Publish or Perish

Publishing stories is a multi-step process.  While I’m sure many people have different versions of this process, I break it down into three steps: (1) write the story, (2) finish the story, and (3) submit the story. 

If a breakdown occurs in any of the steps, a story never gets published.  If I don’t publish, then I will never make it as a professional writer, which is my long-term goal.  In the sciences (my day job), this is referred to as “publishing or perishing.”  For professional writers, “publish or perish” is tattooed on the forehead.

When I developed my writing goals for this year, I took each of these three steps into account.  I set a daily word target to give me a goal for writing stories.  I set a target number of finished, submittable stories.  Finally, I set a target number of submissions and/or sales.

I set a modest target of forty submission for this calendar year.  That’s less than a submission a week, or if I meet my story-writing goals of ten finished stories, an average of four submissions per story.  Of course, the number of submissions is directly related to the number of stories in circulation.  Selling a story quickly reduces the number of possible submissions, so I also set a goal for sales—sales are my end target, after all.  I chose what I thought was a fairly ambitious target of four story sales.

Since January 1, I’ve made thirty-two submission and three story sales.  My three sales have been to good pro markets that I doubted I would break into, so in some ways, I feel like I have already exceeded this goal.  But I won’t let myself get complacent—I want to shatter this goal and set a high bar for next year.

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About D. Thomas Minton

Writer of speculative fiction
This entry was posted in Goals, Science Fiction, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Publish or Perish

  1. Patricia says:

    Good luck. I admire your self-discipline.

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