A guest post on the Zombie Feed- get out the Prozac, oh, and rejection!

26 04 2011

Yesterday a “guest post” from yours truly was put up on “The Zombie Feed” website. You should click the link and read the (really long… hmm) post I gave them. It’s a type of dovetail marketing campaign for “The Zombie Feed Anthology Volume I.” which is now out and ready for your reading pleasure- containing, as it does, a very short story by moi. You can order it at the web-site, and digital copies are way cheap so I no longer believe price is an excuse. The whole antho is great, by the way. I’ve purchased a couple of z-theme anthologies in the past year just to see what a certain press was putting out and I decided to accuse them of breach of contract to get my story rights back. This is the opposite of that. Wonderful stories from start to finish. That’s Jason Sizemore for you.

So a note on rejection, I have another and I will post it for you now:

Thank you for submitting to Andromeda Spaceways.

Unfortunately, while we liked your submission, so far we
have not found a place for it ... and it is against
our policy to hold onto a story indefinitely. Much as we'd
like to, we just don't have the room to print all the stories
we get -- not even all the good ones. So sadly, I'm going
to have to very reluctantly let this one go.

If it got this far, you can rest assured that your story
is of high quality and you should be able to find a home
for it. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Better luck next time!

I have supplied some notes from the readers, in case you find them useful.
(All these are only the opinions of the readers.)

Well now, wasn’t that nice. It was from Andromeda Spaceways, the Australian magazine I keep almost getting into. This is the closest, though. They held the story for three months. I appreciate the inclusion of the readers notes, but I am following the advice given by Heinlein and George R. R. Martin, “If you love your story, set it free. If it keeps coming back to you rejected, throw a tantrum, smash some shit in your house, give up writing and then spend the night crying and eating ice-cream novelty treats.” Well, now that my insulin levels have righted themselves from a sixteen hour tears-and-drumstick binge, I can say that the readers notes were actually helpful, but ultimately not useful and here is why-

They were helpful in that they pointed out that I used the incorrect form of “discrete.” I had used “discreet” instead. This made it through about a dozen edits of mine. They also pointed out that I had missed a possessive. That was the extent of the editing remarks. (though the comment that I needed to take some copy editing lessons was a bit much… really? …. living on the wrong side of the globe where it’s winter in June… I mean “global south” is the phrase for “world’s ghetto” for crying out loud, and yeah, I said ‘world’s’ with the correct possessive, so go choke on a roo steak!)

Sorry. Really, I just ate a lot of ice-cream novelty treats and I’m not thinking too clearly. It really is a wonderful magazine, and what Heinlein and Martin really said was “know when it’s right, and don’t let rejection make you second guess. Only change your story if an editor asks you to as a condition of publication. Be done with your story and let it go.” That is great advice. Other than the couple of copy editing fixes, this story stands just fine on its own. One reader told me to cut about six pages worth of material and frankly, though I understand the request, I don’t understand the request. This story has made it to the final round of cuts at four (4!!) professional markets, the most for any story I’ve ever written, published or not. It is good. It is one of my best. It will find a home. Hopefully soon, as it is getting ready to take a tour of some of my favorite magazines. Unfortunately I don’t think I can submit this one to Apex as it is an oddly hopeful story with very little in the way of darkness.

Oh well, keep reading, keep writing- that’s what I’m doing.

I also want to make sincere apologies to Notable Australian, Peter M. Ball and Australian transplant Dee…. well, Ball! (both Australians I know have the same last name… huh, weird) I’m sorry for the fit. I think Australia is a wonderful country/continent- with its majestic peaks, and lush interior, and its six deadly poisonous animals per every citizen… and, oh, Midnight Oil, let’s not forget about Midnight Oil! Oh, and Men Without Hats, right? Men Without Hats…. pretty cool. No, wait, they’re from Canada, well it’s in the Commonwealth, so, yeah… Men Without… Hats. Eeeeee.

That’s all for now. More when I’m feeling plucky!

Andrew Clark Porter

The Captain Cook of science fiction.

Those Australians sure know how to party!

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26 responses

26 04 2011
Dee

You forgot Yahoo Serious and Jacko (the old Energizer battery commercial guy)! You should know Aus has no taste…they let me in!

26 04 2011
silverstairs

Oh, “forget” is a strong word. Oi!

26 04 2011
Peter M Ball

I used to rage against rejections. Then I just stopped submitting to ASIM, which was really the only place I subbed where the rejections moved past “professional” and became “vaguely insulting.” Turns out this wasn’t a terribly uncommon thing when I started talking to other writers.

