Thursday, February 18, 2010

I've Been Published

Here's the current work in progress -- I'm using Painter to render one of my swillistrations. It's really making me conscious of the difference between painting (at which I am lousy) and coloring drawings (at which I'm decent). Totally different skill set, and I want to learn more painting.

Yesterday certainly brought me some good news. My first professional fiction sale went up at Click here to read or listen to it. They also used the audio version in a podcast here. So far the reaction has been very gratifying, including plugs from Steve Gould and Nick Mamatas. (Oh! And my VP buddy Ferrett Steinmetz, whose fiction seems to be everywhere. Check out Home Despot, in which the trope of worldbusting gets a good shellacking.)

Now, there's a terrible lesson to be learned from this, one that I hope any possible competitors of mine will heed. It is very simple, and very, very wrong.

An earlier version of Tourists was published in Monday Night Magazine. I was in a writing group with the magazine's founders and they asked me to submit.

But I wasn't satisfied with it. The ending wasn't right, which was a result of the fantastic and realistic elements of the story failing to blend properly.

When I applied to Viable Paradise (which is a fair description of the experience they offer), I knew that I was going to receive critiques on my submission stories. The wannabe in me said, "Send in your best work." The guy who was ponying up nine hundred bucks plus airfare and lodging said, "Get your money's worth. Send in something that needs fixing."

Now this story had already been published, so it weren't going nowhere. But I needed to see it put right. This is the kind of crazy behavior that leads me to suspect that I'm too fucking artistic for my own good.

In this case, it turned out to be the right thing to do. This (extremely weird, convoluted, and personal) story hit Patrick-the-editor just right. And he asked me to submit it to And then he published it. And now I are celebrity. Can I haz the lamentation of their women?

That's how it's worked for me so far. I submit, I get rejection slips. When I get published, it's because the editor in question asked me for a story.

So attend closely, you belletrists and scriveners. Do as I do. Crouch in your cave and obsessively hone your craft and cultivate your art. Then emerge shyly, and wait for the editors to come to you. Don't meet their eyes, don't make any sudden motions. They're shy. You don't want to scare them.

Just sit there quietly. And wait.