Yesterday I shipped my 200th submission.
It took from 9 June 2002 to 6 May 2006 (1427 days) for the first hundred, but just over half as many (725 days) for the second. Yes, I think I'm improving and beginning to get some results. And yes, halfway through that first hundred submissions I invested in going to Clarion in 2004, which absolutely made a profound difference in my writing, in what I know about how the writing business works and introduced me to a number of wonderful new and established writers.
Ray Bradbury says to be a successful writer you have to write a million words -- and throw them away. Well, I have over a million and a half words just in one unfinished project, so I've got that. And I know of successful writers who took 600 or more rejections before they really made it -- or stacked rejections X number of feet high -- and I hope I don't need quite that many. (grin)
My 100th submission was to Fantasy & Science Fiction, which was fitting because Gordon Van Gelder was our guest editor at Clarion. And now my 200th submission is to the 3rd Quarter XXV-th Writers of the Future Contest, which is also fitting considering how long I've been sending to them and that some of my successes have come from them. And I'm still eligible to try to win a prize from them. (double-jeopardy-grin)
I know what some of you are saying. It was just the end of April, not the end of June. Why send early? Well, there wasn't a lot of point in waiting. I had a story ready and in less than two weeks the postal rates will go up, so it'd just cost me more money to wait until the last minute. And yes, I did put a FOREVER stamp on the SASE return envelope, so it won't cost WOTF any extra to send me my results, yay or nay.
Of course it's May 1st and time marches onward. Strange Horizons has closed to submissions, but I still have one in process there, so they're out of the running until July 1st. But one market closes temporarily and another is bound to open back up. Jim Baen's Universe was scheduled to reopen on May 1st, but their submissions page still said:
Jim Baen's Universe is closed for submissions until an unspecified future date but not before March 2008.
Web submissions can be made through our currently off line submissions form.
But I'll tell you something funny about the old World-Wide Web: (1) We are so used to things happening at Internet speed that we tend to forget that (2) a lot of Really Useful webpages don't get updated instantaneously. So, since I had good information that JBU should be reopened today, I went straight to the supposedly offline submissions form, which cheerfully told me:
Note: Story submissions are currently open.
So, not only do I have submission number 201 in the field, I also have 12 stories out at market right now, tying my all-time record.
A milestone, indeed.