There was thread on my blog that talked about the submission process. I hate the idea of submitting stories. Here are a few stats from my Excel spreadsheet where I keep of every finished story. I said over 100 rejects. I hadn’t checked in a while – it was much larger. This does not count the spat of stories that I sent out in the late 60′s early 70′s
This does not count flash or non-fiction, which I don’t track. I have about a dozen flash around at various places.
As of August 2006
I don’t keep track of how much I get paid for each story because I always try to donate the money back to the zine. I do know that 22 stories were from pay sites and that 10 were at for-the-love-of sites. The most that I was ever offered was $25.
The average number of times a story gets rejected is misleading. A good story gets snapped after one of two submissions, but sometimes I submit a story that I like to the big print zines first. I stand almost no chance of breaking into the big zines. (I got a rewrite request once from Baen.)
The average number of submissions for trunked stories is actually about 4.6 but not that much higher than accepted stories because I pulled some stories for rewrites after the first or second submission based on editor’s response. I never got back to many of these.
Here, for those who don’t know, are Heinlein’s rules for submitting stories.
Rule One: You Must Write
The hardest is #2. I fiddle with an idea, write a page or two, and then drop it, all the time. The best stories write themselves and I can see the ending paragraph before I finish writing the first one.
I break rule #3 all the time. Based on editors comments I will fine tune most stories before they go out again. The best stories just need a few scrubs to get all the typos out, though. Nice editors will point out the typos that I missed or the fractured sentences so I can fix them before the story goes out again.
Rule # 4 has become difficult for me, lately. I hate submitting because I don’t like the anticipation of the reject.
Rule #5 has actually worked well for me. I keep a story on a downward spiral at markets until it sells. I don’t like it that several of my stories are on no-pay sites, but it is a good way to kill a story and get out of Heinlein’s endless loop. I have re-published four stories at other sites that appeared in defunct free sites, so this has worked well for me.