It didn’t take very long for me to get ticked off at paying for submissions

Yeah, I have to admit.  The first month I decided to try it, I spent $73, most on entering three contests, which do tend to be pricey, but the rest on those $3 Submittable submission fees.  And after doing it, I didn’t feel as good as I hoped. 

The stats on the paid for subs aren’t really promising, yet, either, although I have yet to hear from most of them: 

Paid subs:  8, one rejection, 7 still out.  That’s 13% rejection, and 87% still in submission. 

Unpaid subs:  28, 5 rejections, one requested manuscript, 22 still out.  That would be:  17% rejection, 4% acceptance (count manuscript request as acceptance) and 79% still in submission. 

The contests still haven’t been called, and they could be a big deal, or no deal, but at this point, the pay-for-subs plan is still unproven.

As for my emotional response to putting almost my whole allowance in the submission payments pile, well, that’s just one more hurdle faced by being a writer.  As is Monday morning ennui. 

Need to get up and go to the library. 

My Third Submissions Challenge Begins, and I explain why I decide to pay money to research and submit

It may be a huge reversal in writer philosophy but I have dropped my refusal to pay for writing support services,  having joined Literistic ($8 a month) and Duotrope ($5 a month). Under Literistic’s advice (given in its free, and excellent, Submitting 101 course) I also decided that it’s okay to pay to submit to contests.

Why did I change my mind about paying for writing services? The argument made by Eliza Robertson (Twitter: @ElizaRoberts0n) in Submitting 101 was overwhelming:  the potential return on paying for submissions was much more than the cost.  The reason for not paying to enter contests at this point, I began to see, was pride, the money being hardly significant.

For me, this is because years ago I went to teaching school for the purpose of making money. Using this strategy, I reasoned, I would never surrender creative control on topic or design of my writing work in order to get money from editors. I had been working in magazine journalism and had seen more and more crossover of “the wall” which is supposed to exist in magazine publishing between the advertising department and editorial. I felt my artistic integrity was being compromised; the ‘giving the people what they want’ was taking over, and it was not the readers but the advertisers who were the people some editors cared about.

That being the case, paying to get information or even paying to enter contests is a small concession.  I rate my time’s value by the rate I’m paid hourly as a teacher, and if I measure it that way, there’s no question that both Duotrope and Literistic’s charges are worth the time I save.

I stop short of saying “this is my hobby, and it’s not an expensive one when you think about it” (having sold my horse after five years last spring, I know what it is to have an expensive hobby. ) This is placing a premium on making art.  It’s more like what I told my younger brother last week, when he asked if he should take time to do art:

“Always take time to do art whenever possible,” I said. And I mean it, not just for him, but for every person who feels so inclined.

And spending a few bucks so you have more time to do art, and less time researching publications, is totally worth it.

On to the Submissions Challenge Number 3:  Since during the first challenge, I submitted seven times, and in the second, 16 times, for the third I will try for twenty submissions.

A report is due back from me no later than October 22 … we’ll see how this goes.


Zoetrope All Story Contest Deadline Approaches

Well-known lit magazine Zoetrope’s annual fiction contest is coming up. 

What:  Literary fiction to 5000 words. First, second and third places will receive $1000, $500, and $250 respectively and writers will be considered for representation by William Morris Agency and other high-prestige literary agencies.  Entry fee:  $30.

When:  Submissions: Midnight, October 1, Pacific Time.  Results: December 15th.

Where:  Contest Website

Who will be the judge: National Book Award winner Colum McCann

Writers and Artists Yearbook Short Story Competition

I discovered this competition through my ongoing submissions challenge research on Duotrope.  This competition, sponsored by the Writers and Artists website in the UK, is open to wordsmiths in all genres worldwide.  The deadline is February 13th 2019 and the winner will receive a four or six day stay at Arvon’s Clockhouse Writing Retreat in Shropshire Hills. Read more about the contest and the judge at the website.

Oh yes, as well, the winner will be granted publication in their annual yearbook.  Wow.  That’s a prize.  No more than 2000 words please.

Contest Opportunity: #PitchWars is on until Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

Yes, you can — submit your WIP to #pitchwars and hope to be selected as a mentee with a mentor writer who will work with you through your final edits, packages and submission of your completed novel.

To participate, you’ll need:

1) A completed fiction manuscript in MS, YA, NA, or Adult categories.

2) A synopsis

3) A query letter

4) Time to run through the list of mentors and chose the ones you think would best fit your work (this took me a good two hours).

Follow #pitchwars on twitter for more info.


Gulf Coast Contest for Short Prose and link to a how-to on writing short

Gulf Coast Prize for Short Prose

Prose can include fiction, essay, creative non-fiction, or prose poem.  Deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2018, according to editor Justin Jannice.

Your entry(ies)  must be less than 500 words. You can enter as many as three pieces.  Entry fee:  $18, and includes a year’s subscription to the magazine.   First prize, $1000 with $250 going to an unnamed number of honorable mentions.  Judge will be Laura Van Der Berg, author of The Third Hotel and Find Me.

Since I used to live in Houston, I thought this was a great opportunity.  But I pause at the entry fee — though contests always have had entry fees — and then I realize the real kicker.  I don’t think I’ve written anything less than 500 words.  In the last week, trying to write short, I wrote three pieces of less than 800 words, but under 500, no, I couldn’t come up with something that short.

I wonder what would happen to my story “Poochie Pie” if I cut about 200 words of its 700?

Does anyone else have trouble writing short?  OPEN: a journal of arts and letters just published an ironically long piece by Kent H. Dixon on how to write short, and it’s about as helpful as anything I’ve seen on the subject.  Honorable mention to Dixon on the part about dandelions.  If you want to read that part first, however, you’ll have to skip to the end.