Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Submission, rejection, sunrise, sunset (and what is up with spreadsheets?)

I'm really not into spreadsheets.

I don't really know how to use Excel. Or spreadsheets. Not really. I mean, I can open the program. I can put things into the little boxes. But what's the point? I don't know!

I know you can do all kinds of....math and stuff...using Excel. I know LOTS of businesses want you to have any idea of how to use it (because that's what they put in their want ads) but beyond that? I've got better grasp on nuclear physics. And I'm not exaggerating.

I use, er, "spreadsheets" to keep track of my story submissions and rejections. One file is active submissions, the other file is rejections, with the titles and the venues. I've only got three things on "active submission" right now, two short stories at two different magazines and Learn to Howl at Angry Robot books. I had 4 (probably my most at once!) but the turnaround for Clarkesworld is very fast indeed. I sent the sub at like, 5 or 6 on Saturday afternoon and had the rejection already on Monday. Holy crap, right?

Really, I don't mind the fast rejection. To me, waiting is worse. I agree with Tom Petty entirely, the waiting is the hardest part (also, I never watched that video before. Oh, the eighties). I only sub to paying professional markets, so I know I'm aiming high. And I'm going to continue to do so (and it seems like I read an article where somebody professional talked about how this was good and a way to improve and I forgot who it was and where, of course).

But, I've been getting rejections for years. I think my first story submission was to Glimmer Train, in 2003. I've also subbed to Asimov's, Cemetery Dance, Apex, Agni, Tin House, and Strange Horizons. Sooner or later, I'll get a yes. Then I'll actually have something to put in a "bio", because telling them I work at a library and have a psychology degree seems pretty slim.


  1. Oooh, you're fancy. I use a composition notebook to keep track of queries and submissions. :D
    And I agree, I'd rather have a quick rejection than endless waiting, or worse (to me), the dreaded no response means no.

    1. Well, it used to just be in a notebook (which I think I still have somewhere?) but the spreadsheets just seemed convenient. The files are in the same folder as my most-freshly-edited, properly-submission-formatted story files.

  2. You're far more organized than I am! (I use spreadsheets to keep track of my day job stuff, but I never thought of doing anything writing-related with them.)

    I hear you on the quick rejection vs. waiting forever. I felt the same way about job interviews, too. If you're not going to accept me for [whatever], just TELL me so I can get on with my life!

    1. I'm rarely accused of good organizational skills, so thanks very much!

      Job interviews can be NUTS (or just sending in résumés. Sometimes I feel as though I'd get the same exact result from tying it around a rock and throwing it down a mountain). Though my library interview was great; I walked to the library, had the interview, walked home, and returned my cousin's call. While I was on the phone with my cousin, the library called me back to offer me the job!

  3. I put my submissions and rejections on the same spreadsheet so I can see the results. I've completely given up on short story submissions. My true love is novels, and I mostly did short stories to get credits to show agents. But now I have a novel published, it seems like a waste of energy.