Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some Make It and Some Do Not

Did you ever get into a very long conversation on facebook or in one of the facebook groups?  For those who are not users of facebook--one person posts a comment and then all their Friends can add comments to the original one. Sometimes the list grows like weeds in a garden.

This week, a writer friend started a conversation about the permission releases that Chicken Soup for the Soul editors send to writers whose stories have made it into the final cut round. If you've ever received one, you know that the thrill is laced with fear. Why? Because the message that is sent warns that not every one of the stories in this category will make it into the book. A few will be cut. Oh please--not mine! is the normal reaction. The next thing you do is begin the waiting process. Fortunately, it isn't as long as the wait from submission to permission release notice. Even so, it's nail biting time. I've received 14 notices that I was in the final cut stage and have never been cut. I'm sure it must be awful to make it so close and then be told your story was left out. Hopefully, those stories will find a home elsewhere. If they were good enough to get to the final cut, then they should be good enough to be published elsewhere. No reason to trash the story forever.

But back to the conversation on facebook. The person who initiated the conversation was wondering if anyone knew any writer who had received the permission release form from the editors of an upcoming Chicken Soup book titled Home, Sweet Home. She'd checked and knew that the release forms were up and probably sent out. One by one, other writers knew of no one. I did have one friend who made the list and let the others know. A few days went by and suddenly another who'd made it into the final cut stage popped. Then another. Hope raised its head once again. Someone said they weren't giving up yet, maybe their notice would come in a day or two. The comments flew back and forth.

I'm wondering, however, how long we can keep this hope thing going. When do we know that the last permission release notice has been sent? That's the problem with submitting to anthologies like this. You can be left hanging. For those hundreds, occasionally thousands, of writers who did not get the notice, they hold out that little glimmer until the book is actually released and their name does not appear in the Table of Contents. The door has slammed shut on that one. So what next?

If you're dedicated to seeing your work published, you submit something new to the next book this anthology is working on or to another anthology, ezine, newspaper or wherever publication is a possibility. There's always a next time. It's the way the writing game works.

 The writer who takes a rejection from Chicken Soup or any other place as a personal affront had better move on to some other form of creative work. Taking it as a blow to you personally is the fastest way to the land of Writer Depression that I know. The story you sent that didn't make it might be a perfect fit somewhere else. Maybe the Chicken Soup editors had too many stories that ran along the same lines as yours. It may have been a good story but not the best one along that line. Keep trying and it might help to have one of these long conversations with other writers such as the one I mentioned above. Misery loves company!

For the record, the story I sent didn't make it into the finals. At least, not yet! You see how hopeful I can still be.

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