I hope you've been enjoying these posts of mine. I don't claim to be the most knowlegable writer on the planet but hopefully there's been some nuggets of wisdom here and there.
I'm combining the last two rules because they are closely related. Rule #4 states you must send out what you write. Rule #5 says that when it comes back, you send it right back out the door.
Send out what we write? To, like, editors?
It takes some courage to send out our work. We put part of ourselves in what we write. Sometimes when we give it to someone else to read it feels as if we're sending our baby to school for the first time. Will they like it? Hate it? And what if they reject it? Doesn't that mean they hated it and us?
Ive sent stories out to dozens of editors. I have a large collection of rejection slips. I'm not saying they don't give me a twinge of disappointment at times.
But here's what I've learned - a rejection simply means an editor is not buying your story.
It has nothing to do with you. It might have nothing to do with the quality of your story. Stories are rejected for a variety of reasons. Maybe it didn't fit the idea they had in mind. Or they just bought something that was similar. Or any of a number of reasons that have nothing to do with quality.
If you send out a story, the worst thing that will happen is the editor will reject it. That's it. No one dies, your family willl still love you, and you are still a writer.
Sometimes we tie our self-esteem into our stories and their fates. We can't do this. If you are going to succeed in the business of writing you are going to hear "no" a lot more often than you will hear "yes." And the writers who succeed in the business are the ones who persevere through the "no's" to get to the "yes's."
That's why you keep sending out even if it comes back. So one person didn't want it - how do you know someone else won't? Everyone is different.That's why you don't give up just because someone doesn't buy it.
I was recently concentrating on fulfilling rule #5 because I'd let a lot of stories pile up at home. So I made an effort to research markets and shove everything out the door. The result? As I type this I have 3 novels sitting on various editor's desks, and 56 short stories (if I'm counting right).
That's a lot of words out there. I'm hoping that in all that there's a "yes" or two in all that. If not, I know what to do - keep sending it out!
Okay, so send out, but where?
Here are free two websites that are worth checking out for short story markets: http://www.duotrope.com/controlpanel.aspx
For novels, consider subscribing to http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ . It's $20 a month but chock full of information concerning publishers.
http://www.writersmarket.com/ is another subscription site for both novels and short story publishers.
Do your homework, write your best, and follow the rules! You do that and you will find yourself a published writer at some point!