lisa rabey writes stuff issue #5 authors and their domains
someone keep me away from domains.google.com
[Housekeeping: Goddammit. Sorry gang. Changed my newsletter name AGAIN. I also picked up a website: lisarabeywritesstuff.com. Sorry, sorry, sorry if you filter!]
I got another rejection the other day on a piece of micro fiction piece I wrote. 100 words. The publication encourages for multiple submissions so now I’m on a hunt to get published with them so I sent in another piece.
My current thing is to write micro fiction (150 words or shorter). I submitted a 50 word piece last week. 50 words!
My weekly email from Duotrope arrived on Friday and I did pass through for calls. I’ve started becoming selective on the places I want to submit. One call was for romance of all varieties, but it must be clean. Can I do clean? I don’t know. I don’t want to. I’m not talking full on penis in vagina writing (yet) but a hint of something. I write my stuff like this:
Maybe she would kiss him. Maybe she would partially open her mouth, her tongue pink and wet. He would slowly suck on her bottom lip. She would moan and curl her hands in his hair.
And like this:
Your left hand would creep to find a way to get to my sex, sliding one finger in a slow and steady pace to confirm my wetness and mark me as yours. You'd smile your half-crooked smile, pull your finger out, and lazily lick your fingers.
Romance isn’t all roses and gentle kisses. It can be rough and dangerous but done in a tasteful way!
I deleted that call from my spreadsheet. (I was also a bit leery because they had their own template for submissions which required snail mail address and phone number. No thank you. (I also never heard back from them when I sent in a contact form to ask about said template.))
Reminds me I need to do another pass on the spreadsheet and cull anything that isn’t that appealing.
The spreadsheet is overwhelming me.
(If you’re interested in the spreadsheet, the author has made it publicly available. You’ll need to go to file > make a copy to get it in your Google drive or file > download for a copy to your desktop. The tabs upcoming submission, places to pitch, and chapbook publisher are my own making.)
This is just one page of the Upcoming Deadlines sheet. (And you will notice that paying markets are very few and far between.) All those tabs! I am beholden to the damn spreadsheet.
The new problem is I’m spending all this energy updating the fucking spreadsheet and not writing.
Well, that’s not quite true; what I’m doing now is writing down bits and bobs as they come to me. A sentence. A paragraph.
He died by hanging himself off a beam on his back porch.
One shoe dangled, a lace untied, and swept back and forth against the stool.
(Can we fucking talk about my obsession with writing about death, dying, and suicide?? I’m getting concerned with myself. Also rage and violence is big on the list. I have been medicated for the last eight years and feel fine! No suicidal tendencies! No ideation! Even though I work with witches, I forget them when the day is done. I just don’t get it.)
That’s my new trick: start something and don’t finish.
I begin to feel panicked because here is a list of sites, of many sites, that could read and publish my stuff and rather, I’m not finishing stories. I am doing a bit of re-writing so not all is lost. I took a poem I wrote in college and weaved it into a prose piece. I spent all day working on it because it needed to be exactly 100 words. I was fluctuating from 94 – 98 and 102 – 106. That damned 100 eluded me. Finally, I got it. It took a few hours and lots of sweat.
That’s why micro fiction is hard because a lot of places have very strict limits on word count. One place is 53 word story. 53 words! The prompt for the month is “madness.” The journal writes, “A story that surprises us in its approach to the prompt, something unusual and creative.” 53 words!
(I took a break from writing this newsletter and came up with a 53 word story. Yay!)
By the time you read this, I would have selected my editors to copy edit my longer pieces. I choose a few editors to spread the work around. I have a budget of what I can afford each week and I can’t go over that budget. I’m paying on the high end of professional rates because I want quality people.
It was hard going through the candidates and selecting people. Editing is so subjective. The trial piece I gave came back from several people and none were the same. I am working on those edits and cleaning it up. This particular piece I submitted, in its original form, to a lit mag. I know it will get rejected but I want this piece tight when I submit it somewhere else.
(I’m almost sick of the piece tbh. One day, perhaps, I won’t have antipathy towards it. (Probably next week.))
You may be asking yourself, “Why spend a zillion dollars getting work edited to submit to places that don’t pay?” Most excellent question. What I’ve I come up with, and I told this to Bad Kitty the other day, is editing is a good teaching practice. I’ve learned quite a bit so far. The shorter pieces I’m getting a handle on. It’s the longer pieces that will elude me, I think, for some time.
And it’s way cheaper than getting an MFA.
What really chaffs my wheat is a few lit mags are doing the, “we are run by volunteers, we can’t pay you, but think of the exposure!” line. I’m going to be blunt here, I work after my day job on this stuff and I should get paid, even a token, for my work. I get you are run by volunteers, but you can remedy that by charging for submissions (say $3). It’s been widely discussed in writer’s circles that you shouldn’t have to pay to submit your work but how are the mags stay open? I get both sides of the argument, but you know, charging people to submit, or selling anthologies, can also turn around and offer a token payment.
It's hard out here in the writer world.
The other question you may have, and one I also think about, is what do I want from all this work? My pal Katie, who indie pubs romance, said I really need to think about what it the end game for my work. Do I want to publish indie or traditional? Do I just want my work seen? Do I want to get paid? Etc etc.
Honestly, I have no idea. Right now, I’m in the mindset I want people to read and love my work. I’ve already indie published two chapbooks (one that has been professionally edited is linked below).
My digital binder is also overwhelming. I keep shifting pieces around in folders as work is done, submitted, in progress, needs to be edited, and accepted.
