Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Doing The Numbers

It’s been years since I’ve submitted up to 200 pieces in a year, and from my stats I can see this is the number it takes a year to get published. Though in some cases, I actually had two pieces published from this quantity, so maybe the actual number is 100 pieces submitted for each publication (I have a post on this which talks about stats, and it’s a slightly different equation which I’m not going to bother explaining here). I am confident a story I’ve been sending out this year will soon find a home, and am beginning to think I should self-publish a short story collection, of which most of the stories have already been published in various quality lit mags. (Antioch, SMR, Evergreen)

The difficult reckoning is knowing one has a quality body of work that only a handful of people might have read. So why not just keep submitting? I am, but with much less quantity, though no less lacking in focus than before. I use most often the ready, fire, aim method. Yes, it’s as scattered as it sounds.

In any case, I think I’m mostly done with pursuing agents. I never thought I’d say this, but I have had far more interesting response from publishers for my novels than agents. I will pursue publishers until I’m sick of that and before I give up in total despair and go the self-publishing route.

Yet, I don’t know what publishers are looking for. If anything, I think the strengths of my work that get them interested on a sample, is consistently there through the entirety of the work. It’s not like I wrote a great novel up to page fifty and said fuck it. How did I get all of this other work published? Here’s my litmus test: if James Frey was sitting on one of my novels, you can believe his agent would be over the moon to publish it. Or Dave Eggers for that matter.

I’m as ever, perpetually baffled by the publishing industry. (And maybe that’s the key word to note, it’s an industry).

I’m not an active social media guy. I still feel like I’m going to keep writing and pursuing these specious interests until long after the world has moved on to more remunerative pursuits. A perspicacious admirer tells me that I need to do more social networking; let’s just say this little personal note is my calling card. And I am on Twitter when I can cough up 140 character witticisms. Other than that, it’s called love--of what I do. I vow to keep at it. One thing I can say--frustrations be damned--I am having fun with it.

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