It's been quite a while since I posted, months in fact, and that's a barometer of how far down things have been. After a really good start to the year, and a good start to the new half-year as well, at least in terms of earnings from prior placements, the wheels seemed to fall off a few months ago.
I noticed the market went very flat in September 2018, for six or more months I was placing in dribs and drabs and I wondered if the global publishing situation was reacting to wider forces. Things improved in 2019, but have gone very flat once again this year. One might readily suggest the pandemic is behind it, but the indications are that people are turning to reading in greater numbers than before as a direct result of isolation strategies... Maybe publishers are being more cautious, or people are reading more for free online, but magazines are both going under and opening on a constant basis.
I recently had my first ever “kill fee” situation—when a story has placed with a market but the market goes under before they can get the edition out. This is a great shame as the market paid very nicely indeed, and will honour their contributors with a 10% gratuity. It's better than nothing, but I'd much sooner have had a healthy market, where publishers, writers and readers all win.
I have just emerged from my second-longest ever dry spell, 59 rejections in 51 days, and this was after two longish periods between drinks immediately previous. Three placements in 110 days is not a lot for a short story writer, and only one of them was with a pro market (which paid nicely, to be sure). In the same period I had 98 rejections, and that does get real old, yet overall, all submission against all acceptances, my figures are still pretty good.
What brought me out of the drought was a story placed with an online pro market being selected to feature in their yearly anthology—not actually a new placement, but a welcome second outing for an existing success.
The industry feels rather precarious at the moment, yet there is plenty of activity, new markets opening up, others forging ahead with new plans and ongoing successes. So I guess one can only stay on the horse, believe in one's own skill and integrity, and do the very best one can.
Normal service will resume shortly—I hope!
Cheers, Mike Adamson