Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Traditional Publishing, Independent Publishing, Hybrid, Old Model, New Model, Etc.
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:05 pm

Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby LibrarianBarbarian » Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:01 pm

I was overjoyed to get SHM for my first WotF entry earlier this year. I'd submitted the story in an earlier form to F&SF magazine and gotten a high tier rejection for it. The SHM I received for my revision made me very happy and proud!

Then, reality sank in and I realized that this story will likely never reach an audience, unless I self-publish and manage to sell it to about five or ten people, or if I throw it away for free on some site like WattPad.

The only magazine I felt would be a real fit for this story was F&SF. I know they frown on re-submissions, and also, they have had an editorial change, and I presume their preferences have changed as well. It's a good, solid, exciting and emotionally moving story, in my opinion, and apparently that of the Judges of WoTF, but its not 'hard SF' enough, or diverse, enlightened, revolutionary, or literary enough for the major markets. Probably would have sold easily back in the '80s days of Del Rey and DAW books, but now it's a hard sell.

I haven't seen any small press anthology calls that would suit it. I'm sure there might be a couple of places that would publish it on a non-paying basis, or pay me enough to buy myself a McDonald's meal, but I think it's worth a bit more. Even then, it's too long for most of those markets. I guess my vision will remain a private one, except for the gracious critiquers and judges who have already seen it.

Anyone else have a similar situation with their HM or SHM?
Q2 Volume 37 - SHM
Q3 Volume 37 - No Entry
Q4 Volume 37 - HM

User avatar
Dustin Adams
Posts: 1932
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:47 am
Location: IN MY HOUSE!

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:43 am

While I don't try very hard to sell my stuff, I also don't have much success with what I have tried to sell.
Part of selling is name recognition. (Part) If two equal stories reach an editors desk, yours and an author they feature twice a year, yours is coming back.
Don't beat me up too much for saying this, but... write your next story. This is not to say don't sub, but is to say you have untold stories to love just as much or more that will eventually reach readers.

The Q1 I just subbed is now my favorite story. How many stories down, and I just finished one I like more than all the others...
It's not the most representative of me. I like military sci-fi. Check out my story about androids fighting a war with swords... Let's go. But, and I've said this aplenty about WotF, their open call allows you to write anything spec, so your imagination is unrestrained to write about androids with swords, or giant space moths, or a mute ogre mystic (I've subbed two out of those three).

Ultimately you will write something undeniable.
Then you'll do it again.

Ken Liu is my inspiration. Dude created a Genre... But if you don't know his backstory, check out how he got where he is. His path to success was paved with unsold HMs...
2x Finalist
2x Semi
4x Silver
9x HM
Eight EDF stories. DSF: Short Story. My Semi-F My Finalist #1

User avatar
Posts: 1396
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:21 pm

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:32 pm

You never know what will sell. As far as my sales breakdowns go:

  • Three of the stories never even made it to WotF (they were written for specific markets--two of them all mine, one co-written--and they managed to sell on their first outings).
  • One was an edited version of a flat rejection.
  • One was an edited version of an honorable mention.
  • One was my second finalist (although that sold to a semi-pro market rather than a pro market).

I have an unsold finalist and both my semi-finalists are unsold so far (although one has only been to four markets at this point, and I rarely consider retiring a story until it has at least 15 R's from various markets). I've never sold any of my SHMs. I've only sold one HM. Hell, I sold an R (although, as mentioned, both it and the HM had seen revisions).

But I've sold six stories!

All we can do is write stories we love and send them out into the world.

P.S. Don't self-reject. There are tons of markets out there, although some are open more frequently than others. (Several open up tomorrow!) I didn't know any of my stories would sell until they did. I'm just very stubborn.
If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, ?, ?

User avatar
Wulf Moon
Posts: 2036
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:54 pm
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:45 pm

I had a story that I submitted to every coordinating judge in the Contest, no revisions. It got HMs from each one. I sent it to every pro market that appeared for twenty years. It got great personal rejections, and was held for six months to be published, but the new editor said he couldn't find the room and sent it back. I finally sold it three years ago. "Beast of the Month" to Third Flatiron. It resold to their Best of the Year anthology. They also hired me to do the voice-over for their podcast. That story I kept sending out for all those years is the story that relaunched my career. WotF followed later, but I was already rolling because of that sale.

If you know a story is good, never ever give up on it. There are always new markets opening up. It's a matter of finding the perfect fit.

All the beast!

Wulf Moon
Author page:
Critter Awards: BEST AUTHOR 2019 & 2020 BEST SF&F STORY 2018, 2019, 2020
“Muzik Man" wins Best SF&F Story of 2020

User avatar
Posts: 435
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:12 am

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby chuckt » Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:24 am

In over two years of trying now, I have not sold any of mine. Lots of personal rejections though. But, I am still trying. (I've sold one to a semi-pro market). I think Dustin is right. I am guessing name recognition is a huge part of it. It's not enough to just write good, even really good, stories. Lots of people are putting great stories out there. You have to achieve some success and then capitalize on it. I think Moon is a great example. He's a really good writer but also has worked hard to leverage his initial success. Of course, people do come up with stories that just can't be ignored. Those are rare gems though and even those can get missed. We've all heard the tales of how Frank Herbert and J.K. Rowland had great trouble selling their masterpieces.
36: R, R, R, SHM
37: R, HM, R, HM
38 ?

Mr H
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:02 pm

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby Mr H » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:01 pm

J. K. Rowling. Assuming that's who you mean.
Lots of R
36 Q1 R
36 Q2 R
36 Q3 R
36 Q4 R
37 Q1 HM (happy dance may have occurred)
37 Q2 R
37 Q3 R
37 Q4 R
38 Q1 ? (Hmm... Let me guess.)

Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:55 am

Re: Anyone else have HM or SHM stories that will likely never see publication?

Postby Chezecaek » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:53 pm

Those anthology calls will keep coming. New markets will open in the future. It may take a while before you find a viable place to send it to, but it's not going anywhere, is it?

Return to “Publishing: The Business Of”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest