11.13.2006

The death of pub credit

Dear Miss Snark:

I should thank you for your well-written and informative blog but I must admit I often curse you for being so full of interesting tidbits that I spend my precious time reading it instead of writing. But whatever, I still have a question. (discipline grasshopper, discipline)

I am an aspiring fiction writer and happily I recently published my first short story in a legit, if very small, literary magazine. Apparently my piece sounded its death knell as the magazine is no more. My question is this: Since it was my first and only fiction credit, should I include it when I submit others even though a Google search will come up blank? I think of it like a first job at McDonalds, I want to keep it on my "resume" until I have something better, but is that a mistake? Should I just put my one free copy on my bookshelf and move on?

Adoring regards, (ohhh! Adoring regards, I LIKE that!!)


I actually have a client who queried me saying he was the literary kiss of death and had the funerary notices of lit mags to prove it. He had a story in the last issue of about three of them I think.

I still took him on.

He made a joke about it, and so can you. One of the great things about the net is that lots of stuff that is "dead" lives on in cyberspace. If the website is still up, refer to it. If by some miracle of marketing, a library has a copy of the mag, even better.

If there is no vestige of this magazine, you can either make a joke about it or not mention it.

Your job however is to build up your portfolio so you don't have to depend on this.

17 comments:

ex-ed said...

I like the way you describe what happened to the magazine. If I were looking through submissions, it would put me on your side and make me want to read your stuff, as it sounds sensible and raised a grin on my face, at least. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't say something similar in a cover letter; sensible, funny writers are, after all, a rarity.

Ryan Field said...

One of the great things about the net is that lots of stuff that is "dead" lives on in cyberspace.

I know!!!! I wish some things I wrote and had published would disappear forever. Thank dog for pseudonyms.

ORION said...

And to add my two cents...well with the price of inflation...four...
I had no publishing credits when I got my agent.
She loved my premise and loved my novel - when she called to offer representation she found out I had three other manuscripts ready to go. That made her very, very happy...don't discount working on your next novel...and your next...and your next...
JMHO

Shouga Tea said...

Mmm. I sound the death knell on forum threads a lot. Can humor on the last word get me into suicidal lit mags wherefrom I can step up into the "represented" class of saint?
I've always wanted to take the signature of "Thread Killer".

Anonymous said...

Hey, I killed a magazine, too!
I think I may have put down two more with mere submissions. Like they'd rather fold up the company than publish me.

lizzie26 said...

As Ryan Field (above) says, "Thank dog for pseudonyms." I go by many, esp. when posting on writer's boards. Or here. : )

Elektra said...

Orion, were these previous novels or ones you wrote while looking for an agent?

*shudders from intimidation of the impressive prolific people*

LadyBronco said...

Pity this hasn't worked for *ahem* literary agencies, such as the poor agency founded by everyone's favorite agent, Babs. Miss Snark, have you heard from this poor, much maligned woman lately? (trying desprately to keep a straight face as I ask.)

Terry said...

sounds like the story of my life. My first sale never made print because the magazine folded first. Editors who request my stuff seem to move to totally inappropriate lines as soon as it arrives (inappropriate for my stuff, not for them, of course). And, of course, there's not a contractor we've ever hired who managed to stay in business long enough to take care of finishing touches on any remodeling/repair/construction job.

Writer on Board said...

I am always grateful to the people who publish my stuff - big or small or tiny. My AGENTS? That's another story. Be careful what you ask for!

ORION said...

Electra -I address this a bit on my blog - but yes I would query one, while writing another (think years). My third novel is what got me representation and now I know how to make one, two and four better.
We all go at our own speed.

I am compulsed to write. I must. I must. I must.

*walks carefully along the sidewalk while avoiding stepping on any lines and takes prescribed medication...*

Writerious said...

And of course keep at least one copy of the magazines that one has published in so that if asked for clips, one can send photocopies and show the world, "Yes, the magazine existed and yes, I was published in it."

Anonymous said...

*SNORK* I wonder if there is a therapy group for magazine-killers? I think I've slain three, simply by sending my submissions. I also have that effect on TV shows - the minute I decide I love and want to slavishly follow one .. it cancels. I also killed a perfume once, by deciding I prefered it above all others. Gone from stores within six months.

Hmm, though perhaps there's use for us as secret agents, no? *G*
Cheers ~

G. Atwater

Dave Kuzminski said...

Unless some of your stories have ads beside them featuring scantily clad beauties for certain establishments. Then maybe you don't want to show those clips, but you got paid well.

By the way, there wasn't any sex in the stories in those publications. It was all in the ads.

Brady Westwater said...

My biggest claim to fame in Hollywood was that anytime anyone who bought a script from me, shortly after they either died or were fired. And one unfortunate soul got fired... and then died.

The 'good' news was... I got to sell one script... four times!

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

Here's a question for those romantic dreamers among us who really, really want to see our short fiction in the finest literary mags. Sure, Paris Review, The New Yorker, Harper's -- but beyond the familiar and very few subdivions of Valhalla, what are the best, coolest, most desirable short-story markets that y'all would give a vital organ to crack?

jeb said...

Amateurs!

With just ONE children's story, I killed three long-established and reputable children's book publishers (simply by submitting) and the same number magazines (each of them between acceptance and publication date).

Then I went on to kill two long-established writers groups simply by joining and becoming a faithful attendee (that wasn't me with the flamethrower, honest!), and am watching the attendance melt at a third even though I'm presently precluded from even showing up at the meetings. (don't ask me how I do that; it's a trade secret)

Kiss of death, hah! I am the Angel of Utter Ruin. mwahahaha....