Selling 7 Stories to Publishers in 2021

I recently posted a new YouTube video called, “How I sold 7 stories to publishers in 2021”.

Here’s the transcript:

Hi everyone. I’m Ephiny Gale, and today I’m going to be talking about my story acceptances for 2021 and how I got them.

2021 was my best ever year for story acceptances, and not by a small margin, either. Publishers purchased six original stories and one reprint from me in 2021, versus my previous best, which I think was four acceptances in a year. I was debating whether or not to include the reprint against my 2021 total, but that one is for Pseudopod, which is a pro-paying market that I’m really excited to break into, so I’m gonna count that against my seven acceptance total for that year.

I don’t think I did anything hugely different this year, but I still thought it might be good to break my acceptances down in case that’s interesting and or useful to other people. Let’s start with some statistics. My quickest sale this year sold to the first market that I sent it to, which is rare for me, and it sold after one month. On the other hand, the story that took the longest to sell before it sold this year was accepted on its 21st submission, and sold after about 20 months. That one is actually my favorite of the six original stories that I sold this year; submitting can be a bit of a marathon. On average, for the original stories my pieces sold after being submitted 7.3 times, and after being on submission for 7.7 months.

My first couple of acceptances for the year were both in early January, which was a wonderful start to the year, and both from The Dread Machine. They’re a rare market that allows you to submit multiple pieces at once, and I was lucky enough that my work obviously meshed very well with the editor’s taste. They were a pretty new market when I subbed to them, so I didn’t really know what to expect from them and they didn’t know what to expect from me. These particular acceptances were a matter of our unknown tastes aligning surprisingly well. Sometimes you take a chance on a new publisher and you’re lucky.

My third acceptance was in March. A flash piece that sold to Utopia Science Fiction Magazine. I hadn’t sold to them before as I don’t write a lot of optimistic sci-fi, but this particular story was a good fit.

My fourth acceptance was in May for a 100-word piece I’d submitted specifically to a competition asking for stories of that length. I don’t usually submit to competitions, but this one was only 100 words so I gave it a shot. And this is the first time in this video that I can say I did something a little different in 2021. I wouldn’t have known about this competition if not for Codex, which is an online writers’ group that I joined early in the year. This was also my first sale in Stupefying Stories.

My fifth acceptance was to an anthology called The Art of Being Human from Fablecroft Publishing, a small australian publisher. This is another sale that perhaps went a little differently in 2021. I received an invitation to submit to this anthology, which was in no way a guarantee that they would publish or even like what I sent them, but merely a prompt to say that they’d be pleased to consider a story if I submitted one. When I received this invitation it was a catalyst for me to finally write a story idea that had been kicking around in my brain for a few years unwritten, but that I thought might be a good fit for the theme of this anthology. And they DID like it. But I don’t think I would have received this invitation if I hadn’t established myself in the Australian spec fic scene over the previous couple of years by being shortlisted for a couple of Aurealis Awards, so this acceptance can at least be partially attributed to building on the success of my earlier stories.

My sixth acceptance was my second ever sale to Daily Science Fiction. I’ve sent them plenty of other stories over the years that they’ve rejected, so I’m not sure why they especially like this piece more than the others. Perhaps this was just a case of continuing to send them stories until I stumbled upon a win.

And my seventh and final sale of 2021 was a reprint to Pseudopod. I’m pretty stoked about this one. They’re going to be podcasting one of my older stories, “Little Freedoms”. And this sale I can probably attribute to a mix of Codex and Pseudopod on Twitter reminding me multiple times about their submission window. Pseudopod only opens for short periods of time throughout the year, so you need to know when it’s open in order to submit. I think I followed Pseudopod back on Twitter after they added me due to my 2020 recommendations list, and I’m very glad they did.

So what can we conclude from all of this? Mostly, I haven’t been submitting my stories any differently. I heard about a couple of opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have, both from Codex, my writers group, and from following a particular publisher on Twitter – both of which I would definitely recommend – and I received an invitation to submit to a particular market based on my previous work, which is just a result of having done this for a while and having some moderate success. Although, I will reiterate that was just a prompt to write something, and was by no means a guarantee that they would actually accept it.

If you’re interested in any of these stories, six of them have already been published and five of them are free to read online, so I will link them in the description below. 2021 has been a pretty good year for my writing. I feel like 2022 is unlikely to be quite so good with acceptances, because 2021 was exceptional, but I guess we’ll see. Thanks so much for joining me today. I wish you an excellent 2022. If you’d like to tell me about your own writing please do so in the comments. If you liked the video, like and subscribe, and I will see you in the next one. Bye.

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