A six-month sabbatical should have six months in it, but I didn't actually know that July was the first month until very late -- Tuesday 26 July 2011 to be exact. And no sooner had I officially started my self-imposed sabbatical, then I had to spend a lot of time in a chair with my left leg propped up. Great. Today, in fact, is the first time I've been in my office since the 26th.
Now from the title of this post, I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking that I think that writing and submitting is a competitive action. Editors are going to buy what editors are going to buy. They may be buying from people they know, they may be buying stories that resonate with what they want for their publication and this particular issue. Rejection is just part of the game. I recently had a novella rejected in part because the market already had a couple of novellas bought and didn't need another one. Had I submitted at a different time, who knows? So I'm not really competing against "you".
But I have been productive.
Knowing that I'd be doing a lot of sitting, and not planning to spend 7-10 days just watching TV, I updated my flash drives from my main Sony at home, then brought out SUMMER, the tiny Fujitsu U810 UMPC (Ultra Miniature PC), USB numeric keypad and Microsoft LED travel mouse.
SUMMER (Fujitsu U810) versus WINTER (Fujitsu 1510D) -- same specs, different size
Once I'd downloaded a couple hundred meg and got connected to the wireless HP Deskjet 6980, I was in business. Mostly.
See, as a Very Large Person, I don't have a lap, so I can't sit with a laptop balanced on said nonexistent lap. I could put a laptop on the "arm table" next to me, but not with my leg propped up. So, it's hold the U810 in my left hand and type with one finger on the small keyboard. Needless to say, I was not writing much in the way of new stories, but with a mouse and an arrow keypad, I could do cover letters, editing, etc.
You Can't Sell Stories Unless You Submit
From Friday July 29th to today Tuesday August 9th, I shipped 18 stories to 18 markets -- submissions #360 to #377. Two markets had fast turnarounds and have already rejected, plus the five I had out prior to the binge, means that I have 21 stories out in the wild right now.
That should be a record. I think once I had 19 stories out at once.
In addition, the two recently rejected markets have 7 day delays before next submissions built in, which will soon be expiring. I've got one window closing on the 15th if I can get a new story written in time -- and I should be able to start devoting some real Time In Chair on that project Real Soon Now -- another closing on the 31st, and a couple of markets opening up on the 1st. So I'm not done yet.
To put this in perspective, I have 71 stories in my Invenstory which have shipped a total of 377 times now. 15 have been published, with 1 reprint. 21 of 56 stories means that 37.5% of my Invenstory is out to market right now. And of the 25 remaining stories, well, 3 are tied up with an outfit that may or may not ever get around to publishing them -- see The Lost Stories -- and some of the rest either are awaiting a rewrite or aren't worth rewriting.
So I'm pretty happy with all the productivity. And as markets reject (or buy) and reopen, the stories will churn through all the places they need to go.
But having some time to sit down and plot this out, reject all the market submission guidelines and get the stories in order, this has been golden. It would've been done eventually, but this has sped up the process immensely. Go me.
Oh, and for the record. Of the 18 submissions I've just made, exactly two of them have been mailed. All the rest have been e-subs.