Don't Give Up!

If you want to be a writer, perseverance is the name of the game. I started freelancing poetry in the early 1970's and got so many rejection slips from magazines that I could have wallpapered my living room with them! It got so bad that one close relative told me to quit because my stuff wasn't good enough to publish. He must have forgotten that our family motto is "fierce when roused." His comment got me so fired up that I submitted even more poems than before. Finally, my big break came in June of 1979 when I won first prize in a poetry contest sponsored by Realities Library of San Jose, CA. That got my name out to other small press editors, and soon my work appeared regularly in such little magazines as VEGA, GUTS & GRACE, and EREHWON. I also had an article about the rock band, the Doors, published in THE VINYL EDITION of Buffalo, NY. I started writing about what I knew well and targeting markets that wanted that material. I also joined the National Writers' Club that had a newsletter full of good market information. That led to a job reviewing records for ROCKINGCHAIR magazine. Experimenting with haiku gained me acceptance in BROKEN STREETS and TIOTIS. I also had some success entering lyrics in The American Song Festival competition. Finally, in 1984, I broke into the foreign market with the acceptance of my horror story, "The Weight," by THE GLASGOW MAGAZINE in Scotland. That was followed shortly after by poems in London's LABEL MAGAZINE and another eerie story in the English zine, STRIDE. So began my foray into serious horror writing that lasted the rest of the decade. To gain success, then, I learned the markets, wrote about subjects I knew well, and entered my work in contests. Being persistent was the key, though. That's true for every budding author.