Yesterday I emailed
In short, not my best work. A concession to chemo. I am very frustrated and unhappy, but I recognize this is a cooperative effort, and neither of them would allow me to be truly unprofessional. So my feelings of unprofessionalism are essentially a coping issue.
Today at Fireside I have been trolling through my spreadsheet, finding balls chemobrain hasn’t dropped. That would include (ahem) two unrecorded sales and several more unrecorded/misrecorded rejections. Various queries were sent, some submissions made, and spreadsheet updated. All ship shape and Bristol fashion now, at least until the next round of silliness on my part. At this point, I have five stories out to market and none in idle inventory, which would be my lowest level of short fiction submission activity since the year 2000. Oi.
There are several reasons for it. A busy novel career and chemotherapy are two obvious ones, but there’s more going on here. I used to write virtually all my short fiction inventory on spec. My submission-to-sale ratio used to be above 5:1. These days the majority of short fiction inventory is written to invitation, and I hit those markets perhaps 80% of the time. So much less of what production I do have goes into spec inventory. Then my submission-to-sale ratio is down to about 3:1 now. So short fiction doesn’t remain in spec inventory so long, either.
Mind you, these are good problems to have. Very good ones. But when I come out of the cancer thicket, I think I’m going to lay down some short fiction smack for a while, to build inventory (or sales, really) back up. And yes, I’ve sold thirteen pieces (in nine acceptances, one sale was a quintet of linked stories) this year either solo or collaboratively with
Speaking of sales, in my frenzy of querying, a query and an acceptance crossed in the email, thanks to the good offices of my spam filter. Which resulted in some very amusing correspondence. However, I’m quite pleased to announce short story “The Speed of Time” has been accepted by tor.com.
It really has been a good day.