IWSG: Submissions and The Race

Hi there! It’s Wednesday, it’s the first week of the month, so that means it’s time to meet with the Insecure Writers Support Group! Today, I wanted to go back to talking about submissions, and something a little scary that I’m going to try: Race points.

It can be really intimidating to send your shorts to a market, where it’ll get judged in the slush pile for all kinds of things you might not know about, and discouraging to keep sending anything out after a rejection.

I hadn’t submitted anything to an actual market in years before this fall. When I was at Odyssey this summer, everybody was really encouraging about submitting, and talking about how it might take up to 100 rejections for a good writer to make their first sale. A lot of my Odyssey classmates are full of plans to become ‘Centurions’ (ie reach their 100th rejection) by next Summer.

Sigh. I’ve made two submissions so far in 2013; got one rejection back, and the other is still in the slush pile.  I think I’ve made progress on letting go of my perfectionism and refusing to leave stories in the trunk because I don’t know enough to fix the flaws I see in them.

I used to be intimidated by Race Scoring, maybe because I felt there was something I was missing, and maybe because I’d come across some really high Race target numbers, (like Dean Wesley Smith’s, which is 60 points! :-o.) The idea with Race points is just to keep your points up at a high level for as long as you can; you get one point for every story that’s submitted and out on the slush pile, you lose the point when it’s rejected or when you get paid for the story. There’s some ‘equivalent points’ stuff to factor in submitting novels and other stuff, but that’s the basic idea. And part of the reason I’m drawn to Race points now is that they’ll keep me from targeting markets that have a really quick turnaround time, as opposed to really good markets where I’d like to make a sale, and that I think are a good fit for my stories.

I think I may keep count of my rejections as well, just to turn something that could be depressing into a badge of honor as a writer.

So, what about you? Any followers out there who are also struggling with the submission grinder?

4 Responses to IWSG: Submissions and The Race

  1. shell flower says:

    I’ve accrued about 7 short story market rejections and about the same amount from agents for a novel I’ve been querying this year. I like the idea of trying to reach 100 rejections. Somehow that is a lot less scary to me than hoping for one actual “yes”–I don’t know why. Good luck with your submissions.


  2. Trisha says:

    I really like the idea of that points system 🙂 Right now I have 0 points because I submitted one thing and got rejected. 😛 At least I got a nice, very complimentary rejection! Still, I’m at 0 points. And I totally need to get to that “let go of your perfectionism” point. But right now I *know* I can improve on what I have, since most of what I have is in fairly rough draft form.


  3. Race points don’t sound like fun. Sounds really discouraging actually.
    You need to hook up with Milo James Fowler. The dude is the short story master. Don’t let his amount of submissions and acceptances discourage you – let them inspire. You could learn a lot from him. He’s the one who started Write1Sub1.
    Otherwise, two out there is still good! Don’t lose faith in yourself.


  4. […] IWSG: Submissions and The Race (kelworthfiles.wordpress.com) […]


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