Stephanie Burgis
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Say... sale!
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Woohoo! What a good way to start the back-to-work week. (And I'd been dreading it, too...) I checked my email (pathetic, I know) ten minutes before we were due to leave for town this morning, and found an acceptance waiting for me: my story "Little Tailor" has sold to Say... magazine! This just makes me amazingly happy. "Little Tailor" was the first story I wrote that I really, really liked. I wrote it during Clarion, just after a very dear relative had died. The story was dedicated to him, and it was very much inspired by family history. It meant a lot to me then, means a lot to me now, and I'm just so thrilled that it's going to see print in such a fine 'zine. It should be coming out around Christmas or New Year's--what a great holiday gift! (For me, I mean. I'm not quite blatant enough to tell other people to buy it...well, unless they want to, of course. ;) )

This is my fourth sale since August, and I'm so blissed-out about it, I feel completely off-balance. Back at Clarion, Ellen Datlow warned us all not to fall into the most common post-Clarion trap--to get so frustrated by not selling immediately that we gave up. That sounds like common sense, but it can be hard to follow. I spent two-and-a-half years after Clarion sending out stories continually without getting acceptances on anything--and even after I did sell that first story to Flytrap, it was another ten months before I sold another story ("Some Girlfriends Can"). That kind of record can feel just soul-deadening. It chips away a little bit of your confidence every single day. I would never give up writing--ever--but, over and over again, I had to fight to keep on submitting my stories for publication instead of just shame-facedly hiding them in deep drawers and eating myself up with jealousy of "real", published authors. Now, some of the stories I've sold most recently have been old stories that I'd nearly given up on, despite my love for them--but they've finally found their proper homes.

It might be another ten months before I make another sale. You can't count on anything in publishing. But I'm feeling so lucky right now, and so blessed. It was worth the long years without sales. It's always worth persisting. And if I have to go for another long haul before I make another sale, I'll fight the same demons all over again, but I'll keep on trying.

And right now, I'm feeling really happy.

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