Submit, submit, submit

- by Victoria Janssen

My favorite advice, to both new writers and experienced writers, is “if you don’t submit, it won’t sell,” and “don’t make the editor’s decision for her.”

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? If you don’t submit the story or novel, it’s a sure thing no one will buy it. Unless, of course, you have a stalker who happens to be an editor, who comes to your home and roots around in your bottom drawer for manuscripts. However, I’m pretty sure that isn’t true for most of us. Most of us, even those who have sold dozens of novels, need to submit something, even if it’s just a synopsis.

But as for finding where to submit–and improving your odds of finding places to submit–networking is also important. The more you’re out there in the world, the more opportunities will come your way. You just have to be open to them.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email. I didn’t recognize the return address, but when I read the email, it was from an anthology editor, looking for short stories of a particular length for a new project. I still didn’t recognize this editor’s name. I dove into my saved emails. It turned out I had submitted a story to this editor, that didn’t sell; that was our only contact. Apparently, the rejected story was similar enough to what was needed now that the editor had contacted me about a new project.

The date I’d submitted that story? January, 2007. Four years ago. One story, submitted four years ago, brought about an opportunity for future submissions; who knows where it will go from here?

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