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Krazy Kuzins

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Krazy Kuzins

Yesterday, I had a story taken by the very cool Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers (  You may recognize the piece, "The Exterminator," and that's because it was just published by the equally excellent Thunderdome just two months ago (  Normally this isn't allowed in the fast-paced, financially lucrative world of e-zines.  Most of you who read this are writers as well so you know the drill.  Those of you who don't, I won't bore you with the mind-numbing, generally humiliating (and rarely satisfying) process of packaging up the work you obsess and sweat over and love like a precious lisped child with a learning disability, and sending it off to nameless grad student rejects, who may or may not even read past the opening sentence (conversely, I won't tell you what it was like what I was a grad student star [literary magazine editor] and I had to slog my way through all the crappy, shoddy, lazily written stories and cloying, pretentious erudite poetry, which I may or may not have read past the opening sentence.  Perception is 9/10ths of the law).  Quick version is you finish a story, pick 5 - 10 places to send it off to, which is called "simultaneous submitting." When you're starting off, you're told 10% acceptance rate is good.  Five years into this shit, I am right at 10%.  (Which means I've received a total of about $200, 10 complimentary copies, and a couple dozen links to slather across my social media empire).  If one magazine takes your story (and or poem, if you write that shit), you write to all the other magazines and tell them to please remove your particular piece "from consideration as it has been accepted elsewhere for publication, Thank you." Which I did with "The Exterminator."  But Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers didn't get my withdrawal request, and accepted the story for publication, putting it up on their site, which was slightly problematic, since when Thunderdome took the story in July, they "bought" first North American publishing rights, which means exclusivity for six months before it can be published elsewhere.  Furthermore, most publications don't want reprints, meaning if you're story has been published somewhere else, it's off the board.  Fortunately for me, both Thunderdome and TKC have awesome, totally cool editors, and we worked it out where I get to have "The Exterminator" up at both places.  And since this particular piece might be my best short story to date, it's nice to have the added exposure.

There'd be no reason to post this process, the detailing of which, admittedly, doesn't make the most high octane prose, except that, as a lifelong pessimist (which has earned me several unflattering nicknames including, but not limited to, Debbie Downer, Joe Dismal, and Fuckhead), I try to, in this new blessed life of mine, accentuate the positive when I can.  Every grey cloud and rainbows or some shit. See, yesterday was the first time this happened, where I withdrew a story from a magazine, which in turn accepted that same story.  What usually happens is this: you get a story taken, send out the withdrawals, and then the magazines you withdrew from still send you a rejection anyway.  Might not seem like such a big deal, but the exchange rate is already lousy, the how good you feel for an acceptance paling in comparison to the devastation of the rejection letters, further compounded by the fact that "good" is getting one out of every ten pieces taken, all of which translates to feeling like shit most of the time.  So when you are enjoying that brief .05% respite, getting a rejection letter for a piece you already told them not to consider anymore sucks ten-fold, like getting turned down by a homely girl you only asked out because you felt sorry for her and her stupid horny glasses, crooked teeth and big feet in the first place (goddamn you, Margaret Turdwerth!).

(On the other side of this delightful coin, when I was an editor, sometimes when a writer sent in a withdrawal because their lame-ass story was accepted elsewhere, I'd still send out a rejection letter for the fuck of it, maybe even two if that writer was named "Chad."  I had a strict "No Chad" policy.  Real simple.  You're named Chad, I ain't publishing you.)

So you can see how yesterday was kinda special.  Additionally, I was also told I'd been selected for a couple print editions, one of which was an outright solicitation. All of which added up to a solid, nearly fifteen minutes of professional satisfaction for Joe.

My brief revelry was soon thwarted, however, by Krazy Kuzins.  If you don't have kids (and unless your name is Matt or Angela, I don't really have any friends who do), you might not have experienced the Guantanamo-esque horror of this..."kid-friendly hip-hip," four words that should never be strung together.  But KK is on Toddler Tunes, which means I am subjected to... 

Actually, words pale.  Let's just close with a little Krazy Kuzins and "Boys vs. Girls" (in honor of Maggie Turdwerth).

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At August 23, 2011 at 9:06 AM , Blogger DSobczak said...

I would love to read a post about your problems with people named Chad. When I read that I tried to think back to see if I know or knew anyone named Chad and was unable to come up with one.

At August 23, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Or, maybe, Duane, you knew lots of Chads. And your mind simply edited them from your memory...

At August 24, 2011 at 3:25 AM , Blogger Jenny Dreadful said...

Glad you posted the rambling insight about editors/publishing, seeing I'm having a fucking heinous time with both. Thanks again.

At August 24, 2011 at 8:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had this exact same thing happen to me, getting a reject letter from a mag where I'd already withdrawn the story. I prefer to think that they sent it out of spite when they realized they weren't going to get their grubby hands on my little polished diamond. Or something.

At August 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Yeah, Jenny and Court, it's a goddamn shitty profession we're trying to crack. (Like Norm says) Damned if you do... um, pass the beer nuts.


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