A little over a year ago, an ad went out from Port Yonder Press on the ACFW loop. They were looking for writers, particularly speculative fiction writers, who were willing to be mentored in order to generate some general market publishing credits through short stories. I’d never written short stories before as I prefer the long, epic stories common to the Fantasy genre. 100,000 words is more like a novella to me hehe. But I really wanted to be mentored to improve my craft. So, I joined up.
I remember finishing my first short story. I had my wife read it and her reaction wasn’t very encouraging. “This is a chapter,” she said. “Not a short story.” To pile on, my fourteen-year-old son chimed in. “A short story must have a beginning, middle, and end. This just has a beginning.” Ouch.
It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of writing a full short story, but I finally figured out how to cram a beginning, middle, and end into a 1,000 word story. Off to the mentor it went, and back came the story a week later with suggested edits and fixes. Working with an editor as my mentor was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my writing career. She challenged me, encouraged me, and made me a tighter writer. The year-long process was more fun than I imagined, and I grew to love crafting these short stories.
But despite the fun part of writing those stories and growing in my craft, the end goal was to be published. After working on each story for three months, we were required to query magazines. This would be my first experience with a cold query. I found it harder to write those emails than it was the write the short stories! But off they went. I never got a response on my first story. I got one rejection on my second story. And three rejections on my third story. I’m still waiting to hear back from a few magazines.
But my second story did get a publishing offer from my first choice magazine. It came about five months after I queried them, but Bards and Sages Quarterly asked for the rights to publish my story in their October issue. It comes out on Monday, October 1st.
I received the PDF copy of the magazine a few days ago. The cover is a little creepy for my tastes, and I have no clue what the other stories look like. But it’s an amazing thing to see one of your own stories in print. The edits on the story were minimal thanks to my great mentor Suzanne Hartmann. And while it’s a small achievement, it’s an achievement nonetheless.
So, check out my short story Sweet Victory. Bards and Sages Quarterly can be purchased on Amazon. You can also vote for my story for Bards and Sages Reader’s Choice Awards here http://www.bardsandsages.com/readers_choice_awards
How about you? Do you have any writing successes to report as of late? Have you considered writing short stories to build some publishing credentials?