Wednesday, September 15

Seeking publication

The blog is fun and all, but I would like to make some money with my writing, fiction in particular. As referred to earlier. I am new at this and could be totally wrong, but there appears to me two ways to do this. The one, and more lucrative, option is to write a novel and get a deal for that. The second is to submit short works to contests and journals of varying stripes. Having some four short pieces complete and another seven or so in some stage of completion, I am opting for the latter.

Thus far, I have submitted these in different combinations to five contests. It goes without saying that I have yet to win one of these. I would so totally post a pile of links to my victorious submission should that happen and exhort you all to a buy a copy of the publication were it not available online. That doesn't bother me so much. Even if I don't particularly care for the winning pieces, I know there are a lot of submissions and victory comes down to the personal taste of the editor and judges as much as anything. That can't be very well accounted for. Beside, I'm used to losing. Years of bottom half finishes in cross country and track and playing second banana to East Grand Forks in Knowledge Bowl prepared me well for that. Winning is an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

What does bother me is that I had never before heard of these journals before I found their call for entries on NewPages. Glimmer Train? Grist? Gulf Coast? Zone 3? Even once I visit their sites, I hardly even visit the fiction sections, short of getting an idea of the style and tone they are looking for. These are not journals that I have dreamed of my work published in, and I am unlikely to read much of them after I submit. They just happen to be offering some money for what I like to do, which is the crux. I don't care about the journal itself. I care about the money they could offer me.

Is this a bad thing?

I would say no and would even suggest that it isn't mercenary. I write because I enjoy it, crafting narratives and creating characters and all the rest. That someone else enjoys my work enough to make space for it in their publication and gives me some money in return is a nice bonus. Whether further people read my stories and enjoy them is largely immaterial. With writing, I've already pleased myself, and that's about all I can count on. So long as publication alone does not lead to any personal declaration of myself as a great writer, I think I will be okay, though publication is an enormous ego stoke and would hopefully push me through on larger projects when the efforts don't seem worth it.

No comments: