)

I completed 32 short stories (vs. 56 in 2016).

I completed (to final draft) 130,600 words of short fiction (vs. 169,430 in 2016).

That's an average story length of 4,081 words (vs. an average of 3,026); the shortest story was 1,100 words; the longest was 6,700 words.

I completed and submitted an average of .62 short stories each week (vs. an average of 1.08 each week in 2016).

(I only track completed short fiction word counts, not words written for incomplete projects, nor words written for other forms of writing.)

Observations:

1) The decreased number of completed stories and the increase in the average length of my stories is partially attributable my not writing any stories intended for Woman's World, a market I have never cracked. 

2) Two magazines, responsible between them for 21 of 2017's published stories, ceased operation mid-year. This negatively impacted the number of acceptances and the number of published stories, and it put a crimp in my productivity.

3) Some publications do not send rejections. Non-responses are not included in the rejection count.

2018 Goals

For the past several years, my annual goals have been:

1) To complete and submit an average of at least one short story each week.

2) To receive an average of at least one acceptance each week. (Reprints and non-fiction pieces count for this goal.)

3) To continue to have one or more short stories published each and every month, as I have for several years now.

Given that I've lost two of my primary markets, these goals may no longer be realistic. So, my primary goal this year is to rebuild and re-establish myself as I move into new markets and/or new genres.

Monday, January 01, 2018

One

I completed my first short story of the year this afternoon. This is a 1,200-word horror story I found in nearly complete form when I was cleaning off my desk yesterday. I began work on it March 27, 2017, and all it needed was a final proofread. So, it's finished, but I don't yet know where to send it.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Found on my desk

I often email myself story ideas when I'm out and about. While cleaning off my desk, I found this one from October 2014:

Giant alien slugs invade Earth. They appear about to take over everything until our hero discovers that their kryptonite is a common seasoning.

So, how were they killed?

With a salt rifle.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

There's a drought in Texas

Two months have passed since my last acceptance, a sales drought I haven't experienced since sometime in the previous century.

I've received only five rejections during the past two months, so it isn't that my work is getting kicked back. Rather, my submissions are just sitting.

Sometimes, this is a good sign. With some markets, the longer the editor holds a story the more likely an acceptance is forthcoming.

On the flip side, long delays sometimes mean submissions were never received. A few times this year I've followed up after long delays only to discover my original submissions were never received or had gone into an editor's spam folder. (This happens most often with submissions sent to gmail accounts.) Following up has led to at least two acceptances, but most often the follow-up also receives no response.

So, I'm hoping the new year brings a flood of acceptances because this drought is killing me.