The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire: Mazie’s Marvelous Marketing

The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire contains all manner of useful spells, a number of which can aid a rejectomancer’s efforts to attract new readers. This week, we explore the relatively benign Mazie’s marvelous marketing, a handy enchantment that enhances a rejectomancer’s promotional endeavors.

(If you’re wondering what all this rejectomancer stuff is, start here.)


Mazie’s Marvelous Marketing

2nd-level enchantment

Casting Time: Five minutes

Range: 1 tweet, post, etc.

Components: Material

Duration: One day

You cast this spell on one promotional tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post, or other social media application. The spell makes the post or tweet more appealing to its target audience and generates 3d8 additional likes, retweets, and shares and 1d8 additional followers. Mazie’s marvelous marketing also obscures up to 1d6 negative comments or reactions, making them invisible to readers for the duration of the spell.

The material component for this spell is a small object universally considered to be bait. This could be a piece of cheese, a fishing lure, or even a live worm. Most rejectomancers go with the cheese, as the material component must be eaten for the spell to take effect.

Rumors persist of a more powerful version of Mazie’s marvelous marketing called Vernon’s viral verve. This mighty enchantment is said to generate 5d100 additional likes, retweets, and shares and 1d100 additional followers. The spell can be dangerous, however, as each casting attracts 1d4 internet trolls, which much be defeated or blocked for the spell to take full effect.


I seem to accidentally cast Mazie’s marvelous marketing from time to time because I cannot for the life of me figure out why one promotional tweet or Facebook post does so much better than another. I have not yet achieved sufficient rejectomantic experience to attempt Vernon’s viral verve, and I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to do it even if I had that kind of power. 🙂

Looking for more rare and wondrous rejectomancer powers? Links below.

Weeks of Writing: 7/26/21 to 8/8/21

A couple of productive weeks of writing and submitting. Let’s see how I did.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from Mark Twain.

“It takes a heap of sense to write good nonsense.”

—Mark Twain

I think this quote is particularly important for speculative fiction writers because we tend to write thing that are not only not true but not even remotely possible. In order to get your readers to buy into a vampire that plays baseball, for example, you gotta build the world around that vampire in a way that doesn’t make the reader go, “Well, this is some bullshit right here.” Essentially, everything in your world has to ring true and authentic so when that bloodsucker steps up to the plate, it adds an element of wonder or terror but the sheer nonsense of it all doesn’t bring the entire story tumbling down. So, I think what Mark Twain is saying here is your world needs to make sense so the nonsense makes sense too. I think. 🙂

Short Story Submissions

A very good couple of weeks in submission land.

  • Submissions Sent: 7
  • Rejections: 3
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 15
  • 2021 Total Subs: 66

I fired off 7 submissions over the last two weeks, and 6 of those were in the first week of August. Not bad. That gives me 66 for the year and puts me firmly back in the hunt for 100. Three rejections over those two weeks, one nice personal and a couple higher-tier form letters. No acceptances or much else, really. I should hear back on a number of pending subs soon, and hopefully some of them will be of the acceptance variety.

The Novella

I finished my readthrough and first revision of my novella Effectively Wild, and I think it’s in pretty good shape. It’s now with my gracious and wonderful critique partners, who will help me sharpen it up into submittable shape. Of course, once that happens, the real challenge begins. Where do I submit it? There are a couple of speculative magazines that will take novellas of this length, but it’s a tough sell. Maybe this one gets self-pubbed. Just have to see.

Commissions

I have more commission work on the horizon, which is always cool. In fact, I’ve done so much commission work this year, it kinda makes up for the lack of acceptances. If things go as planned, I should add nearly twenty paid publication credits to ye olde writer resume in 2021. That’s good stuff.

Goals

There’s a submission call that closes on the 14th that I really, really want to take advantage of, but I’ll need to writer a new story or finish an existing one. That’s my primary goal for this week.


Those were my week. How were yours?

Submission Statement: July 2021

July has come and gone, and, uh, good riddance. Not my best month in submission land.

July 2021 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 6
  • Rejections: 2
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 2
  • Further Consideration: 0

Only 6 submissions in July, bringing my total to 60. Technically, that still puts me on pace for 100 submissions for the year, but I’d hoped to get a few more subs out. One of the reasons I didn’t is, well, I didn’t get many rejections. Only two in July, so I didn’t get a chance to “turn and burn” more stories for a few more subs. I also didn’t get any acceptances for the month, but that just seems to be par of the course in a year that is shaping up to be one of my worst. Still, one must soldier on and keep submitting. I still have five months to turn this thing around.

