Time is an ad hoc measure of the physical universe, invented by our soft and limited mortal minds, to divide the infinite into chunks we can reasonably digest. It is a thin and feeble guide-rope to anchor us to sanity as we scale the ineffable, unfathomable face of the endless universe. As someone who struggles often with the vicissitudes of globe-spanning timezones I know how little meaning the human measure of time holds. Dates mean NOTHING. Hours mean NOTHING. The calendar is a fiction invented by fools who thought the Earth was the center of the universe. The New Year of my ancestors doesn’t arrive until February.
Yet, if one were to take a breather, to powder your fingers, to look down at the worm-trail you’ve left behind and consider the miniscule progress you’ve made before climbing up and on, what more convenient moment than at the boundary between the arbitrarily-defined years?
So, one of those usual year-end round-ups for 2014, then.
It was a watershed year for me, SFF writing-wise. In 2014 I started to write and submit stories regularly. An experience new to me. I sent out a grand total of eight submissions in 2013. In 2014 I sent out enough that I sold eight submissions. I wrote more stories this year than I did for the past five. I’m a slow writer, it was hard. Several times I thought of giving up.
But I stuck with it, and I think it paid off. I qualified for SFWA. I broke into at least four markets I had been dying to break into. People sometimes told me nice things about the stories I had published, and Lois Tilton liked my stories enough she called me “this year’s new author of promise” in her 2014 review roundup. Neo-whoa moment. MAJOR Neo-whoa moment.
As running starts go, I think I did alright.
There were other things about my 2014 which were cool, like attending cons & being on panels for the first time, finally getting out of the newsroom, being accepted into a pretty good grad program (Creative writing at the University of East Anglia). But who cares about that silly real-life stuff, really!
Apparently, yearly submission stats are a popular thing to do these days. I’ll show you mine if, etc etc etc:
My 2014 In Submissions
Acceptances: 8 (22.6%)
— 6 to pro-rate markets, 2 to semi-pro markets
Personal rejections: 12 (31.6%)
Form rejections: 12 (31.6%)
I shopped around a total of 15 stories this year. 6 of them were written this year, 2 were complete overhauls of old story ideas.
Of the 24 rejections I received in 2014, a single story accounted for a whopping 12 of them (6 form, 6 personal). That’s 50% of the rejections I got!
The second-runner up took 5 rejections (20%). 3 forms, 2 personals.
Of the stories I sold, 4 sold to the first market I sent them to, while I had one outlier which was rejected by 7 markets before it sold. The others had 1-3 rejections each.
My quickest sale was 4 days (!!!), to Strange Horizons (seriously, !!!). Slowest sale took 99 days, to Apex. (Still great!)
The fastest rejection I got took 2 days, from Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi. And it was a personal! The longest wait for an R took 99 days to a form, from Nature Futures.
And there we go. 2014 summed up in a number of pithy lines. That was fun, let’s do it again!
P.S. Due to perfidious things called deadlines and more deadlines, the December edition of Fiction Nuggets will be combined with January’s, meaning it’ll show up around the start of February.
P.P.S. I still need to blog about the story I have in Athena’s Daughters vol. 2 before the Kickstarter closes on January 15th. Kick me about it if I don’t.
** “To tusinde fjorten af bedømmelsesudvalg” is what Google Translate told me “2014 in review” is in Danish. This is, however, also the Google Translate that told my friend “I heard you like potatoes” translates to “jeg hørte dig som kartofler”. Which actually means “I heard you, as I would potatoes.” Moral of the story: GOOGLE TRANSLATE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
ETA: I have been reliably told, i.e. by an actual Danish person, that “bedømmelsesudvalg” actually means “REVIEW COMMITTEE”. WOW GOOGLE THANKS FOR THE MEGA HELP. It has been suggested that “En gennemgang af 2014” or “Et tilbageblikk på 2014” would have been a suitable alternative.