Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Published...sort of

My story "The Great Little Train Robbery," a bit of crime fiction suitable for the entire family, is now available in audio format for $.88 from Sniplits at

14, 15, 16, 17

My 14th acceptance of the year came as a surprise when I received an e-mail from an editor asking if it was OK to make minor alterations to three of my stories so that they became interrelated and could be published as a trio next week. Two of the stories had been accepted and paid for a while back, but the third is one I submitted earlier this month and for which I had not yet received an acceptance.

Of course, I agreed to the changes.

And by return e-mail learned that the editor was accepting three more of my stories.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Published, 13

Today's mail brought welcome news, news that felt even more welcome because of last Friday's manuscript massacre: I received a contributor copy of the May True Love containing my story "Up Close & Personal" and I received a contract from True Love (my 13th acceptance of the year) for a story tentatively scheduled for the July issue.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Perhaps I was starting to get cocky and whatever deity controls the karmic balance of the universe decided to bitch-slap me back to reality, but today's mail brought an unexpected mountain of bad news. I received four rejections.

It's been a long, long time since I received four rejections in a single day. In fact, I haven't even received four rejections in the same month since May of last year when I received five.

If ever there was a day made for crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head, this is the day.

But hiding from the rejections piled on my desk doesn't make me a better writer, nor will it make me more successful. What will make me a better, more successful writer is a close examination of the stories. Why were they rejected? Is there a problem with the stories, or did I submit them to inappropriate markets?

Maybe I'll seek the answers to those questions tomorrow, after I crawl out from under the covers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And the significance is...

Several years ago the local Barnes & Noble had a selection of how-to-write titles that pretty much filled three shelving units (a shelving unit being approximately six shelves tall by approximately four feet wide). Over the years the shelf space devoted to how-to-write titles has slowly diminished. Today, for the first time, only a single unit contained how-to-write titles. The other two units that once held how-to-write titles was filled with dictionaries.

I'm certain this is significant in some way. I just can't figure out what the significance is.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Success is in the volume

The promotional blurb for Confessions: How To Write & Sell True Stories (Toad Hall Press, 2001), claims "Lorraine Henderson now earns a five-figure income from writing--all from writing short stories needed by the many confessions magazines that are published every month."

At an average of 3-cents/word it would take 333,333+ words/year to earn a minimal five figure ($10,000) income from writing confessions. That sounds like a lot of words, but is only 947 words each day, 365 days a year.

I type about 50-words/minute, so I should be able to produce 947 words with 19 minutes of effort.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Now imagine generating story ideas and plots for one to two stories each week. How long does that take? If I devote 30 minutes a day to generating story ideas and plots, 19 minutes to writing, and 11 minutes to revision and proofreading, I'm only working one hour a day writing confessions and am left with seven hours a day for other writing.

If it were this easy, we'd all be doing it. And if we all did it, we'd inundate the editors with more submissions than they could possibly publish and, thus, increase our rejection rates.

Still, 947 words a day doesn't sound that difficult does it?

Ready, set, go...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I received my 12th acceptance of this year this afternoon, this time for a bit of crime fiction.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hell week

If I didn't enjoy what I do, this would have qualified as Hell week. I had--and met--editing/production deadlines for a weekly newsletter, a monthly newsletter, a monthly newspaper, and a bi-monthly magazine. Additionally, I wrote a new 3,700-word short story and finished work on a 5,700-word short story that I started several weeks ago. I did manage to squeeze in a little personal time, but I am worn out.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fifth anniversary

Today is my fifth anniversary as a full-time freelance writer/editor.

Here's what I've learned:

There's no overtime pay. And there's plenty of overtime.

Health insurance and self-employment tax take a huge bite out of my bottom line.

Budgeting is a challenge when income is erratic.

Developing good relationships with key clients is instrumental in achieving success.

Success is self-defined. But ability to pay the bills is a key component of it.

Happiness like this makes all the challenges seem inconsequential.