Words By Jones

Ashton Jones discusses beer, writing, beer, dogs, beer, guns and coffee. Mmmm... coffee...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Rejection Letters

If you are a writer, you know about rejection letters. Whether submitting novels to publishing houses or arcticles and short stories to magazines and blogs, rejection letters are the gold-star industry standard for breaking your spirit. Don't let them, though. If you aren't getting rejection letters you aren't doing it right. Everyone gets rejections, even the big-name authors.

I just got a letter from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction regarding a story I recently submitted. Does that mean I retire the story and give up? No, it means I need to read the story again, see if it needs a fresh coat of paint, and send that sucker out to the next market on my list.

Just keep on writing and submitting. If you continue to hone your craft, improve your stories and incessantly bug editors with your manuscripts, you will get published, it's only a matter of time. Sometimes, it's a long, long time...

No one ever said that this business was easy money.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This is Stella. That is all, move along.

Cover letters for magazine submissions.

 Lets face it. The cover letter is the first thing the editor, or assistant editor, or assistant to the editor, or assistant to the assistant editor sees when they open your submission.

Should it be a big fancy hoorah? Complete with a play-by-play breakdown of your short story masterpiece?


Keep the damn thing simple. All you want to do is give the person reading the manuscript some very basic information. Who are you? Who is this addressed to? What are you sending? How should they contact you?

Keep it basic and to the point. Your manuscript will sink or swim on it's own merit. Any fluff you add here will just take time away from the reading of the manuscript. The cover letter should be professional, simple and forgettable. Print it in the same font and on the same paper as your manuscript. Preferably some variant of Courier on plain white paper.

Below is the basic format for magazine submission cover letters that has been passed down to me from on high. Use it well.

The man's name was Virgil...

Tried to start a story today. Got as far as describing the scene and character then I ran out of gas. I started a blog instead.

I started a blog. I feel special.

Oooh! Lookit! I started a blog!


Anyways, my name is Ashton Jones and you have probably never heard of me. I am a gunsmith by trade, and an aspiring fiction writer by night. It's all very complicated.

So, I have been writing since I was a teenager, but I have never taken it seriously at all. I recently decided to get back into it and am now writing about one short story a week. I have submitted stories to Analog, Weird Tales, Fantasy and Science Fiction and Tor.com since I started writing again and it feels great. I don't have high hopes of getting any stories accepted, just yet, but you'll never sell if you never try.

Anyways, getting back into writing has been a challenge, but I am enjoying it. Today, I just couldn't get any writing started so I decided to distract myself by creating a blog. I hope it isn't too terrible.

I will be using this to keep track of my writing progress, and you are welcome to tag along if you want. I can't promise that it will be a thrilling and grand adventure, but I hope it will be at least a little bit enlightening.

Ashton Jones