Dear Author, AKA: A Letter To Myself,
In the rush of crafting a short story from the ether guided by your all-knowing and possibly frequently truant muse be sure to heed the cautionary words of Ice Cube and “Check yourself before…” You know the drill. There will come a point in the excitement of having written what you believe to be the Alpha and/or Omega of world literature that you say, “Well, this is wordtastic and no matter where and to whom I submit it for publication they’ll be fighting for dibs on my historic achievement.” STOP! BREATHE! *looks at you out the side of my eyes. It’s revised and edited, right? That’s not a steaming pile of first draft you just fed through the glorious mystery of the internet, right? OH, PLEASE SAY YOU ATE THAT AND REGURGED IT A FEW TIMES BEFORE YOU LET IT SLIP INTO ONE OF YOUR FOUR STOMACHS. MOOVE it to the back burner a second. Let it simmer.
You need to start doing some research. You only just heard about Duotrope and I know you’re loathe to shell out the little money you have after taxes, insurance, and whatever other myriad expenses siphon your pay each time your boss cuts you a check but you’ll see the value in as little as fifteen to thirty minutes if you run a search for markets compatible with the genius you so willy-nilly cast upon the page as your fingers stumble like a meth-addled jackrabbit suffering an apocalyptic bout of vertigo around your keyboard. Believe me, I waited too long to dive in and use their services(Completely unsponsored, no reimbursement or kickback mention). They’re a road map for the countless places to submit fiction of all stripes, lengths, diseases, deformities, and cuteness.
Check the back burner. Make sure that gem isn’t burning to the bottom of your chipped Teflon pot. Oh, you stopped to check Twitter, Facebook, and Nicotine-Eye-Patch-Felines.com? Stop it. You don’t have that kind of time. None of us do. Write. Edit. Submit. Dry your eyes for the first hundred rejections. Repeat. Hopefully, by the second hundred rejection round things will start to improve. But, I have read that in the short fiction markets that a 1% acceptance rate for manuscripts submitted is the norm. So be brave and forget the miracle. It’s hard work and banging your head against a wall that are going to break you through this paradigm. Write. Forget fame. Write.