Believe it or not, in addition to writing I also have a full-time job. I know? Bizarre eh? My role involves a hell of a lot of travel on the road, so I have taken to listening to audiobooks and podcasts to get the daily required dose of fiction to inspire and to keep my own shitty writing relevant. Moreover, It’s pretty hard to read hardback Stephen King whilst doing 80mph.
Some of the pro and semi-pro markets have their very own podcasts these days, and honestly it is a fairly useful tool to get an idea of what type of story they have in mind before submitting to them.
There is one specific publication (which will remain nameless), that famously gets back to reject you in record time. I swear to God that I am telling the honest truth when I say that I was once rejected ten minutes after submitting a piece of fiction to them. That takes pain and degradation to a whole new level. How did they even read it in ten minutes?
Anyway, I digress- they also have their very own podcast and a couple of times a month they’ll get a top notch voice actor to read their latest wares and then whack it up on iTunes. By the time I discovered this I had probably had around ten stories rejected by them (top tip: keep a spreadsheet of your submissions.) I thought to myself, “Maybe if I listen to a handful of their stories I’ll unlock the secret behind their 0.001% acceptance ratio?”
I was taking a shower, with my smartphone sat in the dry safety of a disused soap dish, listening to the third or fourth episode of this podcast when the realisation dawned on me (or it might have just been shampoo in my eye.) These guys like pretentious bollocks! The horror that isn’t really horror; safe mainstream stuff that mummy and daddy would just love to sit and listen to by the fire whilst thumbing through an issue of the Financial Times. A metaphor within a simile within a metaphor.
I’m sorry, but that just isn’t horror to me. It is well written and in some cases quite entertaining, it might be too clever for its own good, but it isn’t horror. Not in my humble opinion.
Horror is all about empathy. Identifying with their fears and concerns at a human level that haunts you for just a little while after you’ve finished. It is really hard to empathise when you barely understand what the writer is trying to convey because they’re using the story as a vehicle to show how tremendously smart they are.
I haven’t submitted to that particular outlet since. It feels like I’m letting myself down trying to write in that way. Like I’m not being truthful to myself. That’s why I feel so at home amongst the awesome authors at DT- no pretentiousness just good old fashioned horror, and long may it stay that way.
Deadman’s Tome is home to Book of Horrors, a horror anthology loaded with terrifying horror short stories that’ll chill you to the bone!
Rejection is a bad thing, right?
There’s nothing worse as a writer of fiction than being told that your work just isn’t up to scratch. The whole painful chore of the submission process; writing that boring e-mail, adding your bio, double checking your final draft before submitting and then waiting a ridiculous length of time to receive a soul-less form of rejection.
A couple of months back I wrote a short story with a specific publication in mind. I had been on Submission Grinder (an excellent source for searching markets- not a BDSM site) and seen that they had a quite generous acceptance ratio, that they liked stories that involved cryptids and such and that they paid a token payment as well as sending the author a free copy. I made the terrible mistake of being overconfident that this story would be a shoe-in.
How painful it was when I got the letter of rejection two weeks later. I then did what every writer should do when confronted with this; Drink heavily then go back to the drawing board and search for other markets that might take the story. Although I had written it with a specific magazine in mind, I did actually have a lot of faith in the words that I had committed to paper. I started off with the pro markets and worked my way down. The story was completely unsuitable for DMT, being somewhere between dark fairy tale and cautionary tale so I didn’t think of troubling Mr. Deadman with it.
Eventually, at the sixth time of asking I got an acceptance from a semi-pro market that paid me five times more than I would have gotten from my intended publication. I was happy that I had been paid, but most of all I was stoked that I got my ego stroked because, let’s face it, that’s what we’re all about in the writing world, getting your stuff out there and having people tell you that it’s really good.
The moral of the story kids is turn rejection into something positive. editors are real people too (believe it or not) and they also come with flawed opinions or have a specific theme or ideal to adhere to when putting all your stories together in one place. It can help to have a balls-of-steel attitude when putting yourself out there. Just tick them off the list and move on to the next one. You might be surprised where your fiction ends up.
Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.