Rejections

Only two rejections this month.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 0
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 1
  • Personal Rejections: 1

As I mentioned, it was a light rejection month, though both were, uh, premium rejections, I guess. The first was a nice upper-tier rejection from a prominent market, and the second was a personal close-but-no-cigar rejection from a market I’ve been trying to crack for a while . With each rejection, I seem to be inching ever closer to an acceptance, so gotta keep trying.

Publications

Two publications in July. A flash piece published in The Arcanist’s Hunger Flash collection and another Rejectomancy article over at Dark Matter Magazine. The Arcanist story is only available in the Kindle collection, but you can read the Dark Matter article by clicking the link below.

“Wish You Well” in The Arcanist: Hunger Flash

“Old is New Again: Reprints” at Dark Matter Magazine


And that was my month. How was yours?

The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire: Resurrect Manuscript

Once more we delve into the Rejectomancer’s Grimoire in search of dark writerly enchantments. This week, we explore a powerful rejectomancy that can restore life to a long-dead project. But beware! Resurrect manuscript can have dire consequences for weak-willed rejectomancers, who may abandon all other projects for the revivified scribblings of the literary undead.

(If you’re wondering what all this rejectomancer stuff is, start here.)


Resurrect Manuscript

5th-level rejectomancy 

Casting Time: 1 page

Range: Touch

Components: Verbal

Duration: See below

You revive a manuscript that has been inert and unworked on for no longer than one year. The spell restores your memory, with perfect clarity, of plot, characters, and themes, while obscuring your recollections of weak writing, plot holes, and other problems for 1d6 hours. If you add words to the resurrected manuscript within the spell’s duration, this effect becomes permanent. Once the spell is cast, you must attempt a Wisdom save. On a failure, you abandon all other novel-length projects for 1d3 weeks in favor of the resurrected manuscript. At the end of this period, you must attempt another Wisdom save. On a failure, the resurrected manuscript becomes your new, primary project.

The verbal component for resurrect manuscript requires you to read aloud the first page of your current manuscript, after which you must denounce the project with a literary curse, such as “This is all shit,” or “My other book was better.”


That half-finished novel collecting digital dust in your hard drive always looks a lot better when you’re in the dog days of the current project, right? Be careful with this spell, lest you abandon a perfectly good book for one that only seems better. 🙂

Looking for more rare and wondrous rejectomancer powers? Links below.

A Week of Writing: 7/19/21 to 7/25/21

Here’s my accounting of another week gone by.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from Ernest Hemingway.

Good dialogue is not real speech–it’s the illusion of real speech.

—Ernest Hemingway

I have said many times that dialogue is my favorite way to tell a story. Many of my pieces are just folks talking to each other, and I feel I can capture drama, horror, love, angst, rage, and all that other good stuff between a couple of quotation marks. That said, I think Hemingway is absolutely correct. Dialogue is NOT how people actually talk. The closer you can get to that, though, the more realistic it sounds, but most casual conversations are so full of pauses, repetition, and people talking over each other I wouldn’t know how to write it let alone punctuate it correctly. Still, if you can add some of those pauses, a couple of those repetitions, and some of the nonverbal stuff folks do when they talk, I think you get a much more sumptuous spread of dialogue that FEELS more authentic.

Short Story Submissions

A better week in submission land.

  • Submissions Sent: 2
  • Rejections: 0
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 1
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 12
  • 2021 Total Subs: 59

I managed 2 submissions last week, which is better than the week before, but I need to send 4 more submissions by the end of the month to stay on pace for 100. Other than that, it was quiet as a crypt. I haven’t received a rejection since July 1st, which makes me more than a little nervous. I expect I’ll get some this week and maybe an acceptance too. More about the publication below.

The Novella

I finished the first draft of Effectively Wild last week, and it came in at just over 25,500 words. I’m currently doing my first read-through and revision before I ask my critique partners to take a look. I’d like to get it down around 22,000 words, as that’ll give me a few more submission options. That shouldn’t be hard; there are definitely a few scenes that drag on with unnecessary dialogue (yes, I also overuse dialogue) and whatnot. Overall, I’m happy with what I ended up with, though I’m not sure I stuck the landing. Even so, all can be fixed in revision.

Publications

There’s a new installment of my monthly Rejectomancy column over at Dark Matter Magazine. This month, we’re talking about reprints, which is one of my favorite submission subjects. You can read that article (and all the other ones) by clicking the link below.

Old is New Again: Reprints

Night Walk

My flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths features 40 of my best stories. Here are some of the nice things folks have said about it. 🙂

“I’ve been a fan of his stories for years, and now they’ve been collected in Night Walk it’s possible to fully appreciate the many wounded landscapes of his imagination, the harrowing beauty of his prose, and the consistency with which he weaves his tales of despair.”