I like having it all in one binder because I can search across files and find what I’m looking for. (My books in process have their own binders.) I can also track what was submitted where, date, and resolution. I look at the piece again. Scrutinize it. What can I fix? Do I want to keep submitting it? What do I want this piece to accomplish?
It’s a lot of questions.
I haven’t been to the writer’s group in a few weeks. Last night we got our nails did, the week before I was booked for something else, and the week before that the coffee shop was closed for reno. That night I went down to our condo’s building library and wrote for a solid hour. Writing in the condo is often hard because there is always something in the background. Music is okay but TV tends to draw my concentration. There is no reason for me to not go to the condo library, but I don’t.
My therapy appointment has changed from weekly on Fridays at 8 a.m. to every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. Which means I will be heading to the writer’s group every other week. There is a writer’s critique group on Mondays but it’s all the way out in BFE and I would be fighting with traffic getting there. The appeal of the Tuesday night group is it is within walking distance.
I can always check with my therapist to see if we can swap nights. He has started a new job and is working with select few of his clients on a freelance basis so that may not be an option.
In the header I mentioned that I picked up a new domain: lisarabeywritesstuff.com. Yes, if you know me, you know I collect domains like people collect role playing miniatures. I already own lisarabey.com (as well as rabey.net and rabey.org and if you’re paying attention, all three domains resolve to the same place), so what gives?
MY EXCUSE! I’ve been taking classes via Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. (Again, cheaper than getting an MFA.) Last Saturday I spent four hours in webinars covering a range of topics. One of them happened to be social media.
I’ve been online since the dawn of time and I’ve been an early adopter of most tech. For example, I’ve been on Twitter since 2007. Crazy! But I’m also not an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. I’ll take any help that is being offered.
I didn’t really learn anything super new but one thing that we talked about was how readers can find you. One trick was to add “books” or “writer” to your domain name like lisarabeybooks.com or lisarabeywriter.com. This made sense because if someone searched for me and my writing, and if my own searches were any indication I too tack on “books” or “writer” to writer’s names, others do this to. I hustled over to ye old domains.google.com and snagged two domain names. I wasn’t really feeling the first one but the second one I really liked. Tada! lisarabeywritesstuff.com.
You may be asking yourself, “You already own lisarabey.com. What gives?” Fair enough question! I still have a day job and unless a publishing house offers me a six figure advance against one of my books, chances of me making zillions is near nil. One can have hope, of course, but one must also be realistic.
The nice thing about lisarabeywritesstuff.com is that it’s not a blog. Its only purpose is to showcase my work. My day job site is the same thing in that doesn’t get updated at all unless I get a new job (which I hope not to in the foreseeable future). My old diary site, exitpursuedbyabear.net, also doesn’t get updated since it’s an archive. (Well, the clips page does since that is where I track all my writing and just not fiction.) The only thing that should be regularly updated is my Jane Austen and Bronte sisters site which I’ve been super lax on. (Bully to me.)
So, there you have it. How my brain works.
(Note: Speaking of writing, between this newsletter and my other one, I crank out between 3500 - 4000 words between the two of them every week plus my other writing. What can I say? I’m a wordy bitch.)
· Yay! My poem, folded, will be published in tiny wren lit in April!
When I was on the video date with Steph the other night, received an email my work was accepted to a lit mag. I was pretty pumped but suspicious. I researched the lit mag and found it has a 95% acceptance rate. I wish I would have done this research before I submitted.
One argument made is an acceptance is an acceptance. True but I want my work to mean something to the editors who accept it. I don’t want to be a copy and paste job (like Friday Flash Fiction piece where the editor literally states they copy from the submission and paste it into the post and then publish). I kept the Friday Flash Fiction piece on my resume because I didn’t realise what the lit mag was really about until after the piece was published.
With this lit mag, I was told when it was going to be published so I emailed them to withdraw it from consideration.
A zillion and a half years ago (1996), fueled on Diet Coke, cigarettes, no sleep, as well as being unmedicated (I was just diagnosed that I was bipolar), I wrote a 35 or so, pencil to paper, prose poem about men and love and that bullshit. A year later, I wrote a sequel.
I made both pieces digital roughly sometimes after that and they’ve lived on my website for years. In 2017, I combined both pieces into a chapbook, and sent it off to get professionally edited, and put it up on amazon. It sold a few copies. I never promoted it, so it’s been sitting there just hanging out all this time.
The print copy is 70 pages long so a quick read. If you’re interested, it’s on Kindle Unlimited for free or you can do me a solid and buy the Kindle copy for $2.99. (I’ll make 50¢ so no worries if you don’t.) I’d also appreciate a review if you want to continue to do me a solid.
(I decided to start promoting my work (and submitting all over the place). A trad published chapbook may be in my future!)
Introducing: commercial breaks.
From Coffee Maker (working title):
Once when I was very young, I went to an arcade with my boyfriend. We played video games, skee ball, whack-a-mole, and attempted to grab something from the claw machine.
We always failed at the claw machine. It was cursed we said as we consoled ourselves each time the toy fell back onto the pile.
We took our winning tickets from our video games, our skee ball, our whack-a-mole and returned them to the bored teenager who worked behind the counter. He showed us the array of prizes. I picked a coffee maker. It was cheap and only made two cups but that seemed like plenty.
It was a writers conference that got me to realize that I’m a flash fiction writer. I can’t do longer pieces the middle just doesn’t work. I got into writing really short pieces in creative writing classes we had to do 55 word stories.