Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission Tracker

The Sarcastic Muse

Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission TrackerA couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of getting your work out there, and a couple months ago, I gave some pointers about submitting to literary magazines. Now that I’ve given you the how and why, you’re at the stage where it’s time to start defining your submission plans. What would I suggest?

Make goals

Aim for one hundred rejections. That’s right. This may sound like a glass-is-half-empty kind of approach, but I’ve put a positive twist on it. If you set a goal of one hundred rejections a year, then that means you’ve submitted your work one hundred times. Think about that for a minute.

But if 100 rejections feels like a little too much your first time out, then lower the goal. Either way, make one. Lay out your plan.

Don’t hang your hopes on one piece

The more work you’ve completed and prepped, the…

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Want To Be Successful? Fight for Your Writing Rejections

The Sarcastic Muse

As a writer, the worst thing you can do is work in an environment of fear of rejection.
—Carol Leifer

If you’ve sent your work out before, you’re probably familiar with responses like this one: “Thank you for letting us read [insert name of piece here], but . . .”

Ah, the dreaded “but.” A writer’s worst enemy.

Or is it?

Each time we let our work leave the nest, there’s a niggling worry that our poor words may not remember howWant To Be Successful? Fight for Your Writing Rejections to fly. We’re afraid they’ll flop into a broken, wingless mess. We’re afraid someone will tell us we’re not good enough. Sometimes this fear is so great that we don’t send anything out at all. We condemn our work before it’s even had a shot.

It’s all too easy to get emotional about rejections — to make excuses: “Oh, the subject I’ve written about is too ‘out there.’…

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Hiring a Freelance Editor: Pricing and Getting the Most for Your Money

The Sarcastic Muse

The Freelance Editor Dilemma: Pricing and Getting the Most for Your MoneyI was chatting with my cousin a few weeks ago about freelance work. He used to work as a graphic designer—doing logos and such—and so he knows how difficult it can be to find work or, at the very least, to find people willing to pay for good work. Business owners would ask to have a professional logo made for next to nothing. And I thought: If that’s all the money they were willing to put into their business, then what does that tell me they think their company is worth?

The same issue occurs in the editing world, too. While many writers do understand that quality editing takes time and doesn’t come cheap, others seem to underestimate just what exactly editing entails—and what exactly they’re paying for.

I understand why writers may wish to find cheaper editing options—monetary issues or otherwise—but as with any business (and publishing novels is…

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Things To Know If You Want To Publish in Literary Magazines

The Sarcastic Muse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll start this off by saying: I am not a master of getting published in literary magazines. Rather it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m an expert in getting rejected by them. But there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that may be of use to you—whether you’re a literary writer or a genre writer or somewhere in between. Reading the fine print, familiarizing yourself with your chosen venue of publication, drafting cover and query letters—all of these things will bring you one step closer to seeing your name in print.

And besides, there are a ton of opportunities out there for writers—you just need to know where to look.

Cover Letters

Most literary journals require a cover letter. I’ve noticed that some of the speculative fiction magazines are more lenient about this, but as a habit, I send them one, too. Cover letters are not…

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Perfectionist Writer Problems: You May Be a Perfectionist If . . .

The Sarcastic Muse

Perfectionist Writer Problems: You May Be a Perfectionist If . . .I was chatting with Chris last week about my novel issues. Yes, with my thesis looming over my head I’m having, of all things, novel issues. I am not a fire and forget kind of writer. I’m an agonize over every word even when I know I’ll probably burn the draft in a fiery pit of doom kind of writer. Perfectionists are an odd sort, and the longer I hang around the writer corner of the internet, the clearer it is to me that the writing world is full of them. *Waves at all fellow perfectionists*

The sarcastic muse has struck me this week, so below I’ve amassed a list of some perfectionist problems. At least the ones that are familiar to me.

Disclaimer: I can’t speak for all perfectionists. Also, some points may dually apply to self-proclaimed non-perfectionists, too. (Imperfectionists?)

You may be a perfectionist if . . .

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Phonetic Punctuation: How Do You Hear Punctuation Marks in Your Writing?

The Sarcastic Muse

I once wrote a post suggesting that writers should think of their writing as music, but what happens when someone takes this seriously? What would happen if we actually sounded out punctuation marks when we spoke, for instance? Well . . . we would then be using what Victor Borge aptly calls phonetic punctuation. Though he approaches the idea with humor, it’s worth noting that, in addition to being a comedian, Mr. Borge was also a conductor and a pianist. It’s probably fair to say that he understood punctuation in ways many writers do not.

Punctuation is a tricky thing. All those marks decorating the page, silent and unavoidable in our writing. Yet, those marks — which have no actual phonetic transcription, no sound (minus Victor Borge’s interpretation) — are the rhythmic backbones of words. How is that?

When you use punctuation in your stories, you are transcribing…

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Writing Fluid Fiction: When Should I Spell Out Numbers?

The Sarcastic Muse

Writing Fluid Fiction: When Should I Spell Out Numbers?Do you ever get to a number in your manuscript, pause, and then wonder: what should I do with it? Should I spell it out? Should I leave it in numerical form? Well, the good news is that there are no “official” rules. At best, there are a bunch of guidelines, and most of the time, it will be up to the editorial practices of the publishing house or up to you to make the final decision. But the bad news is that because there are no official rules, the various requirements and advice can be confusing. So I’m here today to give you a general idea of what to do with those pesky numerical decisions.

What’s the general rule for numbers?

As an editor, I am more or less in agreement with The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS), which suggests “for nontechnical contexts” (aka: fiction) that you spell out…

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