Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Only One Submission This Week

Although we only received one submission this week--or maybe because of that--we’re holding three of our March submissions. Four of the other submissions were returned to their authors with explanations, comments, suggestions, and/or thorough critiques.

The new submission came from South Montrose, PA, but without bio or information about how the author learned about us. An article about us appeared in the latest Penn Writers newsletter, so my guess is that this author learned of our existence from that article. However, I’ve also done quite a few readings in PA, so one of those may have triggered the submission.

In any case, I’m pretty sure that we’ll have enough decent pieces to make The Trial Issue a worthwhile chapbook. The only question is: should I continue publishing A Flasher’s Dozen? Once I start paying the authors*, the number of submissions may increase dramatically. However, if I only accept submissions from subscribers, will submissions be underwhelming?

Well, the debate rages in my mind, but I don’t have to decide until May, so, to paraphrase Scarlet O’Hara, I’ll worry about that next month!

*I’ve been thinking I might pay $10 or $20 per piece, so I’ll probably compromise at $15. That would mean I’d have to sink about $200 into each issue before I even buy the paper or the stamps and envelopes. If a single copy costs $7.50, I’d need at least 26 single-copy subscribers just to pay my authors. On a yearly basis, however, I’d need 40 annual subscriptions (@ $20/year) to cover my author fees. Is that a reasonable expectation? I’ll be giving away over a dozen annual subscriptions to all the authors in The Trial Issue, so that will undercut my potential subscriber base before I’d even start looking. Yikes, editing and publishing is no picnic, is it?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Our Ninth and Tenth Acceptances

This week we accepted two submissions:

1. “Rewarding Appreciation” by Sharon Poppen, our fifth acceptance from members of the FlashXer list (To join, send a blank email message to FlashXer-Subscribe@yahoogroups.com Administrator: Irv Pliskin)

2. “Shed Skin and Ashes” by Julie Ann Cook, our third acceptance from members of Pathetic.org, a community of 1000 poets and poetry enthusiasts.

We’ve also accepted two pieces from members of the Flashshot list, bringing our total acceptances to ten.

Originally I’d planned to include thirteen to fifteen pieces in each Flasher’s Dozen. But then I thought that, because Flash is shorter than “normal” short stories, maybe A Flasher’s Dozen should only contain eleven pieces. An unexpected factor may force me to move in that shorter direction: so many of the submissions have been in the 900-word range that the final book may be too thick for the stapled, chapbook format I’d originally intended. Apparently an editor must also be a tightrope walker!

This week, we received 5 more submissions -- from Cherry Hill (NJ), Lumberton (NJ), Whittier (CA), Port Moody (BC, Canada), and Marietta (GA), and we released two submissions back to their authors. I felt particularly bad about one of the rejections because the author was quite young, and I hated to discourage her when the problem was not with her writing but with the form of the story. In my rejection letter, I tried to explain the situation, and she was kind enough to write back and thank me. I hope that I'll decide to continue publishing A Flasher's Dozen after The Trial Issue because I expect her to become an excellent writer, and I want to publish her work.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

One More Acceptance, One More Submission

We accepted “The Bunny and the Hare” from Bruce Niedt (a "beneficent bureaucrat" from South Jersey), and we received one submission from the Main Line (west of Philadelphia, PA).

Otherwise, it’s been a slow week for A Flasher’s Dozen. I took the opportunity to mock up the accepted submissions. The first eight stories currently fill twenty pages; reformatting may be necessary.

So far I’ve promoted A Flasher’s Dozen through two on-line writing groups and have accepted pieces from both groups, but none of these members has yet published a “hooray.” This is disappointing because I expected “hoorays” to generate more submissions. I’ve also had a piece about The Trial Issue published in the quarterly newsletter of Penn Writers, a state-wide writing group in Pennsylvania, and I’ve distributed flyers to three other groups in Pennsylvania as well as two writing groups in New Jersey. This Wednesday I’ll distribute flyers to a third writing group in New Jersey. Nevertheless, most of the submissions and almost half of the acceptances have come from writers outside the United States. Perhaps the problem is that the local groups are composed of writers whose main interest is either poetry or novel-writing whereas Flash Fiction is an art practiced outside the US.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

4 More Submissions, 4 More Acceptances, 4 More Weeks.

During the past week, we've received stories from New York State, British Columbia, and Ontario as well as from someone who included neither a biography nor an address.

Meanwhile, we've accepted four submissions:

E. N. Taylor (Western Australia) thought our editorial suggestions "made a lot of sense" and edited accordingly, so we accepted "The Spear of the Gods."

Karen Martinson (Chicago) changed her title to "Conviction," and we accepted it.

Darren Swift (Wales) "tidied up" his submission, "When More Than Innocence is Lost," and we accepted it.

Will Naylor (Nova Scotia) thought our suggestions were "very reasonable," so we accepted "My Trial Date."

... and that brings our total acceptances to seven with only four weeks remaining until our deadline.

Next step: mock up each accepted submission and send it to the author for final approval. On the back of the mock-up, I plan to include a simple contract:

"My signature below indicates that I have reviewed the printed text of my submission as it will appear in _A Flasher's Dozen_, that I have indicated in ink any changes that should be made before publication, and that I approve the text, as amended, for publication. My signature further guarantees that I am the author of this submission and that I have the right to allow its publication. By my signature, I grant _A Flasher's Dozen_ first serial rights to my submission in exchange for two copies of 'The Trial Issue' with the understanding that all rights to my submission revert to me after publication. If I publish this submission elsewhere, I will cite _A Flasher's Dozen_ as the original publisher."