2012 Year In Review

December 31, 2012


In 2010 I began writing fiction and managed two token sales.

In 2011 I made my first professional sale and began building a bibliography.

And 2012 has been the best year yet.  Here are some of the highlights for me this year:

* Qualified for full SFWA membership.
* Was accepted to and attended the Viable Paradise workshop.
* Edited and published my first anthology project.
* Attended my first SF convention as a guest/panelist.

And although I’m proud of each and every one of those accomplishments, perhaps the most important achievement for me is this:

* I now believe that I can sell what I write.

This sounds less impressive than it actually is. But the truth is, confidence is hugely important. The ability to write fiction without second-guessing myself, without wondering if the latest story I’m working on is at all viable, is liberating and something I’m only recently able to do. The “pretender” syndrome of “I’m-n0t-a-real-writer-I’ve-just-been-lucky-with-a-few-short-stories” is more difficult to shake than you might expect. But statistics are on my side, showing that most of what I write consistently sells, at least at semipro level.

In 2012 I completed a total of 24 short stories, totaling almost exactly 50,000 words. Of those 24, I felt that 20 were good enough to submit (and may yet revisit the remaining four and fix them up).  I already sold ten of them (7 to pro-paying markets). I also sold almost every story I’ve been submitting since 2011.

Part of this success is due to submitting very aggressively. I spent time researching new markets, tried to make sure I never had too many stories hanging out on my hard drive without being out for consideration somewhere, and was perfectly willing to have the story debut in a smaller market rather than remain unpublished.

Write1Sub1 challenge (which I will continue in 2013) had helped. Also, my goal of hitting a total of 200 submissions kept me going as well. Sending out 200 submissions in a year is *hard*. I barely managed it, shipping off a few stories this past week just so I can reach that number. Here are my statistics for the year:

Submitted: 203

Currently out on submission: 13

Lost / never responded: 1

Rejected 159

Accepted: 30

There were also a number of stories accepted in 2012 which I submitted in 2011. A total of 35 stories (including reprints) were accepted in 2012. Of these 35 stories:

10 sold at pro pay (5c+ per word)

16 sold at semi-pro (1-4c)

3 sold to token markets (2 to Every Day Fiction and 1 to Toasted Cake. I donated the payment back to those markets)

6 reprints were donated without pay (5 to podcasts, one to a charity anthology).

And the stories that are still circulating? Although there are a few oldies I really like and can’t quite let go off, most are recent work, from late 2012, and I have every confidence that they will find quality homes soon!

So what’s the plan for 2013?

I actually expect LESS sales next year. Because I want to spend more of my time on writing novel(s), editing, and translating. So with that in mind, my 2013 goals are:

* Complete at least one novel and begin shopping it around to agents/publishers

* Continue to participate in the Write1Sub1 initiative and write at least one new short story per month.

* Translate into English at least two SF/F short stories by Russian authors

* Attend at least one major SF con (something like WorldCon or World Fantasy) and a few smaller ones

I wish everyone the best of luck with setting and accomplishing their own 2013 goals. Happy New Year!



2012 Submission Statistics: Three Months In

April 1, 2012

March was an excellent month for me. I sold three new stories (to Nature, Nine, and-just yesterday- to Every Day Fiction), wrote a lot of words I’m happy with, and kept up with my submission, aggressively getting my steadily-increasing inventory of short fiction out there.  The three-month mark seemed like a good time to look over my statistics, and this is what my spreadsheet tells me:

Stories on submission currently (including reprints): 19
Stories still on submission from 2011: 2 (both reprints)
Stories waiting to be re-submitted: 3
Total inventory of original finished but unsold short stories: 17
Total stories sold in 2012: 6 (3 of which were submitted in 2012, the rest in late 2011)
Total 2012 submissions: 73

April is looking to be the month where  a huge chunk of my previously sold stories will finally see the light of day. By my estimation as many as seven of my ‘forthcoming’ stories will go live in the next month. I can’t wait for everyone to read some of them, especially “A Shard Glows in Brooklyn” which is forthcoming in the second issue of Buzzy Magazine.

