Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A few more hits!

Tom C informs us he was a finalist in The Highlands and Islands Short Story Competition. That means there were three BC stories in the final! Tom has also had an acceptance from Scorched Earth.

And one for me, a very nice hit, I think, at Archipelago. When I sent my story off I had read some of the articles and poems, looked at the bios, and thought, sheesh, am I out of my depth subbing here? But faint heart never won fair lady, in for a penny etc, and I'm very pleased to say I have an acceptance there for the next issue.

That takes us to 24 hits for the year, but I've told the Boot Campers they need to start some serious work as I would like to average 1 a day.

I'm a great believer in getting stuff out there and not leaving it in a drawer, but a big push for subs has its downside and I have to always be alert to "story-dumping", getting placements at the very, very low end of the spectrum just for the sake of numbers.

About a year ago I had to ban a few sites to Boot Campers.

Well not "ban", just say they didn't count as hits because the quality of their acceptances was woeful. When our choices (or is that non-choices?) leaked out it caused a furore, but "showcases" are still showcases and an awful lot of their work was VERY poor.

It is so easy to give away stories at a level lower than they deserve; too easy to just go for easy acceptances rather than aim higher. I was looking tonight at the recent publications of an ex Boot Camper and was shocked to see that she had dropped at least two levels. Oh sure the acceptances are there, but the places accepting are start up zines run by unqualified editors, beginner sites, and one I think is a scam.

We should all be subbing at the highest levels possible (ie we have an outside chance) and living with a rejection rate of 1/3 or 1/4 (1 in 5 or 6 if you can hack it).

I know from experience that I can cope with a rejection rate of 1 in 3 and that a big hit gives me the resilience to accept 1 in 4 for a while. But I also know that in the past I have been desperate to place something.

Both my Bridport Second Places ($2,000 each) were turned down by magazines paying ten pounds ($20) a story. (Thank-you God). if you don't reach a bit beyond where you know you can hit, you will always be a minnow.


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