Three short stories by Ian Peterkin (right), a member of our semi-monthly Saturday afternoon writers’ group at the Library, recently have been published. “Inyo,” “Situation on the Tracks,” and “No One Tells You” appear, respectively, in three separate literary journals: Rio Grand Review, of the University of Texas at El Paso, Helix Magazine, of Central Connecticut State University, and Independent Ink Magazine. Ian also is soon to be awarded his MFA in creative writing from Western Connecticut State University. The Fairfield Writer’s Blog asked Ian for his thoughts about pursuing the path to publication:
Finding the right home for your short stories can be a difficult task. Between June 2011 and November 2012, I must have received hundreds of rejection letters. Over that eighteen-month period, three things happened: I was encouraged to submit more, I honed my craft, and I looked up better ways to make submissions.
There are hundreds of places looking for stories—literary journals, magazines, web sites. Keeping track of them all is dizzying. Enter Duotrope, a site recommended to me by a woman who recently got an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. Duotrope keeps track of all the different places that accept fiction and poetry, providing users with tools to track their submissions. I owe much of my success to that site. When I submitted through it, it did not have a paywall. Fortunately, its new model isn’t expensive at all.
If I could offer three pieces of advice to would-be writers of short fiction or poetry, it would be this: 1) Don’t submit to big names like The New Yorker. The odds of them accepting a submission from an unknown are infinitesimal. 2) Make sure the publication is a good fit for you. 3) Don’t, I repeat, don’t pay over $5 for a submission. There are some pretty unscrupulous places out there just looking to make money off of fees. I would not waste time or money on any contests.
Your goal is—and always should be—to get published. You should start small. If you think of any university, chances are you’ll find a literary journal attached to its English or writing department. They’re always looking for exciting work. That’s what worked for me.—Ian A. Peterkin Jr.