Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Professional Sale! Quitting Day Job! (Not Really!!!)

The term is over! No papers to write, no homework to do, no lectures to attend, huzzah!

Well, that's not entirely accurate. I actually have a bunch of reading to do, NOW, for NEXT term ... ah, that's the way of college, I suppose. Not that I mind it at all, because otherwise, suddenly, I sit down in front of the computer and come up blank. It's been so long since I wrote any fiction that I don't have any stories brewing in my mind, and so, nothing's coming out. Hmm...

I do have a half zillion ideas just sitting in storage, waiting to be pulled out and dusted off and elaborated into stories. Still, I have to get into the right frame of mind for that. Every last one of my submitted stories has, in the meantime, come back to me. So I have to work up a new round of submissions too, before heading back to school in a few weeks. It's not easy to be simultaneously in editing-mode and writing-mode. Oh, and I still need to get around to "finishing up stories that only got halfway completed"-mode. All this and Christmas, work, newspaper recruiting, and preparatory homework assignments! Again I wish that sleep was an option, not a requirement.

At the end of October (I believe it was just a week or a few days after my last blog), I submitted a flash fiction story with a Christmas theme, guiltily thinking that maybe I'd done it too late since most publishers like to have substantial warning to properly publish holiday stories. Not that I'd had the chance to do it sooner. So I just sent it out into the vast ocean of submissions and hoped!

And promptly got back a response ... accepted! Daily Science Fiction, which is a pretty self-explanatory web magazine, opted to buy "The Christmas Zombie" (a pretty self-explanatory story) and, better, to publish it on Christmas Day! If you are subscribed to DSF you can get the story emailed to you on Christmas, because that's what DSF does--emails awesome SF and/or Fantasy stories every weekday, for free! If you'd rather complicate life than have things made easy for you, you can also check out all of their stories at their website (above), although stories are put up on the site a week after they're emailed.

I'm thoroughly excited because this acceptance is my first professional-level sale! Best Christmas present ever! If you don't know what on earth a professional-level sale means, this is distinguished as making at least $0.05/per word for a short story. It's more than a lot of places offer, even if it doesn't sound like it and doesn't add up to a huge amount compared to the work that goes into creating a piece of fiction ... but I'm just happy to be able to make a little money doing something so fun! A lot of people I know don't realize just how hard it is to sell fiction. I don't know if I'll ever make a living doing this, but it's nice to earn a little pocket money ... and share around my stories, to boot! And now I can put a professional market on my resume!

I haven't got the wildly rousing level of excitement from most folks that I would've liked. Most people I annoyingly inform of this don't have a clue what "professional-level" means, much less the significance of being published at all! Which results in the common response of, "Oh, that's nice." I think a lot of them expect that once you've been professionally published, you are now Stephen King and don't need to have a day job. Unfortunately not. Although, the way I see it, it's one step on the stairway to world domination! Bwahaha!  And when I correct people who think by "story" I mean "novel", it's strange how their distant approval turns into, well, what looks like disappointment! For humble little me, who sold my first story only a little more than a year ago, novels are way in the future! (Not least of all because I don't have the time to devote to that sort of writing, agent-hunting, querying and cover letter-ing, submitting, etc. Novels are, indeed, a many-headed beast, while short-stories are quite manageable solo.) There are just so many secret ins and outs to the world of selling fiction, most people don't realize that novelists virtually always start out selling short stories in order to PROVE they are good enough writers to those novel-publishing presses. Which I suppose I still have to work on, so ... on to the next round of submissions!


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  2. I subscribe to DSF and just read your story in my inbox. That was pure awesome. I love zombie twists. Actually, I love creature twists of any kind. Nice work! :)

  3. Congratulations! from a sci-fi-publisher-wanna-be. I've submitted two pieces to Daily Science Fiction, both of which were amazingly easy to write, just flowed as I wrote them, made me so proud, and both of which were quickly rejected. It ain't as easy as it looks! So I applaud you for your zombies story, it was brilliant and funny, a nice twist on the theme.
    While we're on the topic of zombies, aren't there a lot of great things writers could do with them? They seem to be relentless in their desire for flesh... so cage them up, stick them on a treadmill, dangle a piece of flesh in front of them, hook it up to a generator... what a great power source!
    Best of luck to you, I'm sure you have a great future as a writer. What a great day it'll be when you can confidently give up your day job!
    Mike W.

  4. Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your kind words--it really means a lot to a newbie writer like me. Oh, and the zombies hope you had a nice holiday season! :)

  5. Hello Mike! Okay, so you've discovered the secret of how I keep my computer running and coffee brewing... zombies and treadmills. Just don't tell anyone!
    I'm not exaggerating to say I've submitted over a dozen times just to DSF and this is my first acceptance with them, so, keep that in mind! One of these days I'm sure I'll be reading your fiction from them, too!
    Take care!