— Christopher Stanley

“Aeryn has proven with this dark anthology, that he is truly one of the very best flash fiction writers around. At times, you have to pinch yourself to remember these terrifying tales are the work of just one mind.”

— Andrew J. Anderson

“The tales are short, snappy, well-paced, often witty, and always satisfying. I had to force myself to limit myself to a couple of tales a day–to savor them like rich and bitter dark chocolates.”

— MM Schreier 

Goals

Revise the novella and send out four more submissions.


That’s my week. How was yours?

The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire: Resist Response

The next entry in the Rejectomancer’s Grimoire shields the rejectomancer from dangerous temptations. This minor enchantment is called resist response and prevents vulnerable rejectomancers from penning angry responses to rejections and reviews.  (If you’re wondering what all this rejectomancer stuff is, start here.)


Resist Response

1st-level rejectomancy 

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: Self

Components: Somatic, Verbal

Duration: One hour

You strengthen your mental fortitude against deleterious temptation. For the duration of the spell, you gain advantage on Wisdom saves to resist responding to a rejection or a negative review. This spell is effective against all rejection and review formats, including email, social media, and Amazon.

The somatic component for this spell is turning off your computer and/or putting away your phone.


As I’ve said many times, responding to rejections and reviews is almost never a good idea. Make liberal use of resist response to protect your sanity. 🙂

Looking for more rare and wondrous rejectomancer powers? Links below.

A Week of Writing: 7/12/21 to 7/18/21

Midway through July. Here are all my writing endeavors for the week, warts and all. 🙂

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from William Zinsser.

“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”

—William Zinsser

I unabashedly LOVE writing in first person. I even commit the mortal sin of writing in first person present tense. Do I like this POV because it’s an ego flex, like William Zinsser said? Maybe a little. I think it’s more that there’s something about the pronoun I that lets me get right down into a character’s brain and really relate to them. It’s so damn intimate, and I rarely feel more connected to my characters than when I’m writing in first person. Of course, first person is fraught with danger and pitfalls. It can be limiting, voice-y, self-indulgent, and, well, some folks just don’t like it no matter how well it’s done. Still, for me, the siren song of first person is hard to resist.

I’ll put my money on the table and point you at a story of mine I think is among my best works AND is written in first-person present. Check it out: “Night Games” at Pseudopod. 

Short Story Submissions

Yeah, not awesome.

  • Submissions Sent: 1
  • Rejections: 0
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 10
  • 2021 Total Subs: 57

Just one submission last week and not much else. No rejections, no acceptances, no publications, nada. Need 6 more subs for the month to stay on pace for 100. Interestingly, when I have few rejections, I have few submissions. The reason for this is simple. Rejected stories are immediately resubmitted elsewhere. I do have a brand spanking new story that’ll go out this week, but it’s a crime piece, so my market options are limited.

The Novella

The bright spot last week was the work I got done on Effectively Wild. I added another 6,000 words to the novella, pushing it up and over the 20,000-word mark. I’m right in the middle of the big climax of the story, and I figure I need another 5,000 words or so to hit all the right notes and wrap things up. I’m guessing I might end up close to 30,000 words. That said, I have already identified a few places where the novella could use some tightening. I’m hoping for a final, submittable piece in the 25k range. As I mentioned previously, I’m mostly pantsing this novella, and writing without safety rails has been fun and led me to some interesting plot developments.

Night Walk

My flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths features 40 of my best stories. Here are some of the nice things folks have said about it. 🙂

“I’ve been a fan of his stories for years, and now they’ve been collected in Night Walk it’s possible to fully appreciate the many wounded landscapes of his imagination, the harrowing beauty of his prose, and the consistency with which he weaves his tales of despair.”

— Christopher Stanley

“Aeryn has proven with this dark anthology, that he is truly one of the very best flash fiction writers around. At times, you have to pinch yourself to remember these terrifying tales are the work of just one mind.”

— Andrew J. Anderson

“The tales are short, snappy, well-paced, often witty, and always satisfying. I had to force myself to limit myself to a couple of tales a day–to savor them like rich and bitter dark chocolates.”

— MM Schreier 

Goals

The usual: finish the novella, send out more submissions.


That’s my week. How was yours?

The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire: Fiona’s Flawless Formatting

The next entry in the Rejectomancer’s Grimoire is an eminently useful but potential dangerous spell called Fiona’s flawless formatting. Responsible rejectomancers who use this bit of literary legerdemain need never fear a formatting error. Less responsible use of the spell, however, may incur dire editorial wrath. (If you’re wondering what all this rejectomancer stuff is, start here.)


