I am very pleased, proud, and all kinds of excited to announce that my dark fantasy story 'The Transmuted Engine' has been picked up by Realms of Fantasy Magazine. I do believe this will be my very first professional sale. It was a long and interesting process.
The first draft of this story was written waaay back in 2008. I was a regular at Critters Online at the time and after honing the story as best I could I submitted it for critique and four weeks later recieved about fifteen or sixteen critical evaluations, ranging from in-depth monologues to a few scant lines. After fixing the issues which arose in those crits, I sent it to a number of magazines, including Interzone, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Weird Tales, GUD, Andromeda Spaceways and a bizarro anthology, amongst others. Despite the rejections, I still believed in the story. I felt it was the most exciting and imaginitive piece of fiction I had yet produced. In August 2010, I sent it to L Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest. I didn't hold much hope of success. I'd entered twice before and reached the quarter finals and felt that was as far as I was going to get. But in the early hours of January 1st 2011 I received a phonecall from America. It was Joni Labaqui, one of the administrators of the Writers of the Future Contest. She told me my story had reached the final eight for the quarter and was in with a good chance of winning. She told me that, no matter what happens, "you are a great writer". I am telling you now, with absolute honesty, that tears sprang into my eyes at that moment. It was all I could do to keep myself standing upright. I managed to keep my composure for the rest of the conversation, but I was choked with emotion by the end of it.
Now, sadly, 'The Transmuted Engine' didn't make the all-important final three (the prizewinning positions) but that phone conversation not only saved my life, it gave me a newfound sense of self-belief. As a result, I sent the story to Realms of Fantasy, the magazine I had always dreamed of being published in but never dared believe I would, and here we are, six months later, with an acceptance. [Duotrope's Digest reports that Realms of Fantasy has a 1.27 % acceptance rate, and that alone makes me feel emotional all over again.] I wanted to share this story with you, the story of my first big story sale, because it is a huge milestone in my career. There are so many factors involved in selling any story to any market - the editor's tastes, the genre/style of your story, your status as a writer, etc. - but I think the one thing this process has taught me is that if you write something you are proud of and which you utterly believe in, and if you work damn hard to make it the best it can possibly be, it will find an outlet. Eventually.
Never give up.
Never give up on yourself and never give up on an ideal.