We're getting into the spooky season and I started early. Please enjoy theese 17 stories. Not all are horror and there are fewer than normal because I am on an unexpected social media hiatus. I planned one for mid-October but sometimes life demands things on a different time scale.
HOAX published A Panther in Every Pantry, a Lion in Every Living Room by Andrew Kozma as a reprint from 2016.
Tilly's Dolls by Sarah Jackson was published by 96th of October in September.
Balancing the Scales by Cislyn Smith was published by ZNB Presents in September.
All the Boys in the Sea by Marie Croke was published by Fireside Fiction in August.
The Sleep Cure by Alice Gauntley was published by The Dread Machine in September.
This Shattered Vessel, Which Holds Only Grief by Izzy Wasserstein was published by Apex Magazine in 2021.
These are supposed to post on the first Monday of the month, but yesterday was a Holiday in the US and I really wanted to work on my current project instead of blog. First Tuesday of the month after a US Holiday is going to be good this time.
I've got twenty-one (21) stories for you from the month of August.
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The Earthquakes are Coming by Ai Jiang was published by The Puritan Magazine in August.
The Sun and the Sweet, Black Earth by Sarah Jackson published by Lavendar Bones in August.
Fireside Fiction is coming to a close soon and Daily Science Fiction is going on an extended or permanent break. Both used to send my stories into my inbox. I visit many speculative fiction magazines, but few send stories in their newsletters regularly. They tend to pick favorites (much like I do in my newsletter). Send me your favorite magazines, especially if they have email newsletters with their stories.
Short Story Submissions On a Roll!
In April, I gave the update that my original goal planning was not cutting it, and so I made a stretch goal - submit (and get rejections [for]) sixty (60) short stories this year. This will lead up linearly until in my fifth true year of submissions, I'm aiming for 150. I try to stay on top of submissions by having a specific number reached as the calendar year progresses. Othewrise, I might be stuck short of my goal with a large number of closed-for-the-holidays and/or a break markets.
As of today, I should have sent forty-two (42) stories out in the world - the same number I actually sent out in 2021. I am excited to say, I have submitted fifty (50) short stories already in 2022. I am only ten (10) away from my goal and have a whole four (4) months to get them sent out.
New Stories in Rotation
Since the April update, I have 2-3 shorter works that I have fully polished and am sending out, along with my other stories looking for homes. This brings me to ten-ish (10) stories that are out and about, looking for their homes. Why -ish? Well, a couple of those stories counted and not counted are reprints, another is a drabble that I'm not settled with. Another has a very specific order-of-operations and isn't really available to just send out, or turn-around upon rejection, which is my usual motis operandi.
Right at this moment, not everything that could be is out. And, gasp, I've got a couple stories under acceptable simultaneous submission! I find with ten stories, the turn-around is a little slower and I also consider simultaneous sub with less stress than it was.
Querying, you say? Yes, last update after a year of querying and a (less than a paragraph) form rejection on a full request and so much silence from agents, I declared myself done querying one of my novels.
Then a friend and champion of querying mentioned she was at 150 queries. Which sparked one of my few competitive drives. While I will not try to outcompete that, I have decided to at least get to 100 queries with my novel before setting it aside.
In June, I began querying again.
For the first ten months of querying, I made a policy to always have one dozen (12) queries out in the wild. I built up to that number within the first week or two. When a rejection came in, I sent another out. With the silence of agents in 2022, that method does not work at all. I'd never move forward with queries. I'm currently sending queries as I have the emotional and time bandwidth for it. Every rejection is still a knife in my heart (but I'd still the rejections than the silence). I'm currently at about twenty (20) queries out.
We'll see how it goes.
Until Next Time...
I hope to have all sorts of good news by the 2022 goals wrap-up - short story goals submissions met, more acceptances, querying at least meeting my goal number if nothing else.
I suggested lots of fiction during July. Most of it has been published this year, but every so often I dipped back a year or few. Here are the 21 stories I thought you might enjoy because I did.
The Coffe Cup Song by Cat Rambo published at Kittywumpus.
The Sunday Morning Transport published The Daily Commute by Sarah Gailey in July.
I took a break from posting short fiction for all of May and a portion of June. However, a discussion about readership spiking with random tweets of stories motivated me to start up again. I am tweeting and posting on Facebook a suggested short fiction for readers each weekday. My round-ups on the blog will be monthly for a bit. (And I promise newsletters will return this month!)
Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the daily story post, sign up for my newsletter for highlights, or join me here the first Monday of next month for all the stories I suggest in July. Happy reading!
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.
Apparently I only suggested three stories last week. Which is a huge oops because I have a ton to suggest. Here they are and keep your eyes on this space and my social media for more!
I hope you enjoy these four stories this week!
I've got seven more stories for you. I apologize for the delayed blog post.
The First Promise We Break by Risa Wolf was published by Apex Magazine in March. Risa is an amazing writer and I adored this story of breaking a promise.
I started posting daily stories for people to read in April again. Here are the three stories posted last week.
The Music Station by Amanda Saville was published by Apex Books and Magazines Patreon in March. I was in a workshop wtih Amanda and I'm still thinking about the story I read by her. This piece of flash is absolutely beautiful.
Randomly, I decided to make a little comment about each of the stories this time. I will try to do that henceforth-just a line on why I picked it. Some weeks it may get skipped, some stories it may get skipped. But I hope it adds to your enjoyment.
Writer of spec fic.