Things to relearn.

So far this year I’ve written some new horror stories.  I haven’t actively pursued having any horror published in a few years and while I’ve been doing market research I noticed a few things.

Horror magazines tend to be far more strict about formatting. Most I’ve been interested in submitting to specifically state that submissions must adhere to manuscript format.

It’s interesting to me that even some of these magazines that don’t do print, still insist on manuscript format when we know that in an online environment that makes for a bit more work on the part of the editors who have to reformat for online publication.

I find this a tad puzzling, especially publications that don’t have a print history.

Especially the sites that I know (because I’m nosy) run on a wordpress type platform. I know how taxing it can be to move text and have it still look right.

I wonder if it is part of the whole idea that if someone follows that directive they are likely to have a better submission? Is it a stopgap measure to immediately weed out the undesirables? A lot of the non genre zines I read and/or submit to have some quirk in the guidelines that is specifically for this purpose.

I would really be into seeing some interviews type things about this.

In the meantime I’m relearning how to do manuscript format, it’s a tedious process. I write single spaced without a lot of formatting or indents so I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’ve done it correctly. Mainly because I don’t want to get shitcanned because my spacing isn’t perfect.

In my case that isn’t really a problem with following instructions. More an issue of my spatial perception and I can’t always tell visually when I’ve done it correctly. Also a problem with my vision.

But all I can do is do my best. I’m not mad if a story gets shitcanned and unread because I did something wrong. That is an editors prerogative.

I do all right.

In the meantime. While I am getting my horror related shit together, can we talk about the fact that I have a tiny bit of money left to play with and how I”m ordering some lit stuff?

I just spaced out.

Fuck I am so exhausted y’all. It’s been a bad round of insomnia and I am proper fucked. So that’s all for now.

Modern Convenience..

Roxane made this post over at HTMLGIANT about Modern Submission convenience.

I made a comment immediately after I read it but have been thinking about it.

The first things I submitted were poems when I was 17-18 years old. I didn’t own a computer or typewriter.  The first submissions I made were laboriously hand printed. Even small poems took me forever because I have awful penmanship. I copied resume cover letters because I didn’t know what else to say. I was in high school.

I sent things to magazines I liked that had poems in them. I sent some to the big name literary magazines.

They were probably awful. Awful poems that were slaved over forever.

My first publication was when I was 18ish in a local DIY zine and it was an angst ridden thing about this woman I was madly in love with who thought I was a cute puppy.

When I got a little older I invested in a pack of 5 3.5″ floppy disks. I used the computers at the library or when I could afford it at Kinkos. I had read somewhere that the quality of paper and envelopes made a difference in being published. I bought these insanely expensive envelopes that I kept in a plastic gallon ziploc bag and very fine cream colored paper. I had to pay by the page so I spent a lot of time poring over things before printing them.

Most of the time though because I didn’t have money I just didn’t submit. The majority of magazines and things I saw that my work might fit cost money to submit, it cost money to buy postage and take the bus to the post office and I just didn’t have it.

These days I submit everywhere I feel is a good idea.

Sometimes if a place has a 3-5$ reading fee I can dash off and do some short articles for pennies at Text Broker. Some months I’m able to make 8-10 dollars that way and thus spend that on submission fees.

When I read about the ease of submission causing authors to be careless I was appalled. I know that I don’t have perfect grammar. I work very hard at it but it’s just not my best thing. I know that occasionally there will be an oops in formatting. I spell check and reread etc.

I agonize about submissions. I never submit if I haven’t thought about it long and hard. Of my finished work, I debate with myself on whether or not to send X piece to X zine.

It’s gut wrenching at times. More so because the most common rejection reason I’m told (as are most authors I assume) is that this piece is not right for us.


Given the frequency of this I’m having kind of an issue with myself. Is my judgement really that off?

Friday I was having this moment. It was a dose of double consciousness with a side of plain old self doubt. When I look over a contribute list and read what a magazine publishes sometimes I feel that I just shouldn’t send them anything based on the fact that I am not fancily educated. I don’t have books or chapbooks published by darling indie zines.

When publications use words like “diverse” and I read a lot of stories about White folks falling in love, or every contributor is an MFA candidate/already has one etc is diverse the word? I think about my stories that are usually not really about people falling in love in usual ways or I say cunt a lot I feel-


Okay I’ll just admit that I’ve been stewing all weekend thinking that maybe what I write isn’t “right” for any publication.

Yes I know. I have been published. There are people who like what I do but sometimes I feel that way and it stings.

I’m not saying that every word I write is inspired genius nor is every word I write fit for publication by anyone. It is just a feeling.

I’ve digressed.

I forgot what my original point was.

Since I forgot my point I am going to go engage in my submission ritual for the day. Check formatting, re-read story. Recheck submission guidelines. Reread latest issue. Check contact info. Prepare cover letter, find author bio. Attach/cut paste story. Reread. Redo cover letter. Chew the inside of my cheek. Click send.