26 04 2011
silverstairs

Yeah, I have a whole post about their unique “system.” I have read (on their site…) that writers appreciate their feedback, but I can’t see why. I only want to sell to them because they pay in Australian money and I want to make them send me the payment in actual Australian currency. I just want to get published south of the equator. I need to look into South African sci-fi.

28 04 2011
Peter M Ball

Odds are you’ll get paid via paypal, just like every other Australian publication.

If you’re really looking for Australian markets, drop me an e-mail some time. I can give you some other options, if you’re really focused on the down-under pubs.

27 04 2011
Dee

I just realized, there sure are a lot of Balls in Australia…

27 04 2011
silverstairs

That’s Cornwall for you.

1 05 2011
Scott W. Baker

Agreed on the acidity of ASIM rejections. I’ve gotten good feedback from them, too. My latest (first round) rejection from them discourteously criticized the same aspects o the story that a pro-zine editor had blatantly praised (despite his ultimate rejection).

2 05 2011
silverstairs

It’s the feedback that they say is their best component (they actually post comments of praise from writers regarding this- which if you gotta say it…). I don’t know why, but as I reviewed the comments on the various replies I have gotten from them I see that most of the commentary is useless or downright insulting. I was trying to figure out how reader based slush management was different from an actual slush editor and now I know. It would seem that most of these readers have no workshop experience and are using a sort of “empowered reader tough love” approach where they don’t have to ask or think “why did the author do this.”
They get pretty mean (although they also disagree with on another sometimes and that makes you feel better.)

12 07 2011
Sue Bursztynski

Don’t worry about, it guys. My responses are generally polite, unless the story isn’t spec fic and my time has been wasted, but after the sort of whining and whingeing I’ve seen in some writer forums – and Peter Ball, at least, should know that when you’re professionally published you’re going to have to put up with some VERY rude reviews, so get over it! – I’m on comment strike. If you get a rejection from ASIM without comment, it will probably be from me. I do this for the love of SF and the hope that the next story I read is going to be wonderful, not for a living. I have a full–time day job to pay the bills, as most of us on the co-op do. When you do get paid by Paypal, some of the money will be out of my pocket, because I believe in what we’re doing.

Of course, you guys can always volunteer for slushing yourselves and see how the system works… 🙂

Just so you know, I’ve had a variety of reviews of my new novel, some raves saying it’s beautifully written and others saying it’s badly written but they couldn’t put it down. Go figure. I haven’t whined about it on my blog or on someone else’s and don’t intend to. You can’t please everyone.

Not having a go at you, Andrew, good luck to you and I hope you sell us something. Keep trying! Don’t overdose on the ice cream, but have some for me. 😉 And yes, send it somewhere else IMMEDIATELY if we don’t take it. I’ve seen a story we had in our slushpool but couldn’t find a space for, in another anthology and was delighted that it had found a home. Even nicer, the author had re-written according to our suggestions. I’ve known some professional writers whose stories didn’t get out of the slush pool to say, “Oh, no, that’s fine, I sold it to ____ for $900!” 😉

16 07 2011
silverstairs

Holy Shit! I had “Monsters and Creatures…” on my shelf when I was in High School!!!! The house (and alas, the book) burned to the ground after it was struck by lightening (for the fourth time, it was also struck by a cannon ball in the civil war which had a small engagement in my old backyard so I hope you can appreciate that) anyhow I just want to say it is a real honor to have you give me what’s what!! That being said I know this Gypsy girl that lives in New South Wales now and she is totally going to kick your butt for me- naw, I’m kidding. She gave me your book way back when.

I want to dish out a little intellectual honesty here and say that one of the reasons that I have complained several times about ASIM is that I love ASIM. I wouldn’t plug it so often if I didn’t. So know that it is the love of a petulant child.

I think writers, genre writers in particular and specifically the sci-fi/fantasy genre’s writers walk a fine line in that we are for the most part also the biggest fans and critics. When last years Booker Prize nominees contained not a single representative of our genre, committee member John Mullan said that he wasn’t even aware of sci-fi, that it had become a “self enclosed world,” (I doubt he meant the irony though Tolkien would have caught it). The committee chair said the we, the fans, need to blame publishers. I bring this up because in some ways I think they are right- we are the fans, and the creators and that causes us to at times act like the mob and at others to act like The Party. We are always a bit of both. Here, on this site, I will always air my disappointments, my childish rants, my worthless opinions. I promise you this as well, Sue, I will always post the words of anyone ready to call my shit and tell me I’m out of line. You’re right. I’m a bit of an ingrate, and it was easy to get away with when I started this, but for good or ill I have grown more readers than I ever intended so perhaps I should watch my mouth a bit more carefully. Peter M. Ball is just a butthole, though. He’s having too good a career of late to be anything else!

