The Happy Dance
“Your story has been accepted for publication.”
Those are the words that make every writer do “The Happy Dance.” How can you hear them more often? The first step, of course, is writing the story. Many writers never take the second step. Submit the story.
There are so many excuses. “I’m afraid of rejection.” “I don’t know if it’s good enough.” “I don’t know where to submit it.” All legitimate concerns.
As writers, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, yet we’re always told that we need thick skin. Rejection is part of a writer’s life. Yet, if you don’t send out your work, you will never know if it’s good enough. We all can learn more and further develop our writing skills. Submitting our work is the key to that development.
But submitting for some writers is a scary new world. We spend most of our writing lives secluded in our minds with a pen or a keyboard as our outlet. Submitting a story for publication is like throwing ourselves into traffic. It can be frightening, but let me give you a hint: you need to look for the crosswalk.
Where to submit is the trickiest part. I joined a writer’s group several years ago. Until then, I had written forever, but only been published in local newspapers, school publications, and such. My group consists of many well-published seasoned authors. They encouraged me to submit my work to different publications. I’d finally found the crosswalk, but I was still hesitant to cross the street.
It was when I wrote the short story “The God of Honey: A Love Story” and read it to my group, that one particular group member, Phyllis Cochran, encouraged me to send it to Goose River Anthology of Waldoboro, Maine. I finally used the crosswalk. Within a month, I received the letter that said, “Your story has been accepted for publication.” I did “The Happy Dance.”
This one publication was the catalyst for many more successes. That year I was invited to be one of the authors to participate in my local library, “Meet the Local Authors Night.” It was there that I met several other talented authors and became involved in a project that taught me many new skills.
One of the authors there that night was Steve Piscitello, who writes under the pen-name Steven Michaels. Steve had this crazy idea to start a non-profit writers group to publish anthologies of stories and poetry by local authors. His ultimate goal was to use the proceeds to sponsor scholarships for local seniors furthering their education in writing.
Steve contacted all the authors who had attended “Author’s Night” at the library. A few of us answered his call. At our first meeting, five writers sat around a large table to discuss the options. We wanted a group that would not only showcase our own work but help other writers to become published as well.
Collectively, we brought a lot of talent to that table. In addition to all being writers, we each possessed another key element that made everything fall into place. Steve came with the vision and the drive to get the project started. Garrett Zecker brought the knowledge he acquired from owning a small publishing company, Emily Boughton gave the group the edge of a talented artist, and Miryam Williamson came as a highly experienced editor. I had connections with many writers, both published and unpublished. Together, we created the Quabbin Quills non-profit writers group.
While Steve labored over the mountains of paperwork necessary to create a non-profit, we decided on the title of our first anthology. Since we were thinking close to home, our focus became the Quabbin Reservoir of Central Massachusetts. Emily went to work designing our first cover. I contacted all the writers I had ever met and encouraged them to submit their work. Many did. I fell into the job of the submissions coordinator. I collected over forty stories and poems from twenty-three talented writers. Miryam did the editing, and Garrett did the publishing. In January of 2018, we released Time’s Reservoir and had our first book launch at Athol Library in Athol, Massachusetts. Some of the writers included had many publications under their belts. For others, this was their first “Happy Dance.” It was a proud moment for all.
Steve is a driving force and would not let us rest on our laurels. We immediately began plans for the next anthology. Mountains and Meditations was born in May of 2019. It included some authors from our first book, as well as many more writers new to our publication. We’re currently working on our third anthology, Voices of the Valley, to be published in the spring of 2020. I’m sure it will not stop there.
While I continue to be involved, I have stepped back a little to pursue other projects. Quabbin Quills continues to grow under Steve’s guidance. New writers have become involved, bringing new energy and talents. This coming year, one of Steve’s original goals will be accomplished. Quabbin Quills is now taking applications from high school seniors and will award scholarships to three graduates in 2020. I’m proud to be part of all of this. But none of it would ever have happened for me had I not submitted that first story, The God of Honey: A Love Story, to Goose River Anthology.
So, write—and keep writing. Then submit your writing. You don’t have to finish that novel you are working on to get published. Short stories are a great way to break into the publishing world. Having a short piece of work published gives new writers confidence to continue and builds an essential part of their bio. Seasoned writers can reap benefits as well. It adds to their bios and sometimes gives them a much need break from more substantial projects to clear their minds. Anthologies are an excellent place to start, and you can Google “anthology submissions” for the many opportunities out there.
Goose River Press is currently seeking submissions of poetry, essays, and short stories for the 2020 edition. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2020. Look them up at https://www.gooseriverpress.com/goose-river-anthology/.
Quabbin Quills has expanded its reach to writers in all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and they keep growing. So if you are a writer who lives in the New England area and you have stories or poetry, contact them at QuabbinQuills.org about their next anthology.
Take that big step to submit your work, and you too could be doing “The Happy Dance”!
It’s Your Turn