Fiona’s Flawless Formatting

1st-level literary legerdemain

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: Touch or Email

Components: Verbal, Material

Duration: One submission

You cast this spell on one short story manuscript. The spell affects up to 5,000 words. Any editor reading the manuscript must attempt a Wisdom save. On a failure, the editor sees their preferred formatting style regardless of how the manuscript is actually formatted. An editor who makes the Wisdom save sees through the illusion, and you suffer an automatic form rejection and 2d8 psychic damage.

Fiona’s flawless formatting can be enhanced by following the guidelines and using the editor’s preferred formatting. In this case, the glamour prevents the editor from seeing any minor formatting mistakes with no Wisdom save.

The material component for this spell are the words “standard manuscript format” typed in Courier, Times New Roman, and Arial, then printed. The printed page is consumed in a fiery burst on completion of the spell.


Always use the enhanced version of this spell. Most editors will overlook small, honest formatting errors, but probably won’t react favorably to submissions or authors who flagrantly disregard formatting guidelines.

Looking for more rare and wondrous rejectomancer powers? Links below.

Weeks of Writing: 6/28/11 to 7/11/11

Catching up on the last couple of weeks. Here’s how I did.

Words to Write By

This week’s quote comes from Agatha Christie.

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

– Agatha Christie

I definitely get story ideas when I’m doing housework, but the place where the ideas really get hopping for me is the gym. Well, exercise in general. I don’t know why, but if I’m sweating, I’m coming up with ideas. Ultimately, I think Agatha Christie is hinting at the fact that sitting down at your computer (or typewriter in her case) and saying “I will now come up with ideas for a story or novel” is now how it works for most writers. The ideas come when you’re not weighed down by the pressure of MUST CREATE. I think what doing the dishes and working out have in common is they both don’t require you to really think about the task. Your body knows what to do and just handles shit while your brain is free to wander and ponder. I really like this quote because it lets me tell myself I’m not doing housework to procrastinate revising my novel, I’m doing RESEARCH, goddamn it. 🙂

Short Story Submissions

Not the best the start to July, but I got on the board.

  • Submissions Sent: 3
  • Rejections: 1
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Shortlist: 0
  • Pending: 10
  • 2021 Total Subs: 56

I need 63 submission by end of July to stay on pace, and I’m currently sitting at 56. Seven more shouldn’t be too hard to pull off. The only rejection in the last couple of weeks was another close-but-no-cigar personal rejection that tells me a) I need to keep submitting that story (which I did) and b) I need to keep submitting to this market (in the works).

The Novella

The last couple of weeks were pretty busy with house guests and other general life stuff, but I did manage to add another 3,000 words to Effectively Wild, pushing it over the 15,000-word mark. I think it should end up in the 20,000 to 25,000-word range when all is said and done. I’d really like to finish that first draft this week. We’ll see how that goes.

Night Walk

My flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths features 40 of my best stories. You can pick up a copy of your very own in print or eBook by clicking the cover below.

For an inside peek into the anthology and its stories, check out the Night Walk Wednesday feature right here on the blog. I’ll give you all the juicy rejectomancy stats on individual stories from the collection.

Goals

Work on the novella, send out more submissions, do some marketing for Night Walk.


Those were my weeks. How were yours?

The Rejectomancer’s Grimoire: Revise Rejection

This is the first in a series of posts that will explore the strange and wondrous powers available to rejectomancers. If you’re unfamiliar with the path of the rejectomancer, just click this link and get acquainted. Like the rejectomancer “class” they’re designed for, the spells in the Rejectomancer’s Grimoire are a) based loosely on a popular roleplaying game and b) just for fun, not at all serious, and especially not designed to be balanced or usable or any of that jazz. So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the first rejectomancer spell, a minor transmutation known as revise rejection.


Revise Rejection

1st-level rejectomancy

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: Email

Components: Verbal

Duration: Until you read the rejection again

You cast this spell on one rejection email. The spell improves the rejection one step. A form letter becomes a higher-tier form letter, a higher-tier form letter becomes a personal rejection, and so on. The spell lasts until you read the rejection again, at which point it reverts to its true form. The verbal component for this spell requires you to chant a positive affirmation such as “it’s only one editor’s opinion” or “everyone gets rejected” while casting.

Some rejectomancers believe revise rejection is not a rejectomancy spell at all, but an enchantment that fools the rejectomancer into believing their rejection is better than it actually is. There is great debate among even the mightiest rejectomancers on this point.


Pretty sure I’ve cast this spell for reals a couple times, and, yeah, it might be more rejectomantic chicanery than actual magic. 🙂

Anyway, let me know what you think of revise rejection. I’ll likely tinker with the format of these things as I go on, but I had fun combining my past and present passions into one admittedly silly combo. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: