Original Plans Change
My original stated goal for my short stories was 42 submissions in 2022. However, by the end of January, I realized that wasn't pushing me at all. In fact, I was already ahead of the submission curve and it wasn't any pressure to produce new submittable stories.
I also had been incredibly impressed with some writers who were at 150 submissions for 2021 - and found out they'd been doing this for five years. And so I adjusted my goal. I now have a goal that at year five (2025) I will aim for 150 submissions. But one does not just hit 150 submissions. No, I must work up to it.
Ever the numbers nerd, it was pretty easy to see that a nice linear ramp would have been 30 submissions my first year (2021) - which I exceeded by 10, 60 my second year (2022), 90 my third (2023), 120 my fourth (2024), which gets me to 150 in my fifth year of submitting.
I made that adjustment and went to being ahead of submission goals by one to being behind by one.
Where am I now?
I talked with several people who submit 100 or more stories in a year. It often comes down to doing a ton of simultaneous submissions or having a ton of stories to send out.
I find simultaneous submissions high anxiety producing. I tried it early on. It made me too anxious. So, simultaneous is out until I get to the point that I do not care (or will miss my goal if I do not).
I decided to get my stories that are near ready, polished and ready to send. Unfortunately, I just didn't get things edited as fast as I wanted. It was the typical issue that sometimes editing is slow despite putting the hours in. And then, in March and April, I lost a large chunk of writing and editing time to a completely different project.
And so, dear reader, where does that leave me? As of today, I have 15-16 submissions for the year. (It depends on how I count them.) Which is 4 less than where I should be for my new-and-improved 60-subs in 2022 goal but higher than my initial goal would require. With less stories to submt now than I started with.
At the turn of the year, I had sevel stories in submission rotation. One story is retired. Another story is under contract! Yay! (Details will be forthcoming so watch my social media and newsletter!)
That left me five stories in my submission rotation. Five of which currently look like this:
If you look closely, you'll notice two of those five are 2021 submissions. I'd love for them to be accepted and fall out of rotation, my 2022 submission goals be damned (since the submission goals are all about finding homes for my stories.)
Ah, but I have added a story in 2022 and my current stories under submission should be six. Which reminds me that I have a story that I've forgotten to send out because the markets I wanted to send it to were not open when it was ready to send on. So I will be one closer to my submission goals shortly.
I have more than two (and the exact number more I'm uncertain about) stories that really only need the last read-through before I send. I just need to do those last read-throughs, ie find the editing time. And then they can start down the submissions path.
And I need to find my writing time again. I have found some - I spent it writing scenes for a novella that was done. Why? Because this set of characters doesn't leave me alone. But if I get this one out on submissions, they will have to. Won't they? I guess we'll see. But this one shouldn't even need a last read-through at this point. It should be going out.
And I will get the others edited and started submitting. I have a list. I will persevere!
What am I waiting for?
It appears I was waiting for the kick of seeing my numbers in the middle of my intial and updated goal plus a story under contract to give me the motivation and confidence to squeeze writing and editing time out of my day and get submitting new stuff again.
Original Plans Continue to Change
I made a big push in January querying my novel. But the trenches are rough right now. So very rough. A form rejection on a full request sealed it. I am done. After (now) a year of querying, I'm letting my novel rest. I still have queries out, mind you. But everyone is so far behind in response times. Despite some Twitter threads asserting request rates are the same as ever, the general consensus among my querying and agented-in-the-past-two-years friends is that it is lower now than ever. I'll see if any of my unresolved queries come to anything. But unlike shorts where rejections don't bother me, every query rejection is a knife in my heart. I need a break from it.
Who knows? Maybe at the end of the next update, I'll have gone back to querying.
Writer of spec fic.