Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Persistence

Yesterday, Melissa De Kler at Nossa Morte notified me that my short-short "Tesoro's Magic Bullet" will appear in a future issue. I'm thrilled. Nossa Morte is a quality market, garnering four honorable mentions in The Year's Best Horror (ed. by Datlow). I've read, and enjoyed, their offerings for the past two years.

But here's the back story: this wasn't the first time I've submitted to Nossa Morte. Or the second. Or third.

I think you can see the pattern.

"Tesoro's Magic Bullet" was at least (if my records are correct) my 11th try to crack that market. It took some helpful notes from the editor, some assistance from a few readers, and a boat-load of persistence. In fact, that particular piece had been rejected (in slightly different form) three times prior. Write and rewrite. Send it out again.

Someone might read the previous paragraph and quip: Man, that guy's a loser...he failed 10 times and came back for more? Someone who isn't a writer might say that.

Writers know.

They know publication isn't a quick fix. The only essential natural "talent" for a writer is the willingness to keep going. The thick skin that sheds rejections like rainwater only comes with time. The ability to weave magic with words and phrases is attainable with practice, patience, and persistence. God knows I'm still trying. I'm not gifted with a ridiculous amount of natural ability. I'm not in a life position to take off to Clarion West. All I have is persistence.

I hope I still will be trying a year from now. Two years. Hell, ten years from now.

Parent-teacher conferences are today (twelve hours in my classroom for about 1 1/2 hours of face to face time). That takes a little persistence, too. Last year on PT conference day, I heard from Fred Coppersmith that "To Put Away Childish Things" would appear in Kaleidotrope. That issue came in the mail this week, one year later, packed with slipstream goodness (for $5 domestic, I can't think of a better deal).

These things take time.

23 comments:

Alan W. Davidson said...

Thanks for the reality check on that, Aaron. I am still new enough to this scene that 2 or 3 rejections sink me. Persistance is good. I'm learning that. I've just got to re-work and re-submit to other markets.

Have 'fun' at the parent-teacher's conf. We actually love those meetings as it gives us a chance to let each teacher know that we are on there side (and to pass on our email to send us updates-though not all teachers bother to send anything).

Great post, sir.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I can think of a couple of markets that I have tried and failed several times at. I think some of the editors are getting sick of me. Congrats on getting in. They have put out some amazing material over the last couple of years.

Cate Gardner said...

I may have tried that particular market several times myself. My most submitted market was Lone Star Stories, and they closed down before I made it - darn it.

Oh, and congratulations.

Barry Napier said...

I think I tried Edge of Propinquity 6 times before finally cracking it. I have also tried to get into Apex 7 times. So yes, I know about persistence.

Congrats on the acceptance!

Aaron Polson said...

Alan - thanks. Too many parents don't come for H.S. conferences...it's like they're "done".

Jamie - thanks. Good company over there.

Cate - I think Not One of Us and Shimmer still beat Nossa Morte. Not by much. Still nothing at either of those...(and thanks)

Barry - It's the name of the game, no? Thanks

Laura Eno said...

Congrats! I think the amount of time is what gets to me the most. Having a story languish somewhere for 60 or 90 days and then getting a rejection still irks me. Ah well, I suppose I should get used to it, no?

Rebecca Nazar said...

Congrats! Nossa Morte is a fantastic market. Next Shimmer :-)

Aaron Polson said...

Laura - wait time is maddening, but I think I'm getting used to that, too. (I just keep writing)

Becca - Oh, Shimmer...yes. (I won't hold my breath)

katey said...

I freaking love Nossa Morte-- as I'm sure I've expressed before. Congratulations, and you're too, too right. The only talent necessary is a certain natural buoyancy, or at least a willingness to cultivate it. Those who can hack that will go far.

But holy god, it does take forever. :D

L.R. Bonehill said...

That's great news, Aaron - congrats! Stubborn persistence is always the key.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Never stop submitting, never surrender ; ) Congrats again on the sale!

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - I'm pretty chuffed, truth be told. It does take forever, doesn't it?

Thanks, L.R.

Natalie - Can I get "Remember the Alamo"? Okay. Thanks!

adnane rehane said...

Congratulation for your acceptance. it's very important for new writers like me to read such posts. it helps them to understand that it's not an easy job to get published. I started submitting on june 2009 and up to now, i have piled up hills of rejections and only some liliputian credits, but i'm not yet depressed :-) I admire your courage and persistence and good luck in your holy crusade for fortified markets

Aaron Polson said...

Adnane - We all must have courage! Thanks for the visit.

ElanaJ said...

This is beyond true. And I have a lot more than 11 rejections on stuff I've written. Congrats! And good luck on PT day. We had ours last week, spread out over two days.

Danielle Ferries said...

Congratulations! Most excellent news. There's a few I've tried and will keep trying to crack as well.

Aaron Polson said...

Elana - 11 rejects for a short is dwarfed by the smallest number of novel rejects I have. Novel rejects are a whole new ball game. We used to do two days...I kind of like the one day marathon. Charge!

Danielle - Thanks! Keep cracking.

George Seaton said...

Congrats, Aaron. I've had the honor of seeing three of my little stories appear in Nossa Morte. It is, as you say, a quality, quite discriminating ezine. I will look for you submission.

George Seaton

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mr. Polson! If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

It's too bad my parents didn't get to go talk to you today, they were busy sleeping... and making bread.

Aaron Polson said...

George - Thanks. I've enjoyed your work, and Nossa Morte in general.

Anonymous - Mmmmm. Bread. (what more can I say)

Horror Girl said...

congrats! nossa morte is awesome. you deserve it

BT said...

Late to the party again - just trying to catch up with the big events :c)

Nosa is a very good score - congrats, buddy. I've been trying to crack that one myself since I began this silly obsession with writing. Excellent comments back from the editors every time. I've been close, but no request for a rewrite yet...persistence - you're spot on.

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks Samantha, BT. Nothing but persistence.