Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Anticipated Delays

I suddenly realized that I've been ignoring the production of short stories for the next year because of my preoccupation with a pair of very different novels. These still have to go through several revisions before they reach an editors desk - probably years, given the pace of publication. Self-publishing or Small Press might be quicker, but neither of those can give you the reach of a large publisher and their distribution chains.

This is one reason I try to maintain a steady stream of shorter works.  It doesn't earn as much, but it does keep one's name alive. But even short stories face delays.  The actual publication of a short story appears long after its creation, sometimes a year or more.  Thus unless I have finished a dozen by this time nothing of mine will appear until late 2016 at best and sometime in 2017 at worse.

The delay is due to a number of factors.  First, just getting a story finished, reviewed by a friend, and submitted often eats up an entire month. Even sending the story to the proper editor takes a long time.  Even my favorite editor takes nearly three months to let me know if my submission is accepted or not. If the latter, then I have to go with another editor who might take even longer to respond.  After acceptance there might be changes requested by the editor to make it more acceptable to his readership, dealing with the eagle-eyed copyeditor, and reviewing and correcting the galleys before the  magazine is printed and distributed.

Obviously if you pin your hopes on a single story it  might take years and years before it ever reaches a single (but hopefully more) reader.  The strategy is to maintain your production, turning around rejections as quickly as you can, and getting a steady stream of pieces going out.  Most of what you write will be rejected again and again until you either put it in the trunk or sell it to someone who does not value the worth of your words.

But a succession of short stories requires a refreshed mind and, after concentrating on the novels for nearly a  year, it is hard to get back into thinking in more abbreviated forms.  But a new copy of Discover has arrived simultaneously with Analog and Asimov's so I am hopeful that some inspiration will arrive shortly after.

And with it another short story or two.