November 2, 2010

I'm getting published in the "Writers Abroad" anthology

I've been busy over the summer and autumn months, writing new short stories and working on the novel. In addition to that, I began the long and lengthy process of submitting a story of mine to various journals. Some say it can take up to 6 years to get your first piece published and to brace yourself for a mountain of rejection letters. I submitted into a competition (but it was a prestigious one, so I didn't have very high hopes there), and other journals - some "highbrow" ones - well you don't get if you don't try - and some lower level ones. I got a couple of rejections, some just form ones saying "not for us, thanks" and others saying "good piece, would have fitted with our last issue but not this one, please try us again though." Most of them were still in the system being reviewed.

We had a literary open mic night in Madrid where I read a couple of my poems, even though poetry is the area I feel most self-conscious of. I think out of everything I do, my poems are the most intimate and raw things I write. My friends love them, but a lot of people criticise them for being too personal. But I'm going off tangent here so back to my point, after this night the organiser emailed all the participants with a call for submissions for expat writers and with the theme of dealing with expat life, or just living abroad. The story I was already submitting to journals fit this criteria perfectly. I fit the criteria perfectly!  Anglo-Hungarian writer living in Spain, you can't get more expat than that, right? So I submitted.

 I didn't expect too much and when I got the email yesterday, I expected that it would be another rejection letter. But when I opened my email I started to tremble like a piece of cooling jelly.

"Dear Deborah
Thank you for your submission. I am pleased to inform you that your story Counterfeit Goods has been accepted for the Writers Abroad Anthology 2010 in support of National Short Story Week. "

I ran into the kitchen and showed my flatmates, to check if my eyes didn't trick me. I shook for an hour as I called and texted all my friends. It's not a big journal, no, but they are printing my story. That to me is the most important thing, and it means so much. It's a tiny step into this world, but I won't stop here. I have a few pieces I'm working on now with intention to submit, and it's all a matter of perseverance and finding the right magazine for you.

I think this last point is the key. I was lucky I found out about a call for submissions which was IDEAL for the story I had been sending out. Writing something which is good helps, but sending it to a magazine looking for something else won't really help. They key is finding the right one for your story. Rejection isn't just about quality, a good piece of work could get rejected for not being right for that magazine or issue.

Well, that is an important lesson I've learned.

If you wanna check out my story "Counterfeit Goods" - it should be up on the Writers Abroad website in about 2 weeks in electronic form:

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