Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cohen on the Importance of Perseverance

Over at his blog Monstrous Musings, Douglas Cohen talks about the difficulties he's experienced in trying to get his own work published. Excerpt:
So almost six years ago, after trying to break in for some years, I finally made my first fiction sale, this to Interzone Magazine. It was a great first sale, one that I'm very proud of. As you might expect, when I received word of the acceptance, I was elated. And there was a significant part of me that kept thinking, "Finally!" I felt as though a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders, that the monkey was off my back, etc. And while I didn't expect fame and fortune to suddenly follow this sale, I did think that subsequent sales would start coming a little more frequently.

Alas, this was not the case. And as the years slipped by without new sales, a new weight settled on my shoulders to land another sale. There was also a new phenomenon, a special little voice in the back of my thoughts. It only spoke one word, and it did so in a whispery mocking voice: "Fluke."

Let me tell you something. I hated that [expletive] voice. I despised that voice. But as far I could tell, there were just two ways to get rid of it: quit writing and admit the voice was right, or make another sale.
Read the whole thing. Cohen's story has a happy ending: After much effort, he managed to land two more sales to respectable markets. What strikes me most about the tale, though, is that Doug isn't your everyday freelance scribbler. No, he serves as editor for Realms of Fantasy, an A-list periodical in its own right. He reads the magazine's slush every month, skims off the cream and fires off rejection letters for the rest. From his time on both sides of the desk, he intimately knows the odds neophyte writers face , and he still urges us to do the very same thing he does -- persevere. How's that for your daily shot of encouragement?

(Picture: CC 2005 by e-magic)


pattinase (abbott) said...

Nothing will encourage me today. But a good try.

Loren Eaton said...

I'm sorry, Patti ...