As you know, I’ve been working on building my author platform, and part of that is getting a few publications under my belt before I query agents with my first manuscript (Zombie Love, if you’re keeping track). With that in mind, I’ve been looking into submission opportunities. As far as I’ve noticed, there are a few different types:

  • Anthologies: submitted stories are added to a published anthology. Authors usually receive a copy of the book, which might be in ebook format. Occasionally there’s payment, but it seems rare. Sometimes the only benefit is the glory of having a story published.
  • Free contests: these are contests with a clear winner (or a few). Sometimes these have cash prizes.
  • Paid contests: these are contests that charge an entry fee and are judged, with winners receiving cash prizes.

I’ve found a few sites that gather the free contests, and I’ve been following small publishers on Facebook who post calls for anthologies. I’ve stayed completely away from anything I need to pay for.

My first submission was to an anthology; I’m still waiting to hear back. My second was to a small publisher’s contest. That was my first rejection.

I was actually surprised with my reaction when I received the rejection email. I expected to be upset or mopey, but instead I shrugged and said, “oh well.” It didn’t take long for me to be glad I was rejected: it made me feel like a real author. Everything I’ve read about being an author says, “get used to rejection and have a thick skin.” Since my first response was a rejection, I have nowhere to go but up.

After that rejection, I decided I could handle more. I searched the contest sites and publishers and came up with a few calls for submissions that peaked my interest. I wrote them down in my writer’s notebook, and check the list daily to see if I feel inspired to work anything.

Some we’ve returned from our trip, I submitted a nearly 10k word summary of our UK trip, as well as two tiny things (one a story and one a set of questions, though I don’t consider them official submissions since they are so small). I’ve written two more stories for submission, but need to edit them before I actually got the submit button.

As I venture into the depths of short story and poetry submissions, I’ve decided to track my progress. I post a tweet after each submission with #submission[numbered submission]. I plan to do the same with rejections. As of right now, I’m on #submission3 and #rejection1.

Stay tuned for my progress.