Remember that short story I told you about, back in March? (The Short Story Rolls Forward)? The one that was accepted to the NaNo Los Angeles anthology in April? (Short Story Accepted!) The anthology is named Shadowed Doorways, my story “Fire Assurance” just passed final proofread, and it and the anthology should be actually in print Real Soon Now!
What’s that I hear you asking? Four months? Why did it take four months?
Mostly, the editorial staff at NaNo Los Angeles are all volunteers. They have day jobs. People left. People became ill. And my story went through four different editors: a story editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, and the chief editor herself.
In many ways, my story is much better than it was when I submitted it. But I would be lying if I said the process wasn’t at times frustrating in the extreme.
The first thing I had to realise is that if I had to explain that what they read is not what I meant, I was at fault. I did not convey what I meant to convey with my words. The second thing I had to accept is that subplots do not fit into a 4,000 word story. Subplots are for longer works.
I had to learn when it’s acceptable to push back, when and how to offer an alternative to their suggested edits, and how to simply refuse some of the edits.
I learned the frustration of dealing with “publishing conventions.” Self-publishers such as myself can ignore certain things that books meant to be published conventionally must toe the line on. Some of them were news to me. Others—well, I just had no idea that things were so inflexible.
One thing was very nice: I absolutely was held to deadlines. That’s an external discipline that I wish I could duplicate in my other work. And my chief editor, Elisabeth Ashlin, was a sweetheart with a bullwhip—one of the best people to work with under a tight deadline I’ve ever encountered.
So—when Shadowed Doorways is Really Published, I’ll let you know! Real Soon Now, for sure!