I’m going to admit: this is slightly embarrassing, but you have to start somewhere. For a long time, the only books I could claim to have stories published in came out when I was in high school.
Don’t get me wrong: at 15, finding out my assassin-droid short story “My Function is to Kill” was going to be published in Creative Minds ’88 made my year. The anthology of student writing was published annually by the school division my high school was in, and it was a real cross-section of what a lot of us were going through and how that came out in our writing. (Er, well, I don’t know what an assassin droid says about my high-school experience, but I thought it was cool.)
And over the years, I’ve had some stories published in magazines, a newspaper, and online. So I’m not complaining! But there is something about a physical book that calls to a writer’s heart. Or, at least, mine. So much so that when the writing group I was in in the early 2000s decided to put together a chapbook anthology of our own writing (which we modestly called Ten Best Pages), I was just as keen as the rest of them to give it a full-on launch, including readings at two venues.
There is something about submitting your work to an outside editor or editors, having it judged fit to see print and working with said editors on revisions to make it better. (I am not, by the way, discounting online markets from this process; it’s just that I still lust after having my work in a physical book as well.)
So after years of plugging away at (seemingly endless) revisions to my novel, I set out to finish a draft of it I could say was “it” and move on to other projects. I took a long look at that writing resumé and decided it was time to add some more fiction writing credits from, er, this century — and pro markets, if possible. I targeted as many anthologies and magazines as I thought I could write something for and just aimed for the deadlines. I sent out old stories too — you never know — but my real focus was on getting new stories out there. By December 31, I had about ten new stories written and submitted, another half-dozen old ones out looking for reprint markets.
And so, this year, I was thrilled to have some short stories accepted in pro markets for the first time. Two of them have already seen print in 2013; others are in the pipeline for release in 2014.
So, at the risk of making this a tradition, I’m going to look at my bookshelf and see whether there is anything I can add to three volumes from my teen years and a self-published chapbook (all of which I am still very proud of… but they’re none of them terribly recent). This year, I’m proud to see Tesseracts 17 and In Places Between 2013 added to that shelf.
Next year? We shall see…