Friday, February 11, 2011

To Submit or Not to Submit? That is the question.

I am a writer because I write. It's a simple statement that took me years to work up the courage to say out loud concerning my fiction writing.

During my 15-year-career in newspapers/magazines I always referred to myself as a "journalist," or a "reporter," or an "editor" depending on my job or the person asking me the question. Never once did I respond that I was a writer. In my mind, that job description was reserved for those who got paid to write fiction, or at least had their fiction published.

After my first short story was published I felt I had earned the right to call myself a writer - a real writer. But, the fiction publishing world is a fickle friend at times and, well, she hasn't been too sweet on me for quite a while. Yes, I have written three romantic suspenses, a middle grade novel, a YA and more flash fiction than I care to admit. Very little has reached the hands of readers, other than my sister and some very close friends.

So, when I was asked (several times in one week) how I could be writing for so long and have so little published I got that nervous non-publishing twitch I get.

The question was: "Are you submitting regularly?"

It's a fair question, yet I didn't know how to respond. I am a writer - I WRITE. Do you count the dozens of queries to agents and small publishing houses over the years whose rejections could wallpaper my bathroom? But, I thought about it a little more. My submissions are spotty. I submit here and there after loads of research. I don't saturate any markets. And a few dozen down I toss the manuscript or story in a drawer and move on.

Mostly it's ok with me. I write because I have to. I have no other choice. It's who I am. But if I truly want to be a regularly PUBLISHED writer I need to regularly submit. Here's my promise. I will spend one day a week submitting my work to no less than five appropriate outlets.

I need to be committed to more than writing as a writer. I need to find some readers!