Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fill Your Submission Pipeline

Writing is a pipeline business. To get acceptances to come out the one end you have to push submissions into the top of the line. Push. And keep pushing. Don't think one little sub is going to be an oil gusher.

I think beginner writers - and many of us who can no longer be considered beginners - make a common mistake:  we put our little baby in the top of the pipeline then run around to the other end and look for it. Helloooo in there. Where are you little story? Did you get accepted yet?

Then, 3 months later, a little fart escapes out the pipe's end, a depressing, hissing noise that lets us know our story was declined. So we mourn that little story's passing for a few months until we get up the courage to put it (or another one we finally finished) into the top of the pipeline. And we run around to the end again to wait, call, beg, wonder, fume...

That's called Riding the Pipeline to Heck method of submitting stories. One at a time. Wait, worry, wilt. Repeat. Yikes!

Here's the reality. You want acceptances to come out the back end of the pipeline? You have to stuff the front end. Truth is, a number of stories will get lost in there. But if you keep the pipeline full of activity (writing more stories, submitting more stories), then inevitably you'll start getting a flow of acceptances.

Simple business model. Keep the pipeline full.


  1. Well said!

    Write, revise, get crit, polish, send. Repeat with the next story as soon as the first one is out (or before!). Log rejections and send elsewhere. Once it's published, put it to rest for 6 months to a year (depending on contract) and send it out as a reprint.

    The best way to get over the sting of rejections is to keep producing and keep submitting.

    Currently, I have two novels and six stories in the pipeline, three stories I'm thinking about posting for free (they've been published already), nine I need to submit (on the calendar for Thursday) and one to rewrite. I'm also writing one novel and have another in revisions. Since I started focusing on fiction, I average a novel a year and a couple of stories because of this method.

    Don't ride the pipeline!

  2. Thanks Karina. You've got great activity going! My plan is to write and submit a short story a week this year and it will be interesting to see how many stories will be in the pipeline at the same time. It'll be like having tons of plates spinning - can't wait for the fun!

  3. I think I've always been lucky when it comes to story submissions. As soon as a tale is sent off, I forget about it. Heck, there have been times when I've checked my submissions log an realized, "Oh, heck, THAT story has been out for more than a year. Time to get it off to somewhere else." Though that has its bad side, too, obviously.

  4. Good article. Definitely important to keep the pipeline flowing. I know I can't do one story a week, but I'm definitely shooting for 1 or 2 per month.

  5. Ty, lol - yeah, another bad side is you find out they published your story and never paid you! :)

    Stoney, I only went with weekly because I have all these story starts that I want to finish. I may run out of steam by the end of February! lol so it's flexible, but if I can remember that I have put it in the oven for it to bake, then I may keep it up!

  6. This is my plan, too. What's your score?

  7. I've kept up with writing one per week so far (but we're only into January! lol) but I've submitted 10x (subs and resubs after a couple declines already) - my 3 new pieces and a few 'trunk' stories just waiting for me to pull them out of the trunk. :) No acceptances yet, but with 10 stories out I figure something will break loose soon.

  8. That's excellent, Lyn. And you know 'trunk' stories often sell. I sold something on its 18th try recently.


Keep it clean and positive. (And sorry about the word verification, but the spmb*ts are out in full force!)