Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kicking In The Window

There's something to be said for starting out small.  Sometimes it's the only way.  Usually it's the only way, especially when it comes to getting published.  And for those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you know my motto:  "When you can't enter through the front door, kick in a window."

I've certainly kicked in my fair share.

A few years ago, after wallpapering my office wall with rejection letters from agents and editors, I decided to submit a few short stories to magazines and online publications.  I was so glad I did.  That experience was like a shot in the arm for me personally and professionally.

It was nice to hear, "Wow! I loved your story.  Got any more?"  Lest you think it was all wine and roses, I certainly heard plenty more of  "Thanks, but no thanks" but it kept me going.

While magazines and online publications pay very little, if at all, it was still a good way to make new contacts, get new perspectives on my writing and, yes, even get published every once in a while.  It was also a welcome addition to my agent query letter when I could close with  "I've had short stories published in X and Y."  Now, of course that doesn't mean a hill of beans unless the query knocked the socks off an agent but perhaps it gave one or two of them pause to request a partial or a full of my manuscript. 

What about you? What have you done to kick in a window?  Anything unusual or not so unusual that you can recommend?

10 comments:

Shirley Wells said...

I did things differently (well, I would, wouldn't I?). I had no desire to write a book - way too long so way too much hard work - and began by writing short stories. I'd had several hundred published before one of the magazine editors bullied me into a writing a serial. I still remember my horrified/terrified cry of "You want sixty thousand words?!?" :)

Even now, if the book isn't going well, I'll write a short story to freshen up my writing muse.

Tina said...

When agent after agent kept saying no, I kept writing fiction. But I also started writing creative non-fiction and took a job as a freelance newspaper columnist/feature writer. They were delighted with every word I sent them, so it was rejection proof. Plus, I have a great support network now that the novel is coming out, and a growing audience.

Joanna St. James said...

Enid Blyton pappered her walls with rejection slips too! Writing for mags sounds like a good idea.
I have not started kicking in windows yet I just started writing actively in June so I just plan to use my babywriter cuteness power on them till they cave

Taryn Kincaid said...

Wrote what I thought was a little Halloween short story last year...it grew to novella length. Submitted it to The Wild Rose Press's Black Rose (paranormal) line, and was told...if you can heat it up a little more, we'd love it for Scarlet Rose, the erotic romance line.
Heat? Sure! I can do that!
And Sleepy Hollow Dreams was born.

Eleri Stone said...

I wondered where your motto came from Liz! I love it. Nothing wrong with starting small and kicking in windows.

Lia Bal said...

I still new to this whole writing thing so I haven’t broken any windows yet, but I’m sure I will some day. I’ve heard of a few people writing for magazines. I might have to give that a try.

Liz Fichera said...

Shirley, Glad to hear I'm not alone in the trying different things gig. And I'm so glad you've published your stories because I love reading them!!

Tina, the support network has become so important to me too, more important than even I thought possible.

Joanna, I seriously thought about creating Rejection Wallpaper. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?! And it looks so lovely...

Taryn, I'm so looking forward to Sleepy Hollow - got it on my nook as we speak. Hopefully over Christmas.

Eleri, Yep, that's where it originated. A lot of window kicking!

Lia, Magazine writing is just one way, certainly not the only way. Lots of ways to break inside that front door!

Maria Zannini said...

I don't know if it kicked in the window, but it seems to make an impression on agents/editors when I mention that I edit the newsletter for OWW. (Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy and Horror)

I interview a bunch of them too, so it keeps me on their radar.

Donna Cummings said...

One thing I did that helped was entering contests. I chose ones that had agents and/or editors as final judges, and often these were people that didn't take queries, etc., so this was a great way to get my work in front of them.

My agent actually requested the full from a query a couple of weeks before she saw my opening in an online contest she was helping to judge. So the traditional method (query) and the window-kicking (contest) kind of worked together!

Liz Fichera said...

Maria & Donna, Those are great ideas! And timing always helps too.