Submissive behaviour: Musing on short fiction

Yes, yes, I hear you. What, another self-absorbed post on writing already? How long have you being writing KT? Ten minutes? Get with the fiction Captain Try-Hard or get out of here!

Well… whatever. It’s my blog and I’ll try-hard if I want to.

Anyway, today I’ve been thinking about writing and getting paid. As I stated in my first post my eventual aim is to write a novel – specifically a novel that gets published (by someone else, not self-published) and that I get paid for. I should say that I’m not I’m not opposed or biased against self publishing in any way, nor am I expecting to give up my day job on those sweet author fat stacks of cash. What I do want however, is the external affirmation of having written something that someone else, someone professional, can say ‘this is good enough for me to invest in’.

So selling my work is a focus of mine, and I have done a chunk of research into things that might eventually help me get a novel across someone’s desk.

  1. The first and most obvious thing is a finished novel – a thing that is entirely in my hands (the secret to writing is finishing your shit).
  2. Second is quality – and this blog is very much aimed at improving my quality. Some of the feedback and advice I have gotten is excellent, and for those who have commented – thanks, I do try to take all advice on board.
  3. Thirdly is presence – particularly online and social media presence. Agents want to verify things a writer puts in their CV’s, check how savvy they are with social media (important for marketing) and would probably like to look for potential hidden mines and traps. A couple of good articles include ‘What Does a Literary Agent Want to See When They Google You?‘ and ‘Why Do Literary Agents Google Potential Authors‘ Again, this blog is intended to address these considerations.
  4. Finally, publication history. Apparently an agent or a publisher is more likely to give you the time of day if you have published before (which makes sense, it shows you are capable of creating something that someone else considers entertaining). The importance of this is reflected in this article, ‘Building Publication Credits‘.

Getting a publication history means making Submissions. Which is what I’m looking at today.

Whilst I’m as new to this game as I could be, I figure I should start to write some shorter stuff with a purpose of seeking publication in a magazine, or anthology. If what I create is not good enough to submit, or is rejected, then it might end up on the blog in some form or another.

Sure, this means the novel might be on hold whilst I belt out and try to polish a few short stories, but that’s simply what it is. If things don’t work out (that is, if I don’t create a story I feel is worth submitting), its back to the novel. I don’t have a time limit on my writing, things get done when they get done (noting of course, that this is contrary to the secret writing-fu of ‘finishing your shit’ I referenced earlier).

The question is of course, where to submit:

  • I have a friend who got me onto Aurealis Magazine, an Australian Science Fiction/Fantasy online magazine (focus on Australian writers).
  • I recently became aware of Uncanny Magazine, again, Sci-Fi and Fantasy focused.
  • And the Lovecraft eZine has put out a call for stories to go into a book called Autumn Cthulhu.

Each one has open submissions, and each one has a clear pay rate, and as such these are the ones I have looked at first.

Is anyone aware of other places to submit? Have you had recent successes? Any tips, tricks or horror stories?

Thanks for reading


Published by: wildbilbo

My name is Kristian Thoroughgood, alternately known as KT to my friends, or @WildBilbo on twitter. As of August 2015, I am forty years old. Australian. My blog is intended to be both a place for me to polish my creative writing muscles (not a double entendre) and for others to read and comment on my musings. Expect short stories, articles, essays and other brain dumps. My opinions are my own, and whilst I take care to be at least moderately informed about any topic I speak or write about, these opinions are subject to rapid change in the face of passionate arguments and greater evidence. Please note - on my blog, Evidence beats Passion.

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