Like so many aspiring writers, I’ve been busy submitting work to journals, both online and print. I’ve had some luck in the poetry department, but it took a little while to find a home for my short story, Aftermath. After receiving several rejections, I began to think the story was deeply flawed. But then the excellent editors at the new Red Savina Review saw the story’s potential. The founding editor, John Gist, accepted the piece contingent upon one last tweak of a few scenes. So, I went to work. Again.
My experience has been that some pieces find their way to the page easily while others take months and months of revision. This was true for Aftermath. From the first draft until the final one, I must have edited and rewritten the story at least fifty times. In the end, it helped tremendously to have an editor offer ideas for taking the story to its best rendition.
What’s interesting about this journey, though, is that I got advice that led me to submit early versions of the story to the top print journals. I attended a conference and the experienced authors and editors who read the story told me to start at the top, the New Yorker, The Paris Review, etc. The story wasn’t ready, though, and in retrospect I question the usefulness of that advice because it only served to discourage me.
I then had a conversation with editor and friend, Jotham Burello of Elephant Rocks Productions. I told him about the advice I’d received and how frustrating it was to get rejection after rejection. He immediately challenged my bias against submitting work to online journals. I hadn’t considered it before because I felt that there was more prestige in getting published in print journals. A part of me still thinks there is, but another part of me knows this is my own hang up, especially after seeing the quality of work many online journals are publishing and knowing how competitive the process is for online submissions. Jotham was right to suggest that I explore other venues.
These days, rather than waste my time submitting to elite markets, I focus on sending work to an array of journals, both online and print. A few of these are highly competitive but most are somewhere in the middle. I read the literature they publish, sometimes finding it difficult to cover a lot of ground because there is so much material out there. But I do read enough to get a sense of a given journal’s literary vision and aesthetics.
I learned about Red Savina Review in Poets & Writers Magazine and I submitted my story knowing that they were a fledgling outfit in New Mexico. Today they released their inaugural issue in which Aftermath appears. I want to publicly thank the Red Savina Review team and John Gist for seeing something in my writing and taking the time to work with me. I’m honored to be included in your first issue and among such talented writers.