The Rule of Thirteen

(Wow! Two updates in as many days?!? I know, it’s crazy!)

Many years ago when I was investigating just what it took to be a professional writer, I ran across an article in some newsletter or another that said that so long as your writing is solid – not even stellar or earth-shattering, just solid – AND you kept at least thirteen pieces out for submission at any given time, you’d start getting hits and selling stuff.

Maybe it’s an arbitrary number, or maybe there’s something to it, but I wouldn’t know personally. I’ve only been able to write just quickly enough to not go crazy, and when a story doesn’t completely blow goats for quarters, I send it out to a market as soon as it’s edited and has been approved by at least one other person.

Right now, I have four pieces out. “Middle of Nowhere” is being shopped to agents (dark science fiction). “Cave Dwellers”, “Last House in the Cul de Sac”, and “Better Days” are out to Flesh and Blood, Pedestal, and Weird Tales, respectively. That means I need to get nine more stories written and sent out before I can reasonably expect to see any sort of return (if we’re going to go by the Rule).

With “Better Days”, I started breaking more of my personal conventions. I’d avoided any sort of graphic horror, more content to stay on the fringe of “dark” with implied terror instead of actual gore, but, hey, some people like the splatters. At this exact moment, I’m working on a story that came to

I’m going to try to pop out… oh, let’s say four stories a week of varying lengths. They’re not all going to be horror – or, at least, I hope not – especially since that genre market seems a little glutted right now. Science fiction and fantasy are next up, but, ironically, I’ve had the best luck with non-fiction pieces. The thing is that I often get side-tracked or lost focus with those, so there are dozens more non-fiction WIPs than fiction.

What do you like to read?

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