Three little probes and the writing universe

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No, it’s not a fairy tale. What? No, it’s not about some weird experiment in fringe science. It’s a summary of my first serious try to enter in the English-speaking fiction market, with a few things that I’ve learned in the process.

At the end of 2014, I set up an ambitious goal for the next year: write four stories in English and market my stuff thru Amazon, as an indie writer. That was needed in order to understand if I was up to the task of writing in another language (I’m Italian) and to get myself in a condition of self-imposed deadlines to organize my spare time at best. I’m not a pro writer, so every minute I get to write something comes right from time and resources diverted from other tasks.

To my surprise, I succeeded. My first four e-books are still out there, thanks to some kindred soul like Elena Betti and Davide Mana who helped me along the road. I felt like a real indie author back then. I still feel the same way, to be honest. The next logical step was to find a way to learn more, to hone my skills thru direct competition. At the end of 2015, I wrote the basics of three short stories with the idea to sell one or more of it somewhere.

Calm down, it’s not the right time to ROTFL. Wait a moment, there’s more. As you know, there are a large number of non-paying markets out there. Some of them are quite good. I wanted to be a pro writer, where “pro” meant “paid”. I also want to test how different magazines could respond to the same piece, hoping for something different from a precompiled rejection form. All right, time to ROTFL. Come back when you’re done with it.

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As I’ve told you before, I got three short stories to market. One each for horror, fantasy and sci-fi genre.

The horror story was sent to Mad Scientist Journal and to Strange Horizons. Two standard rejection forms. BEEP! One strike.

The fantasy story was sent to Betwixt, Persistent Visions, Grimdark Magazine and DeadLights Magazine. The score was three rejection forms and a personal rejection with very useful information (thanks a lot to Shawn Mansouri – Grimdark Magazine!). BEEP! Two strikes.

Finally, the sci-fi story was sent to Daily Science Fiction, Clarkesworld Magazine, Liminal Stories, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores and Kzine. Once again I got four standard rejection forms and a personal rejection with a lot of insight in it (thanks a lot to Graeme Hurry – Kzine!). BEEP! Three strikes, I’m out.

I learned a lot from these eleven rejections. My writing improved, the weak points of my stories came to light and I got a far better understanding of how the market worked. Now I got three trunk stories and sharper tools, ready to start again in 2017. To quote too many movies, I’ll be back!

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