After completing my review of A Wide-Ranging Cost-Benefit Chart of Different Opportunities for Writers to Build their Craft and determining that my biggest challenge would be submitting my work more frequently, I was left with time to reflect on the act of submitting work itself. Drawing on what I’ve learned from writing workshops, books on how to be a writer, and conferences, I have put down the following four important points:
1) You have to keep submitting even when it hurts. I have learned this from teaching school, which is an action which you keep moving forward even on days when you don’t feel like it, when you don’t know what do to next, even when you are afraid. What I’ve learned through teaching is that, when we’re engaged in a long and difficult process, such as completing the 4th grade or becoming an author, our emotions dip very low at times, and it may appear that we are getting nowhere. This is not true. Almost always we are making progress and we don’t see it. The successful authors at the Mayborn Conference 2017 said this again and again: submit, submit, submit.
2) You should submit and re-submit to markets you know. This can be so hard once they’ve rejected your work the first time. But if you know and understand the market, your “voice” will be more and more right for them, and your article topics will hone in on what they’re publishing as well. Also, if you show you care about the journal by submitting and re-submitting, the editor will notice. Sylvia Plath submitted 45 stories to Redbook before they took the first one.
3) You should give editors 72 hours to respond, then send the work to someone else (this from the Mayborn Conference as well). Usually if they’re interested, they will respond that fast. If not, move on.
4) Multiple submissions: take the risk (also suggested by the Mayborn writers.) What is the risk? It’s slight: that in a game where a positive response to your query or submission could be coming 1/10, 1/20 or 1/100 times, you will send a successful piece out and get a double acceptance. If that happens, apologize to the second editor and go on. The chances are 1/100, 1/400, and 1/10,000, respectively, that you will get a double acceptance on any given piece. Yes, it happened to me once, and the truth is, the editor forgave me.