I haven’t sold a short story in quite a while. This mainly due to sending only to pro markets during 2011. Pro markets have acceptance rates of about 1 story in 5,000 submissions and it is hard to climb out of the slush pile of unsolicited short stories.
My Story Mizuki is hard sell because of the inappropriate language and themes. Several editors told me they liked the story, but could not publish it. The story is about a robotic sex doll, and since most magazines cater to young adults, it has not found a home in over a year of submissions. I sent it out today to Rudy Rucker’s magazine Flurb. Flurb is a magazine that Rudy started to publish short stories that are not publishable through the traditional markets. It has stories by Rudy, John Shirley, Shiner, and other cyberpunks, and I would be very happy to share a Table of Contents with such good writers.
My story If Wishes… is shortlisted at another magazine, I won’t mention the name so I don’t jinx it. They have room for 5 or 6 stories an issue and they have held out 12 stories on the short list according to their slush stats. I have to beat out 6 other stories to make it. I have already beaten out 220 or so stories to get this far. The story is very different; the main character is a young girl with downs syndrome. I hope it makes it just because it is so different, but different is not an advantage in publishing.
I have one last story that has been out a long time at good magazine that pays professional rates. It is Finny Moon, a lovecraftian story I wrote for the poker guys and it came out better than I could have hoped. According to the slush statistics at Duotrope, my story is still waiting while they are rejecting stories submitted weeks after mine. This means 1) A slush reader is way behind in her reading, or 2) The story is lost, or 3) A slush reader forgot to send the rejection, or 4) I mistyped the email address when I sent it, or 5) the rejection is lost in the spam folder, or 6) The story is being held for consideration. I prefer to believe #6. I will be an optimist until proven wrong. I am amazed at how often magazines lose my stories. I just checked, and about 10% of my submissions are listed as lost. Finny Moon an old style horror story after Poe, Chambers, Machen or Lovecraft. There are few places that publish these, and if it rejected again there is no place left to send it to.
If I sell all of these stories it means that for the first time in years I will not have a story waiting anywhere. I have about 20 good stories half written and no time to work on them. I will need to sneak some time in here at work, but it hard, and the powers that be are watching.
Rudy rejected Mizuki, If Wishes.. was sent back, and Finny Moon was accepted. Mizuki and If Wishes… have been sent to the bit bucket. Finny Moon will appear next September in Lore Online.