I bought a 2011 Writer’s Market in January. I learned there are publishers who consider articles, stories and poems posted online in a forum, blog or website to be previously published. I always read guidelines two times but after this discovery, and my temper tantrum, I decided to read the submission guidelines at least three times.
Writing is serious, like baseball. You can’t win a game without playing nine innings, except in Little League where the requirement is six. (Damn. There are exceptions to everything. And, damn, I can’t make it through a blog without using parenthesis.)
Submitting work is the ninth inning in writing. I might have outstanding, prize-winning poetry but I’ll lose the acceptance if my poem is twenty-one lines and guidelines state poems are restricted to twenty lines. If they say previously unpublished and I send the poems to two-hundred Facebook friends but submit them anyway, I’m cheating. Cheating is frowned upon in baseball and writing…if you're caught. I’m grateful steroids don’t improve writing skills.
Maybe I shouldn’t be?
Let’s talk stats. A good batting average is .270 and a great one is .330. These percentages are higher than the average writer. Despite my due diligence, I received a rejection letter today, which makes me oh for seven. My batting average is, ah, ah…hold on...I need a little algebra here. Seven is to seven and one is to…no, that’s not right. One is to seven as x is to one-thousand. Multiply across and you get 7x = 1000. Divide by 7 on both sides and x =142.86.
What? That’s a lousy average but I have a solution. I'll treat my ten outstanding submissions like futures commodities and figure them into my average. Would that be cheating? Yes. If a batter can’t calculate the average of his future at bats then neither can I. Only oil companies are allowed to do that.
Why do I worry about my writing stats? The important thing isn’t winning or losing, accepting and rejecting, it’s how I play the game, right? Wrong?
It depends on who you ask. I agree with Gene Autry. He said, "Grantland Rice, the great sportswriter once said, 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.' Well Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I'm concerned."
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
CASA of Southwest Missouri, Master Gardeners of the Ozarks, University of Missouri Master Gardeners, Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association...