Sunday, March 03, 2013

Do you feel lucky?


Kind of an appropriate topic with our upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, even I become a little bit Irish on this “holiday.” But, it’s true. My paternal grandmother was half-Italian and half-Irish.

In the last week, I’ve had one novella and three short stories accepted for publication, and I’m feeling quite blessed about it. Why then would I be a little bit pensive? Some nagging thought in the back of my mind – in a voice that sounds very much like a friend of mine – keeps saying, “Oh, you are so lucky. You have it so easy.”

You see, one friend who doesn’t quite understand regularly told me that whenever we talked. And while a part of it might have something to do with luck, a whole lot more deals with hard work and determination.

First, there comes the writing. At meetings, people have repeatedly said to get your BITC – Butt In The Chair. If you don’t write, you won’t have anything to submit.

And that’s part of the next step – you must submit your work if you ever want a chance at being published. I sat on stories for years before I first ventured to sending them out, so I definitely know what I’m talking about.

Determination comes with continuing to submit, even if you’re faced with the evil rejection. It sucks. It hurts. It makes my stomach burn.

Get over it. If you’re feeling “iffy” about the piece, ask someone else to read it, fix it and then send it out again.

One of the stories accepted I waited one year and four months on. Seriously: a year and a half. Periodically, I’d check in with the editor to see its status, and she’d tell me the anthology wasn’t done yet. I moaned about it. I complained. I fretted.

This week I decided enough was enough. After asking a friend her advice, and her rolling her eyes at me because I’d probably whined way too much over the last sixteen months, I wrote directly to the publisher. Last year, they released one of my short stories as a standalone, and I suggested they might want to publish this one individually “until the anthology is done.” About thirty-six hours later, she replied that she loved it, and would send me a contract.

Was the decision to follow-up – again – easy? No way. In fact, it felt a bit pushy, and I don’t do pushy.

Sometimes, though, determination kicks in.

Four acceptances with three publishers in one week are pretty miraculous, and at this moment, I have two more outstanding. Guess what I’m doing tonight? I’m writing – working on the next one.

So tell me: Do you feel lucky?

How can we get you there? 

-- Louisa Bacio