Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I received my 41st acceptance today. This is the story I mentioned in my October 31 post; it's a story I pulled from my files, revised, and lengthened to meet an editor's "emergency" call for a story to fill a hole in her January issue. I wasn't the only writer to respond to her call, but...


Susanne said...


Hope successfully revising and submitting on such a tight time frame boosted your confidence a bit.

You ARE getting better ... mentally as well as physically!

Just completed the speed round myself by responding to Nicole's call for 3,000 word stories on specific themes.

Starting from scratch and submitting barely a day later, I consider myself a "winner" just for finishing.

Still, a contract would be wonderful!

Take Care!!

Michael Bracken said...

During the past few years I have--like you, Susanne--tried to take advantage of confession editors' last-minute calls for specific submissions, even knowing that there were a few hundred other writers seeing the same call for submissions.

Most of my submissions to these last-minute calls have resulted in sales, and the few that haven't resulted in sales are either still sitting in the editors' submission piles or (God forbid) lost because I've not received rejections for them.

One observation about all the last-minute calls we see on the TrueWriters list: As a group, we're doing a piss-poor job of supplying the editors with appropriate material.

For example, I try to keep a "writer's calendar" so that I am writing and submitting seasonal and holiday-specific material approximately six months in advance.

For example, this might be the last opportunity to submit Valentine's Day stories for the February issues, but I submitted a bunch of them during the summer. (And, you'll notice, there haven't been any last-minute calls for Valentine's Day stories!)

What does that mean to us today? It's November. Six months from now is May. What happens in May? Mother's Day. Armed Forces Day. Memorial Day. Between now and the end of the month, write five Mother's Day-themed confessions, one for each confession magazine. Then write five Armed Forces Day-themed stories and five Memorial Day-themed stories.

On December 1, start writing stories for the June issues. That would be five Fathers' Day-themed stories, five Flag Day-themed stories, five wedding-themed stories, five end-of-school-themed stories.

January 1, started working on those July stories. Summer vacation. Independence Day. And so on.

That's just a few of the most obvious themes, but do a little research and you'll discover things like Breast Cancer Awareness month, Diabetes month, Grandparent's Day, Groundhog's Day, and on and on and on. Write those on your writer's calender. This will help you submit seasonal/holiday-themed stories other confession writers will overlook (and be certain to tell the editor in your cover letter or in a note on your envelope what month your theme fits!).

If just a few of us did this on a regular basis, you might never see another last-minute call for submissions show up on the TrueWriters list.

And some of us would start seeing many more contracts...

Susanne said...

Michael -

Your advice is right on target as always, BUT sometimes think that those of us who've been around long enough to follow it get lost in the shuffle. I haven't heard back (either yes or no) on ANY of the Feb. stories I submitted in a timely fashion to the handful of remaining Trues (or on my fall stories either with the exception of one contract!)
Did get an e-mail from Nicole tentatively accepting the rush 3,000 word story with a request for a few minor additions which I'll obviously take care of first thing.
By the way, did you see Nicole's latest emergency call? Hope you have something on file that might work!

To everyone who submitted a story: THANK YOU!! We are two-three
stories short for February. Can anyone, whether you've already
submitted or not, whip one up over the weekend? (Roughly 4500-7500
words). It doesn't have to be about Valentine's Day. Anything
romance/life oriented that's happening with a snowy background in the month of February (it could take place during a leap year, or during Groundhog Day). We'd need it by Monday morning.

Michael Bracken said...

The frequent turnover of editorial staff at the confession magazines seems detrimental to long-term contributors. As soon as we establish a good working relationship with an editor, she leaves and we must start over again with her replacement. I suspect that explains why some of our submissions--submitted in a timely manner, of course--seem to to get lost in the shuffle.

And, yes, I did manage to submit something for the most recent call. See my November 15 post.