Monday, 31 December 2018

My literary 2018

At the start of 2017 I decided that I'd try to increase quantity of output (easy to do, since I write a poem a month if that, and few stories), being less precious about quality, and I decided to send more things off, not ignoring themed issues and calls for submissions. The year was fairly successful - about 20 acceptances, and more pieces written than usual. People say that the wider the base of the pyramid, the higher the pyramid, and that's what I found. I got into some places I'd not been in before, and wrote several pieces that I was pleased with.

In 2018 I intended to build on this. In addition I decided to start afresh, going to workshops on how to write, how to get published, etc. I also walked around with a notepad. However, it's been one of my worst years for acceptances. Why?

  • Several publications stipulate that people shouldn't submit for a year after being published, so there were places I couldn't send to in 2018.
  • In 2017 I had a backlog of unpublished material. Many of the acceptances were of old work that I'd made more marketable.
  • Though I think I'm writing better, I suspect that actually I'm becoming more niche, less fashionable. An elegant prose style maybe, but few characters to empathise with. Interesting poetry, but disruptive style-switching.
  • I've had several near-acceptances (short-listed, etc) that in other years might have been acceptances.
  • If I'm trying to improve quality by widening the base, I need to widen the base a lot to improve quality a little. I know of people who've widened their base by an order of magnitude. My increase was nothing like that.

What's perhaps most disappointing is that I've a handful of c.2000-word short stories written in the last 5 years whose publication I thought would be just a matter of time. Silly me. So next year -

  • I'll pay for submitting - several magazines (e.g. Ambit) now charge for submissions. I don't mind this - after all, they need to cover submittable costs, and in the olden days submissions weren't free anyway, requiring 2 stamps and 2 envelopes. I've avoided such publications up to now.
  • I'll more brutally cannibalize old stuff
  • I'll try more US paper magazines
  • In the bio that I send mags I'll not say when my books/booklets were published (too long ago).

On the plus side I'm getting more pleasure from others' successes - fellow members of writers groups I go to are appearing in several magazines.

No comments:

Post a Comment