Moving to Freedom, .Org

Tales from the Slush Pile

blue jay

A tale of hope and woe and ultimate failure…

Between late 2001 and early 2003, I wrote five stories that I sent around to print and online science fiction magazines.

I wasn’t put off by the slush pile and the difficulties of getting out of it. There is good advice out there about how to give yourself a decent chance, and how you can improve your writing.

The second of those stories collected some encouraging personal comments as it rang up one rejection after another. I don’t have any illusions that it’s a great work of art, rejected by clueless editors, and that I’ll show them all by publishing it myself. (Although I did publish it myself.) The story was rejected for valid reasons, and I think I learned from the feedback. I mostly agree with their assessments, although I think they could have been more forthright in acknowledging the limitless potential of my raw but obviously huge talent.

Okay! It’s time to send this thing out into the world!

And that seems like a good, dignity-salvaging note to end on.

And there you have it: a journey of 684 days for the manuscript, from January 25, 2002 to January 27, 2004. Despite my commentary, I didn’t resent the long wait times. That’s part of the business. It’s going to take them a while to wade through all the muck they receive every day.

Now, after all that, if you’re burning with curiosity about the story, you can judge it for yourself!

(For more practical thoughts on that pile, including some advice on escaping it, here’s something from real life slush reader Sarah E. Olson, who reads for Apex Magazine : It Came From the Slush Pile.)