Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kicking In The Window

There's something to be said for starting out small.  Sometimes it's the only way.  Usually it's the only way, especially when it comes to getting published.  And for those of you who know me well, you know my motto:  "When you can't enter through the front door, kick in a window."

I've certainly kicked in my fair share.

A few years ago, after wallpapering my office wall with rejection letters from agents and editors, I decided to submit a few short stories to magazines and online publications.  I was so glad I did.  That experience was like a shot in the arm for me personally and professionally.

It was nice to hear, "Wow! I loved your story.  Got any more?"  Lest you think it was all wine and roses, I certainly heard plenty more of  "Thanks, but no thanks" but it kept me going.

While magazines and online publications pay very little, if at all, it was still a good way to make new contacts, get new perspectives on my writing and, yes, even get published every once in a while.  It was also a welcome addition to my agent query letter when I could close with  "I've had short stories published in X and Y."  Now, of course that doesn't mean a hill of beans unless the query knocked the socks off an agent but perhaps it gave one or two of them pause to request a partial or a full of my manuscript. 

What about you? What have you done to kick in a window?  Anything unusual or not so unusual that you can recommend?


Laura Valeri said...

I've heard of people writing to agents by lying, saying "I met you at so and so's party" and getting a top priority on the slush pile. I'm getting ready to kick in a window pretty soon, though I'm not sure which window.

Susanna Ives said...


You mean some crazy agent or editor actually rejected you. Some people just can't recognize brilliance :).

I haven't really knocked on many doors...though one I did, beat me up and took my lunch money :). But things are about to change. I'm casing the neighborhood.

Laura. You totally rock. You're a literary goddess. If you're gonna kick in a window, get that tall, arched one in the back overlooking the golf course.

Tina said...

I once stalked an editor. Took him away from his nice coffee to pitch my book. He asked for the manuscript, but ended up rejecting it. At least he didn't take my lunch money.

We should get a posse together, some bad ass literary girl gang. With tats and signs and colors.

Susanna Ives said...

Mojito Literary Society AKA Mutual Admiration Society AKA Bad ass Literary Girl Gang. Don't mess with those bitches.

Katydidittoo said...

Tats and signs and colors. I like that. It would surely put me in the mood to kick in a window, or a door.

Bobbye Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobbye Terry said...

Then there's the story of the writer who who shoved her manuscript under the bathroom stall door at an editor... That's true-it happened at an RWA conference. Though I no longer remember which editor, I'm sure some do. I want to say it was Hilary Sares. It happened to one I attended.

I have pubbed a lot in magazines but all in non-fiction. Some have paid pretty well. I got $300 for one feature. Early in my career, I even called up the editors. You know what? Not one was rude and most asked for a partial. BUT that was early in my career when my writing was, uh well, not as good as it is now. Wish I still had those guts.

Laura Valeri said...

When I got a story published in Glimmer Train an agent contacted me. It didn't result in a contract because I had nothing to give him, but it was flattering to know I got his attention. It's definitely worth publishing those short pieces.

Liz Fichera said...

Laura, I've heard stories like that too. My problem is lying. I totally suck at it. I hope you get to kick in the biggest window possible! Happy Kicking! It feels good. too.

Susanna, I think I could wallpaper most of the rooms in my house with rejection letters. I may even design Rejecton Wallpaper. Kind of retro, yes?! In a Salvador Dali sort of way.

Tina and Katy, a tat for every rejection? I'd have to join the circus. ;-)

Bobbye, You have to give that author credit for trying. I don't think I have the cajones to do that. But, then again, never say never, right?