Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Selling "Pure Southern"

I'd never written much in the way of crime fiction. Only once, a high-dollar sale to an anthology some years back, a yarn with the title of "Two Gun Bob is Dead and I Ain't Feelin' So Good Myself".

Then, not too many months back, I wrote another one: "Pure Southern". Since I'm not into self-publishing (I consider it a mug's game for creeps and idiots), I looked around for a market where I could try to sell it. Sadly, there seem to be almost no professional markets for short crime stories in this day and age. All of the magazines are just about gone. There was ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE and ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and...well, that's about it.

So, I sent it to ELLERY QUEEN and, after a few weeks, they rejected it, reluctantly, and asked to see more material from me. Just like old times! Unfortunately, I rarely write crime fiction and didn't have anything else to send them. But I still had "Pure Southern" to try to sell. There apparently were lots of small press markets that pay a few bucks for stories, but I hate giving my work away. That's for the self-published folk and the pathetic newbies and losers. I need money for my fiction, not the knowledge that it's in print and nothing else.

Then I recalled THE BIG CLICK, an online crime fiction magazine that pays real money for real stories by real writers. I sent it to the editor, Nick Mamatas. He accepted the tale, and now it's in the latest issue of The Big Click.

You can see it here:


"The people, anyway; they’re always cold. Cold eyes, cold hands, cold hearts; like blocks of icy steel the whole sorry lot of them." (From 'Pure Southern' by James Robert Smith.)


MarkGelbart said...

That's a pretty good story.

Maybe Ellery Queen rejected it because they were afraid of your use of stereotyped characters.

Ellery Queen is a boring magazine, too generic. I bought a double issue once and could barely get through it.

I'm a big fan of Film Noir movies. I have just about every collection that comes out on DVD.

James Robert Smith said...

Editors are a strange lot. If you hit one on a particular day, a story will pass muster. Next day, nope.

I once sent a story to an editor who rejected it. Sometimes I will NOT give up on a story and will submit it for years (I famously sold one story after submitting it for 18 years). At any rate, I'd forgotten over time that this editor had seen the story already and sent it to him again, years later. He accepted it! It was only later that I recalled that he'd rejected the same story long before.