For my first post here on my speculative fiction site, I would like to admit defeat.
For the past seven years, I’ve followed the standard and accepted path for those who want have their fiction published: submit your work to journals and cross your fingers that the gatekeepers like it.
According to my lazy-ass armchair estimates, perhaps one hundred thousand people read the mainstream English-language fiction journals …combined. In 2005, Science Fiction and Fantasy reported a paid circulation of 26,600.
I currently reach about 5,000 people per month on Happenchance (with pretty good reader engagement). If I can do that on a vaguely-focused site about creative work, then I can do it here as well.
Clearly, I’ve been an idiot to put my writing career in the babysoft hands of interns, gatekeepers, and other well-meaning lovers of fiction (we’re all on the same team in this department).
I’ve submitted my fiction to over fifty journals and publications. I received almost as many rejection slips. Most were form letters, sent out months and months after submissions were sent, if at all. Science Fiction and Fantasy is a notable exception: their interns usually reject my work in as little as a week.
However, like a parched man, I need only the tiniest drop of encouragement to continue. One of these drops came from Edmund Schubert at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. About my submission [LINK, eventually], he wrote “this was a tough one to reject” and went on to give me some sweet feedback. Thanks Mr. Schubert!
Another came from Michael Czyzniejewski, editor at Mid-American Review, who wrote “although we have decided not to accept [your story] for publication, we wanted to let you know that we read it with more than the casual amount of interest, that there is much to admire in your writing.”
That’s all the encouragement I need. I’ve paid my dues by attempting to impress editors. I’ve already working on my second million words, vis a vis Ray Bradbury.
Today, then, I give up on the accepted path to fiction publication. With this post, I break ground on my own path. What this path willl look like, remains to be seen. Like a freak setting out into the forest with nothing but a machete, compass, and bag of amphetamines, the journey promises to be a long and strange one.
Won’t you join me?