Calling all submissions

I have been submiting a lot lately; pieces for publication in literary magazines, climbing websites, sample blogs for freelance work and even after a big deep breath the first three chapters of my book to a publishers.

I have totted up the my total submissions and my success rate is not looking good. But the Norwegian pointed out to me, quite rightly, that when I was a fundraiser I knew that I had to submit between 8 and 10 applications to get one success. So why should I expect any less with my writing. I submit and I wait. It is this waiting, this franticing checking of emails that is killing me, the occassional yes’s I’ve had are far outweighed by the great yawning nothing, far worse than the odd considerate, ‘Thanks, but no, it is not quite right for us’ reply.

It is interesting to note that submit means, ‘to allow yield to the authority or will of another,’ as well as to put forward an opinion, piece of writing or application. Submitting doesn’t suit me. I am assertive, not submissive. I don’t want to ‘submit’ my work, walking backward out of the room, averting my eyes.

Perhaps I need to turn around the way I look at these things. Count the number of times I tap someone on the shoulder and say, ‘Oi, what about this for your magazine or what about that for your website?’ as a measure of success, or at least the hard work I’m putting in, rather than being bowed under the weight of the empty inbox.

Or perhaps should I call my submissions something else?

‘Dear Ms Whiskers, Editor of Cats Monthly magazine. Here is my assertion… No that’s not right. Unbearabilty pretencious.

What about, here is my presentation ‘Ginger cats make better pets’ But no again, that makes it sound like something in powerpoint littered with clip art and pie charts.

Would anyone like to submit any other suggestions?


  1. It’s your work you are submitting to others, not yourself! And if you want them to publish it, you have to yield to their authority regarding it. The 3 ‘Ps’ come to mind – person, position, power! Never forget, though, that it is all opinions. Wether you become the greatest published writer of all time or the exact opposite, it will all only be down to the opinions of the people who had your work in front of them at that given moment. Some of the best pieces of writing have possibly never been published because the writer didn’t ‘submit’ it – for fear of rejection, or any other number of reasons.The chief script writer on Emmerdale told a workshop I was at, in relation to our work, his included, that we are all effectively door to door brush salesman. In other words, listen to the Norwegian: he makes sense!

  2. Wise words indeed.Or as V. Woolf said ‘Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.’

  3. Well, she’s a lot more eloquent than me, that V.Woolf. Although I wonder, in today’s more ‘enlightened’ (!?) times, if she wouldn’t now write ‘people’ instead of ‘men’?!?

  4. She probably would but in those days the word ‘men’ refered to all humans. Heck, she published ‘To The Lighthouse’ in 1927, a year before women were granted the right to vote on the same terms as men.It was a whole nuther world…

  5. Hey, that story about the see-saw is great. One of my fictional stories for the Packet insert last year (Falmouth in 50 years if global warming is worst case) was about harnessing all the energy that comes from machines in gyms (rowers, treadmills, bikes, etc) to power the gyms … the first idea was to force all obese people to use the machines, thus killing two birds with one stone! I didn’t know you knew so much about Virginia Woolf! Many lifes ago when I was an undergraduate, I once had a lecture from a ‘women’s equality & rights’ officer. This was the mid-80s. It was relevant and interesting, but she went on with relentless determination and exhausting passion for her cause. Endless examples and warnings of the sloppiness of society, etc, etc I thought it would never end. Eventually it did and we all tripped out to lunch. She was in the queue in front of me and when she was handed the plate of food she had ordered, she exclaimed, “Oh no, I can’t eat all that; it’s such a man sized portion.” If I hadn’t been so worn out by her equality diatribe I would have burst out laughing. As it was it was all I could do not to faint in disbelief.Just thought I’d share that with you!

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