Friday, December 28, 2012

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Holy holiday craziness! I love this time of year but it sure gets busy. I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties a little (nothing new) but I do have a few announcements for you.

The Good

I love The Onion. You know The Onion, right? The satirical news…um…paper. Can we call things “newspapers” anymore? They hardly exist. Newspapers are kind of relics, like speak-and-spells or centrist republicans.

Anyway, I’ve always loved The Onion and recently I had several ideas for fake news stories that I thought would be perfect for them. One problem though, they don’t take submissions! They have staff writers that come up with all of their content. That’s both impressive (the same people come up with such original humor day after day) and depressing (because I’m not one of them). 

Rather than setting my ideas aside I looked around and found a few Onion-like satirical online news sources that do accept submissions. Over the last week I’ve had 3 stories published on Glossy News.

P.S. - If you’ve never written satire you should give it a try. It’s a ton of fun. I try to keep my stories funny but inoffensive.  That having been said, as you can tell from the comments on the Palin story, if you touch on politics or religion, chances are pretty good that you’re going to offend someone. I just try not to be mean about it (note: the caption and picture on the Palin story are a little mean but those were contributed by the editor, not me).

The Bad

Rejection letters aren’t good. No matter how much we butter them up as learning experiences or chances to grow, rejection letters suck. That’s why this bit of news is under the “Bad” category. However, some rejection letters are better than others and some are freaking amazing. I recently had a short story rejected by the online science fiction magazine Bewildering Stories. The wonderful folks at BS (nice abbreviation) not only take the time and effort to have a team of reviewers look at every story that comes in, they go above and beyond to actually tell you what they think! Instead of a form “this story isn’t right for us” you get a whole personalized email telling you exactly why your story was rejected and what they think might improve it. Submit your stuff to them. They’re awesome.

The Ugly

While getting a rejection letter is bad, getting no response is worse. I realize that some agents and publishers don't respond to most queries/submittals but they usually warn authors on their website. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about a market that promises a response but don't come through. For example, I submitted a science fiction short story (probably the best thing I've ever written) to the fledgling online magazine Specutopia in mid October. 

Like I do with every submission, I played the waiting game. I tried not to think too much about how many days it had been in review. I got excited when the story wasn't rejected in the average response time. I got worried when the response time went past the average, then double, but I waited to contact the editor until the minimum 60 days specified on the website. In the meantime their website stopped working altogether. At 60 days I queried and after a week without a response I withdrew the story.

I'm sure Sepcutopia wasn't planning on going out of business or falling into a black hole or whatever happened to them. I'm not mad at them for that. What butters my bread is the lack of communication. A one sentence email or a brief announcement on their website would have saved me weeks of stress and allowed me to sent that story, my favorite story, somewhere else. So screw you Specutopia. I'm glad you're dead.

The Good - Part 2

I almost forgot. I’m scheduled to have my science fiction short story “Lightning Flashed” (which is the same story that was rejected by Bewildering Stories) in the 4th issue of Dark Edifice in early February! Those of you that have been following my antics for a while may have already read this story when it was published on OnFictionWriting. It may not be a new story but it’s still cool to get it out there for new readers. I’ll let everyone know when it’s out. 

Happy New Year!


  1. Congratulations on a published story-- how exciting!

    I freelance and oh boy, the lack of responses from magazines is astounding, but part of the game. I've even had lack or responses from magazines who owe me money and then when I finally inquire tell me "oh yeah, we're having a bit of financial difficulty". Nice. I think for smaller publications it's just part of the risk.

  2. Many congrats for finding a new home for "Lightning Flashed", and for the Glossynews playground! Hope 2013 will bring you many more successes and less form rejections. Though... you can always pad a chicken coop with them, you know. ;)


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