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The waiting game

I finished the short story I wrote based on a day in the life of my novel’s protagonist and sent it off via e-mail. The anthology guidelines say they will try to respond within a week to let submitters know if their story has a shot or not. That would be wonderful if they can actually follow through. There’s nothing worse than hanging in the wind--twisting this way and that, wondering if you’ll fall or not--and in this business there’s a lot of that. It would be nice to have a quick answer.

One thing I have learned over the last (cough, cough) years, is that trying to get published is nothing like taking the SAT. There is no one right answer for which you get x number of points. There’s not even a right question! Well, maybe there are several:

Does it read well? (not always the same as asking if it’s well written) Reading is an experience, and different stories provide different kinds and levels of experiences.

Does it match the target? This could be the book market or it could be the theme of a magazine or anthology.

Will it sell? If it’s an agent, he has to worry about selling to an editor, and if it’s an editor, she has to worry about selling to the public.

Do I like it? This is important. Agents and editors are only human, in spite of what you might think. They want to like what they’re selling.

All of the above concepts may sound obvious, but nevertheless, I’m proud of having learned them.

So, excuse me while I hang here and twist just a bit. Getting a little windy, isn’t it?

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