Publish Me, Maybe?

When I started this whole writing-something-with-the-intent-of-publishing-it thing, I thought that the writing was the hardest part. And I realized how very wrong I was when it came time for edits and revisions. So you can imagine how relieved I was to have the beta reading and rewrites behind me. Sure, lots and lots of rejection probably lay ahead of me, but at least I had a finished product. That was the part the involved the real work, right?

Oh, Ashley. You silly, silly girl.

“Write a novella,” they said. “E-readers love shorter fiction,” they said. “Novellas are all the digital rage,” they said. OK, so there is no specific “they” I can point to, but the blogs and articles all say that readers are tending toward novelette and novella length works more in this age of the Kindle and Nook, and that presses (especially small, indie ones) are much more willing than they used to be to publish them now that they can do so in digital format. Doing a print run of anything less than about 50,000 words just doesn’t make sense, financially. Used to be that the only chance a novella had was a university contest, serialization in a magazine, or an anthology–unless it had a famous name splashed across its cover. Now that e-publishing has come along and the cost of paper and binding is of no concern, you’d think that I’d have a list a mile long of small presses to query my 21,000 word manuscript to, right? Yeah, no.

Turns out that those readers that are eating novella length stuff up are mainly in it for the romance and erotica…or at least that’s what I’m finding in my Google adventures of late. The other day, I spent all morning looking through fifty pages (yes, I said FIFTY PAGES) of search results for “young adult, novella, submissions”. After weeding out the ones who were only looking for romance/erotica, LGBT themes, and authors from specific countries or regions, I was left with scant few that A. were interested in YA contemporary, B. were not vanity presses or merely vehicles for the “publisher” or “editor-in-chief” to publish their own books, C. did not look as if their website and/or book covers were designed by blind, schizophrenic badgers doing their best to use every Photoshop gimmick ever created in the 90’s.

So how many houses do I have on my “to query” list? Five. I might have a sixth, but they do not have word count guidelines on their submissions page, and I’m waiting for an answer on whether or not they consider novella length manuscripts. So yeah. At best, I have six chances. I don’t know the average number of rejections most writers receive before hitting on someone who will take a chance with them, but I’m sure it’s a hell of a lot more than six.

In my frustration (also because Rachel and Dory from AW did it, too), I wrote a song parody about my seemingly impossible search for publishers willing to take a gander at my project. In the style of “Call Me Maybe” by…oh you know her name:

I wrote this short manuscript,
I wasn’t very equipped
Length I couldn’t predict,
And now it’s in my way

I’d trade my soul for more plot,
A novel, this is just not
It’s all the words that I’ve got,
But now I’m on my way

Your submissions open,
Word count, email showin’
Mouse moves in slow motion
Think I’m gonna query, baby!

Hey, I just found you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

I’m tired of Googling,
small presses daily,
So here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

Hey, I just found you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

And all the other pubs,
Want longer stories,
But here’s my short one,
Publish me, maybe?

You took your time to email,
With the news that I fail
At least now I can exhale,
But still, it’s in my way

So I start searchin’ again
Novella presses, and then
Found one more, amen!
And now I’m on my way

Your submissions open,
Word count, email showin’
Mouse moves in slow motion
Think I’m gonna query, baby!

Hey, I just found you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

I’m tired of Googling,
small presses daily,
So here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

Hey, I just found you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

And all the other pubs,
Want longer stories,
But here’s my short one,
Publish me, maybe?

Thought finding markets was easy
Well I was so wrong
I was so wrong
Yeah I was so, so wrong

Thought finding markets was easy
Well I was so wrong
Just gotta be strong
Yeah I was so, so wrong

I’m tired of Googling,
small presses daily,
So here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

Hey, I just found you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my story,
Publish me, maybe?

And all the other pubs,
Want longer stories,
But here’s my short one,
Publish me, maybe?

Thought finding markets was easy
Well I was so wrong
I was so wrong
Yeah I was so, so wrong

Thought finding markets was easy
Well I was so wrong
Just gotta be strong

Publish me, maybe?

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6 thoughts on “Publish Me, Maybe?

  1. Best of luck. I know its hard finding someone to publish. I haven’t seen many traditionally published novellas outside of series.

    I would search a different way. Find novellas currently published in your genre and see who published them.

  2. Yeah, I haven’t attempted that route yet, surprisingly. That’s next, but I have a feeling I hit all of the major possibilities during that massive google search, lol!

  3. I just read your song parody and it is AWESOME! I was trying to hide my LOLs at work – not good! You need to make a music video, you would become a whole new YouTube sensation!

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