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Sale – “Last Resort”

June 7, 2013

Yesterday I made my biggest sale yet, and my second official pro-level sale, to Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

This sale came as an unexpected surprise for a number of reasons, the first one being that I sold a story to Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.   As in, the guy who wrote one of my favorite science fiction books ever — and rejected me from his boot camp workshop, which didn’t really bother me as much as it would have a few years prior.  Also, I later sold the story I used to apply there to another pro magazine, but that’s beside the point — that situation is something of an industry standard occurrence.

What isn’t an industry standard occurrence?  Getting a form rejection, then two months later, having the head editor tell me he wants to publish it.  Which is exactly what happened with this story.

This is where I add the obligatory “kids, don’t try this at home” line, because this was for all intents and purposes a freak accident.   Think of that Star Trek:TNG episode where Riker was cloned during a transporter accident.  One copy was marooned and lived eight years in solitude (then later became a Maquis rebel, but that doesn’t often happen with my rejected stories, honest), while the other developed a promising career on the Enterprise.  My story was evidently sent back to me _and_ sent to the editor-in-chief’s desk at the same time.

This is one of those rare times where “resubmit immediately after rejection” would have been a bad idea.  My fluctuating confidence sometimes has me submitting all over the map with no particular order.  One of my stories once ended up in the hands of a very scary editor who is much hated and feared by the community, and it was only though his trademark fickleness — telling me he couldn’t publish my story when he’d previously told me he wanted it — that I narrowly escaped career Hell and avoided appearing in one of his issues.

But I digress.   I don’t like to be the kind of writer who says “Well _I_ happened to get lucky, but don’t get _your_ hopes up of doing X”.   I’ve seen that on at least half of the so-you-want-to-be-a-writer blogs I come across, and the smugness annoys the pissicles out of me.  So… … …  if you ever think something like this acceptance-post-rejection might happen to you, however unlikely, don’t let your story collect dust.   The only thing I can safely advise is to resubmit your story after the rejection to an equal or better market (though IMO, there are only 3 or 4 markets in the industry with more prestige than IGMS).   I don’t know how I would have felt if I _had_ resubmitted this story elsewhere during the interim to a low paying unknown market, and they had bought the story before Mr. Schubert had gotten back to me.   Most appropriate adjectives involve four letter words.

Back to the wooting.   It’d be funny if my Analog submission sold, too. But as much faith as I have in the quality of my submission there, the odds of Analog buying from me feels about as likely as a comet landing in my backyard.

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