Works in Progress–Breaking through the Iron Ring

[This is part of a new series on my works in progress.]

Sometimes it seems the whole point—the raison d’être—of the publishing industry is to reject new writers. I often imagine an office full of editors receiving new manuscripts, scanning the contact information (just in case it’s an established author) and then filling in the template rejection letter, hitting send and breaking for lunch.


Of course, I’m never worked in publishing and I have no idea how this all goes down. I base this solely on the one relevant piece of data I have: My record submitting pieces to magazines. I’m 0 for 9: Nine submittals, seven rejections, two responses pending.

Title of Work

Rejections Received

Pending Submittals

The Hatchlings



Wonders of the Invisible World



The Man Who  Ran from God






I equate getting published the first time as the equivalent of breaking through the Iron Ring, one of the defensive fortifications from the past (Hadrian’s Wall, the Great Wall of China, The Maginot Line, Bilbao’s Iron Ring). For what I’m sure are sensible reasons, it seems that NO ONE wants to give an unpublished writer a break. Some of these may include the sheer volume of submissions, the need to pay/compensate staff readers, the benefits of staying with a proven winner. A new writer, like myself, can try and try again and meet nothing but a stiff wall of resistance.

But just like the Iron Rings of the past, the publishing industry’s model is looking worn and outdated. Instead of the traditional frontal assault, there’s a new back entrance that no one anticipated: e-publishing.

File:Maginot line 1.jpg

As a writer, it would be very nice (very nice, indeed) to have the third party recognition and the increased readership that publishing via a magazine or publisher brings. But e-books are changing the equation for writers, too. Think about it. Should I delay a piece and submit and resubmit and resubmit it while my Amazon Kindle publishing updates languish? (It’s been almost a year since I published my last book). And should I wait, while other e-publishing Indie writers keep pumping out new novels every few months? Or should I just go ahead and get something out there and build readership myself? Each day a completed manuscript languishes in a drawer or publisher’s inbox is another day my forward momentum stalls for no good reason.

So, should I self-publish or continue to submit pieces? For me, the answer is clear: both.

That’s right, both. As soon as I get my next rejection of my historical novella I’m going to put it on Kindle for all of you. It’s called “The Man Who Ran from God.” I will fill in the details as we get closer to the publishing date. As for the next rejection of my sci-fi horror story (“The Hatchlings”), I plan to resubmit it (if rejected by who it’s with now) to two more magazines where I think it has a good chance. If not, expect it on Kindle soon. I can’t wait forever to keep building my readership.

But I promise to keep taking it to the Iron Ring with new pieces. One day, I’m going to break through.

Well, that’s enough of that.

In other “works in progress,” I finished a first draft of my horror story which I wrote about in detail earlier. I will do the reveal on the title once I have a tight, proofed manuscript in hand. For now, let’s call it “GoY.” I will edit the draft this weekend and hope to have a final manuscript soon. 

I also finally posted the pic of the birdhouse for the same post, “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” It’s a flawed masterpiece. Actually, let’s drop the “masterpiece” bit and just call the birdhouse “flawed.”

Before I sign off, I want to mention two things. Both really encouraged me to keep going and were a gift from fans. One is an unknown blog reader from Vietnam. This person logged on, read my blog and visited five pages. It’s always great to see someone from a country half a world away discover my stuff. Second, thanks to Jake Needham for following me on Twitter.  He’s an established writer with several books under his belt and it’s always humbling to get followed by someone like that.

So, thank you Vietnam reader and thank you, Jake. It’s fans like you that keep me going.

Until next time,


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