Kylie Gone Wild

Tomorrow I’ll be on “The Quicky” on the Mamamia podcast network, where I’ll be talking about Kylie Jenner’s upcoming Playboy spread. She’s on the cover with boyfriend Travis Scott, and she’s not wearing much, it seems. The images were shot and / or creative designed by Scott. I’ve written about Playboy previously, and I was a regular on Playboy TV’s “Sexcetera” for five years. I still love the brand.

Get a copy of my latest short story, “The Tumor” —“a masterpiece of short fiction.”

Not a Stripper

Not long ago, I got an email from someone with a company that was trying to hire me to deliver a presentation. But I wasn’t sure what the company was or what the presentation would be about. We went back and forth in email for a bit, and I remained confused. So, she told me to call her. Then she explained that she works for a company that owns all the strip clubs in a major city. After a bit of back and forth, I realized that she thought I was a former dancer, and she wanted me to come in and coach the girls. “Like on etiquette and stuff,” she said. In any case, since I’ve never been a dancer, but only written about dancers and clubs, I emailed her a few names of women who are and/or were dancers and do that sort of coaching. I was never a dancer. I lacked the guts. Much respect to the girls that do.

Get a copy of my latest short story, “The Tumor” —“a masterpiece of short fiction.”

Tall Girl

Finally, a TV series that speaks to me. It’s a Neflix show about a woman who’s 73-inches tall: “Tall Girl.” As a woman who is 73-inches tall, it’s rare for me to see myself reflected in pop culture. Thank you for mirroring my experience. Sure, I can reach tall shelves, but do you know how hard it is to find someone suitable to date at this height?

Get a copy of my latest digital story, “The Tumor.” It’s “a masterpiece of short fiction.”

Rejections

About two years ago, I wrote a short story called “Spike.” It’s about a male porn star named Tripp Towers who has an erection that won’t go away. I’ve read it at multiple literary readings, and it always goes over very well. Yet, I have been unable to publish it. Here are a sampling of some of those rejections.

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Dear Susannah,

Thank you for sending us "Spikes” [sic]. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, this one isn't a match for us. That said, it is strong, interesting piece and I both wish you luck with it and encourage you to submit again.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
[redacted]

Hi Susannah,

Thanks so much for submitting to [redacted], we really appreciate your taking the time to send us your work. Unfortunately this piece isn't quite right for us, but I hope you'll consider sending us more work in the future, if you'd like to.

Take care,

[redacted]

Dear Susannah,

Thank you for your submission. We are honored that you considered our journal as a potential home for your writing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit for us. Best of luck placing this elsewhere. We hope you will continue to support our journal in the future.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

Dear Susannah Breslin

Thank you for sending Spike our way. This one didn’t quite feel like a match for us, so we’re going to pass this time, but we enjoyed the read. I do hope Tripp’s ok!

Best of luck with this

[redacted]

Dear Susannah,
Thank you for sharing "Spike" with me. I enjoyed reading your work. Unfortunately, it is not right for [redacted].

I'd be happy to read more of your writing in the future—even though "Spike" won't work for [redacted], it's still well done.

Best of luck with your writing,

[redacted]

Dear Susannah Breslin:

Thank you for submitting your text. Unfortunately we will not be able to publish your submission in the [redacted] issue of [redacted] at this time. Nevertheless we encourage you to submit texts for future issues of [redacted] and are grateful for your support.

Thank you again for your submission.

Yours,
[redacted]

Dear Susannah Breslin,

Thank you for sending us "Spike" and I apologize for the unconscionably long time spent in responding to a piece you so generously sent our way. Unfortunately it is not a fit for us at this time, but we appreciate you sending it our way.

Thanks again for sharing your work. Best of luck with this.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

Dear Susannah Breslin,

Thank you for sending us your flash fiction story, "Spike". We appreciate the chance to consider it. Unfortunately, we're overwhelmed with submissions at the moment, and we've held onto this one longer than we should have, so we're regretfully declining it to give you a chance to try it elsewhere.

Apologies for the length of time we've held onto this story — this is our loss for not getting to your story more quickly. Best of luck placing your story elsewhere.

Sincerely,
[redacted]

Dear Susannah,

Thank you for sending us "Spike." While we appreciate the chance to read your story, I'm afraid it isn't a good fit for [redacted] this time. Thanks again for trusting us with your work. As writers ourselves, we know it's no small thing.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

Dear Susannah,

Thank you so much for sending "Spike" and letting me read it. Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us, but I would be glad to see more work from you in the future. In the meantime, best of luck in placing "Spike" elsewhere.

