One of the things authors tell each other (and sometimes have to remind themselves) is to never self-reject. If you’re not sure an editor will like your story just because they typically don’t buy much Martian weasel-farming fiction, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. Maybe some aspect of your writing will override the editor’s usual preferences. Maybe all the time your weasel-farming story spends on Venus will be enough to break free of the Martian cliche. But if you self-reject by never submitting the story in the first place, you’ll never know.
With that in mind, I didn’t think I had anything to send to Flame Tree Publishing’s Swords & Steam anthology. After all, the closest I’ve ever come to writing a steampunk story was burning myself on the hot air rising from a box of microwaved pot stickers and yelling something that only sort-of sounds like “punk.”
But the submission guidelines did say they’d be looking for (among other things) historical fiction, so I figured–what the heck? Let’s see if they’re interested in reading a little about Eli Whitney.
Let me tell ya–I’m sure glad I sent that email.
“Eli Whitney and the Cotton Djinn,” which originally appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show #42, will now see print in one of Flame Tree’s positively gorgeous anthologies. Last year I sold “Sweet Dreams, Glycerine” to their Science Fiction Stories anthology, and that book remains the prettiest thing on my shelf; I can’t wait to see Swords & Steam standing alongside it.
In other news, remember that post I wrote about Codex’s Weekend Warrior competition? (If not, it’s right here.) Well, as it turns out, I’ve sold another of my contest stories–this time, to a place called Fantasy & Science Fiction.
. . .
Yes, I’m talking about the same F&SF that’s been around since the 1940s. The same F&SF that published things like Roger Zelazny’s “The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth” and “A Rose for Ecclesiastes.” The same F&SF that I’ve long said is the short-fiction market I most wanted to sell a story to.
So, that’s a thing. “The Woman With the Long Black Hair” will appear in the pages of F&SF sometime in the near(ish) future. It’s a flash fiction story about 800 words in length, which is particularly crazy because F&SF only publishes a small handful of flash stories per year. Really, I had no reason to believe they’d be interested in something so short.
And that’s why you never self-reject.