I will, however, put my money where my mouth is. I will, If you will show me how and walk me through it, do some time on volunteer slush for ASIM. How can I complain if I’m not willing to try and change things? So the glove is down should you choose to collect it. I read at least a story a day anyway, might as well do it for a good cause.

Oh, and I’m just kidding about Peter, his career isn’t that good- HA!

7 08 2011
Sue Bursztynski

Goodness, you read my first book! 🙂 Wow! I’m sorry to hear your copy was burned. It’s out of print now, so I can’t even offer to send you another one.

Thanks, Andrew. And if you want to have a go at slush, email Lucy Zinkiewicz at asimsubmissions@gmail.com. Believe me, we always have room for more slushers, we get so much of it and the more people reading, the speedier the response time to individual pieces.

I have just picked up a gorgeous story for Issue #56, the next multi-editor issue, and I found it in slush, so I’m feeling a lot perkier right now. It was worth all the reading! Yay!

7 08 2011
silverstairs

Congratulations on your good new issue!! I have an interview with Elizabeth Bear in my next post, but I will be sure to write about it in the post after. I am curious about the “gorgeous story”… can you give a hint? I will certainly email Lucy. Actually I will do so first thing in the morning. There, I have now eaten your crow!!! And yes I know your book is out of print. I had about three dozen books that will likely never be replaced. Actually your book popped up on E-bay about three years ago, but it got taken on reserve before I could bid….bastards!!! So you and a handful of really rare, one off sci-fi and fantasy books from the past century are now only in my memories. As I seem to only successfully publish my horror stories, you should feel proud that you influenced a poor kid from the farm! Thanks for the hit back… I was really hoping you would see it.

7 08 2011
Sue Bursztynski

Hang on, are you talking about Gail Neville (since changed back to her maiden name, I think)? I lost track of her some time ago, though we corresponded briefly when I encountered her daughter Monita on a Harry Potter list…

7 08 2011
silverstairs

Really? What did she change it to?

7 08 2011
silverstairs

Wait, was it Blum??

7 08 2011
Sue Bursztynski

No, it was Kavanagh. Okay, it’s obviously not Gail you were mentioning when you spoke of the “gypsy girl” from NSW. She was my favourite penpal, back when people sent letters instead of emails, then we emailed briefly after I got back in tocuh, don’t know where she is now.

7 08 2011
silverstairs

No it wasn’t her, but are you speaking of the writer Gail? No, my friend was Dee Norman, who was wonderful and much fun to be around.

9 08 2011
flyingpoppet

Did someone speak my name?

Jeeze Andrew — just go and threaten people with the little tiny woman who is obviously willing to beat people up to protect you! Sheesh… 🙂

I remember Monsters and Creatures of the Night fondly!

10 08 2011
silverstairs

I know! Sue Bursztynski reads my cruddy blog! I think about that book, meeting you (and being introduced to: 1. Punk Rock and 2. The Tarot) and now you are in Australia- weird. Anyhow, I know you’d beat somebody up for me, that’s why I love you. Just so you know I have a new page on this site- The Unpublishables!!!! Fear them!!

10 08 2011
Sue Bursztynski

He must know you’re willing to do that. 😉 I’m thrilled there are these adults who liked my first book. It was written for kids and mostly they liked it too. By the way, Andrew, if you really do want a copy, I’ve done some surfing and there are very cheap second-hand copies on Amazon, ABEBOOKS, Barnes and Noble, etc. around $3.65 n the average. You can get a new one, but you’d have to pay the outrageous price of $46 for a book that was about $11.95 back when it came out.

I’ve done nine more books since then, the most recent being a YA novel with – what else? – werewolves in it. 🙂

10 08 2011
silverstairs

Well what kind of genre writer would I be if I didn’t have inside friends at the local used book collective? They located a copy in their Dallas TX store. I’ll let you know when I have it. Oh, and I am now officially going to start reading slush for that you shamed me over, so money, my mouth- together at last.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine: We’ll get you there… so you should be ashamed of yourself!

I deserve everything I got, by the by.

10 08 2011
silverstairs

I will certainly grab the next one of your post monster books… but I think saying that Dee or myself are “adults” may be…. a stretch.

10 08 2011
flyingpoppet

And here I was, reveling in finally being called an Adult! Thanks for ruining that, Andrew! 😀

10 08 2011
silverstairs

butt.

10 08 2011
flyingpoppet

I remember there were a couple of books for kids that both Andrew and I liked at the time, and that was one of them. The other (I think) was called The Dark Thirty.

I haven’t thought about either book in years — I’m going to have to check out your newer stuff! 🙂

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