Guest Post on Write1Sub1.com

March 7, 2012

Sorry the blog hasn’t been very active lately. I was away for a family vacation in Key Largo, FL, where I enjoyed all sorts of cool stuff such as kayaking, visiting an alligator farm, and watching awesome sunsets like this one:


I did not, however, get a nearly as much writing done a I would have liked. And now I’m preparing for yet another trip next week, to a conference in Las Vegas. Will this cut into my writing time? Almost certainly. I’m trying to make up for it as much as possible this week, and I’m definitely keeping up with writing one new story per week so far, but I’m not racing ahead of my self-imposed schedule with submissions and writing as I have been in the first six weeks of the year.



Some of that “getting ahead” writing included penning a guest blog for Write1Sub1.com which went live today. It’s about the submission metrics and I make the case for setting yourself clear submission goals in addition to word count/story total goals. My 2012 submission total stands at 48 as of today, well ahead of the benchmarks I set for myself at the beginning of the year. If I continue at this pace, I may just have to challenge myself with a higher submission goal. Would 366 submissions be utterly insane? That’s one for every day of this leap year. I won’t commit to that just yet, but will reexamine my goals in another month or so to make sure they’re ambitious enough to make me work harder, yet achievable.


Plan of Attack

December 8, 2011

I like to set myself ambitious goals. When I began writing fiction in the summer of 2010 I had a straightforward yet difficult first target: to sell a story that year. Many freshman writers struggle for years before they accomplish that first sale, but I’m not patient enough to wait that long. Luckily I didn’t have to. I managed to get not one, but two stories published in 2010. Both sold to relatively modest markets, but nothing to be embarrassed by.

I wrote about my 2011 goals over here. I joined Write1Sub1, committing to write one short story every week in 2011. The goal was 10 story sales.  To date, I’ve had a total of 17 short story sales this year, including three to professional markets and a sole reprint to the NJ Board of Education. And the year isn’t even over yet.  I also joined SFWA, which was originally one of my goals for 2012.

So what is it I want to accomplish next year? Here’s a list:

Write longer stuff. I will probably write less stories next year, but they will hopefully be better, longer stories. Flash fiction has become my comfort zone, so I will push myself to write longer fiction until I feel as comfortable in the 3-5K word range as I do in under 1000.

To accomplish this, I will spend more time outlining and plotting each story before sitting down to write it. This is contrary to what I’ve done to date, which is to write mostly by the seat of my pants. I will also continue to participate in Write1Sub1, but at the rate of one story per month instead of one per week.

Be consistent. I will try to write at least 500 new words every day. That’s all-new content – editing previously written manuscripts doesn’t count. My biggest problem this year has been falling off the writing wagon for a few days or even a few weeks at a time. Training myself to write a little daily is a good start to accomplishing all of the other goals.

Upgrade SFWA membership  – I’m currently an associate member. Full membership requires 3+ pro sales totaling $250+. I’m at 2 qualifying sales and around $150 – so a single short story sale or a couple of flash sales to pro markets will put me over the top.

Socialize. I have never attended a science fiction convention, nor met many of my fellow writers in person. Next year I will strive to fix that. We are planning a special launch event for an anthology I’m in (more details on that in January) so I will get to meet folks there, but I also hope to attend at least one major SF con in 2012.

Blog. Now that I have this spiffy WordPress blog, I am resolved to update it regularly. The goal is at least once a week, but possibly even more often if I have something interesting to talk about.

Novel! The above goals aren’t particularly ambitious. But this one is, for me. I’m completely lost and intimidated when it comes to undertaking a novel. As I continue to work on short fiction, I will research, outline and begin writing a novel. I don’t necessarily expect to finish it in 2012. In fact, I probably won’t start on it till later in the year. Until then I will continue to work on improving my writing, read books and articles on the craft, and maybe even attend a workshop.

This post is part of a W1S1 blog chain where a number of Absolute Write regulars talk about their writing goals for 2012 and how they plan to accomplish them.  Samuel Mae started the chain on his blog this morning. Next up is A. G. Carpenter.  Please check out their blogs, and those of all the other excellent people who hang out at the Absolute Write W1S1 sub-forum.