Submitting Short Fiction and “Just Kidding!”

Like most narcissistic masochists (that’s a fancy and possibly oxymoronic term for writer), I send out some of my work to magazines (both online and paper) in the hopes that someone will want to publish what I’ve written. This has sometimes resulted in acceptance, but usually results in rejection. These rejections have usually been very polite, and I have no complaints about that end of the process.

But the big problem for me is when I reread some of the pieces that have just been rejected. Sometimes I can tell myself “guess it just wasn’t a fit” but other times all I can say is “eeeewwwwwwwwww”.

Sometimes a story just doesn’t work, and sometimes I don’t see that sad fact until after someone I’ve never met sends me a note telling me that. In such instances, what I really want to do is send them a reply that quotes my three-year-old daughter: “Just kidding!”

You know… “I really didn’t mean for you to publish this story, since it’s obviously just twelve pages of infodump, or the characters are about as interesting as toothpaste, or that joke about curling was never intended to be funny. In fact, the whole submission was just a prank, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to resend this story to you four years from now when I finally figure out where it went wrong.”

But I can’t do that, so I just posted it here on a blog that no one actually reads (for one thing, I just started it today). This has two big benefits for me:

  1. I’m on record as saying that I was just kidding and that I’d never really send out a story like that.
  2. Any editor who did somehow stumble upon this will just assume that the story I sent them falls under this category, even if I actually think that my dieselpunk zombie drycleaner novella is just one more submission away from making me internet famous.

There may in fact be other benefits, so I’ll be sure to update this post once I find out.

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