Sincerely,
[redacted]

Dear Susannah Breslin,

Thank you for sending us "Spike" for consideration in [redacted]. While we enjoyed reading your work, I’m sorry to say it isn’t a good fit for us at this time. It is clear you are a talented writer, and your story stood out from the group. However, we receive so many submissions that, in the end, we have to reject a lot of excellent pieces.

As writers ourselves, our editors know that the process of sending out work can be a long one. We are grateful that you chose to share your writing with us; your piece was read with great admiration and care. We wish you the best of luck with it, and we hope that you will keep us in mind for future submissions. Please do consider sending us more.

Sincerely,
Editors,
[redacted]

Dear Susannah,

Thank you for your submission of "Spike" to [redacted]. We gave the story careful consideration, and though we are not accepting it for publication, we hope you find a better fit for it elsewhere.

Thanks again for trusting us with your work, and thank you for reading [redacted].

All the best,
Editors
[redacted]

Dear Susannah,

We appreciate the chance to consider "Spike" but regret we were unable to find a place for it in the magazine.

With thanks and best wishes,
[redacted]

Get a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”

The Freelancer 3

If you’re a freelance writer, there are three factors to weigh when you’re conceiving or contracting a piece. Typically, whether or not you write a freelance article will depend on three reasons: money, subject, and byline. Ideally, you’ll get two out of those three. If you’re only getting one, you may need to restrategize.

1. MONEY

Sometimes you’ll write an article for one reason: cash. I’ve written articles for glossy magazines that paid $2 a word. Oftentimes, the subject matter of those stories was somewhat less interesting to me, or an editor hacked my prose to death prior to publication. For $1 or $2 a word, sometimes we make concessions.

2. SUBJECT

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Sometimes, you’ll write an article because you love / are fascinated by / want to explore a certain subject. This is a perfectly reasonable reason to write an article. In fact, if you love the subject enough, you may be willing to write the piece for a pittance. Let’s say, for example, $150 for 750 words. You’ll get a great clip out of it.

3. BYLINE

One of the ways to get other editors to give you freelance assignments down the line is to list all the outlets that you’ve written for before when you send them your pitch. The better those outlets are, the more impressed the editor you’re pitching may be. So, if you’ve only written for small websites, but you write something for, say, Slate, that’ll give you leverage.

Buy a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”

Ask Susannah: How Do You Get into Freelance Work?

Q: Love your writing. Curious, but how do you get into freelance work?

Image via  Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

A: There’s no one tried and true way to get into freelancing. More often than not, it’ll happen when you undertake a series of experiments. Think of it as firing a shotgun and seeing what it hits or throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s up to you to get moving.

I believe the first published article I wrote was for a local newspaper, and it was a book review. Come up with one idea that you can sell. A review. A photograph. A comic. Identify the publication most likely to publish it. A local rag. A small website. A literary magazine. Figure out the person to pitch it to—the editor-in-chief, the photo editor, the features editor. Find their email address. If you can’t find it easily, and you’re pitching to a publication where people have their own emails, emails usually follow one of these styles: firstnamelastname@company.com, firstnameperiodlastname@company.com, firstnameunderscorelastname@company.com, firstinitiallastname@company.com. You can see if you’ve got the right one by googling it. Usually, their email is posted somewhere, and that search will confirm you have it right. Then write a pitch. Say: I’d like to write a story about X. Or: I’m interested in covering the upcoming cow auction. Perhaps: Are you looking for an op-ed columnist? Tell them what you’ve done that’s impressive. Include some links to your work or even a sample of your work.

A lot of times, editors never respond. That’s just the way it is. I hate when I pitch editors, and they don’t respond. That said, sometimes as an editor, I don’t respond to pitches. It’s the single most passive aggressive no you’ll ever get. Learn to live with rejection. Or ignore it. It’s just one person.

Of course, you can forget that whole pitching-to-publications thing and sell your stuff yourself. I like Gumroad. You can set your own price, produce your own products, and get paid in a reasonable time period.

At first, you might not make a lot of money with your freelancing. If you keep at it, you’ll get better. You’ll connect with other freelancers. People will start asking you to create things for them. Eventually, it just grows and grows.

Good luck!

SB

Buy my digital short, “The Tumor.” It’s been called “a masterpiece of short fiction.”