There May Have Been Squeeing

A week and a half ago, I sent out a story. Daily Science Fiction rejects work very quickly, so I figured I’d know in a day or two, no longer, that they didn’t want it. I was already figuring out what I would do with it next. The piece was a departure from what I usually write, and I actually envisioned it as a sketch for a spoken word group to perform as a staged reading.

After a couple of days, I began to get my hopes up. I would imagine the story appearing in Daily SF. At first I tried to stop myself from these images, but after a day I said to myself, “I’m just going to let myself have the fantasy.”

After more than a week I hadn’t heard and I wondered if my rejection was languishing in my spam filter, so I went and checked. No rejection.

A day after that I had an e-mail that said they wanted to use the story and would be sending me a contract and an edited copy at some point in the future. Um, Yay? Yay.

There might have been squeeing.

This qualifies as a pro sale, so I’m very happy.

And I can’t stop myself from trying to do some analysis.

If you can write very short stories, Daily Science Fiction is an attractive market, simply because they buy 260 stories a year. It’s on-line and they feature one a day for every weekday, 52 weeks a year. And yes, I did stop right there, go get my phone and run the numbers on the calculator, because I’m very bad at arithmetic. And it is 260/year. DSF likes original, not reprints, again widening the market a bit more.

260 per year is a much better number than the 144 or so most monthly magazines buy at most , even if you don’t factor in reprints many publications count on.

The downside for a writer like me is that low maximum word count. Daily Science Fiction wants stories under 1500 words. This is because they know their platform very well; in addition to featuring the story on the site, they e-mail it to people who have signed up. People want an e-mail story that’s short and snappy, not something they have to scroll and scroll and scroll through.

This story came in short because it is written in play-script format and I was imagining it as a performance piece no more than ten minutes long.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad Daily Science Fiction likes it. I’m validated that a pro market bought something of mine, and that I’m on the road to a membership in SFWA (although to qualify for SFWA you have to have sold the equivalent of 10,000 words at six cents/word, so I’m not so much “on the road” as “out of the driveway.”)

It’s a good way to wrap up 2015, though.

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