I wrote the following in response to another blogger’s call for writerly resolutions:
In 2019 I got a first book published (prose or prose poetry). It was pub'd by a tiny press without resources for any kind of marketing. But it’s a handsome book and the publisher is a sweetheart. Figuring out how to get it out into the world has been, well, a hobby ever since.
I like performing so I was going to open mics in our very active SF Bay Area literary scene -- I sold a few copies, I traded for other people’s books (I like trades!) -- but then the pandemic came along. The boxes have been gathering dust. So I've started doing something I always wanted to do -- I'm sending free copies to people I like and admire. I've only sent a few out this way so far. I include a handwritten letter. I am shy about sending to people I don't know personally. But I'm poised to do so. So I will be doing that in 2021.
There were years there when rejection was so hurtful I did few submissions. In 2017 I put together a poetry manuscript, motivated by a contest. Though the nucleus of the manuscript is published poems, many of my favorites were unpublished. So, while waiting to hear back from the contest judges, I started sending out the unpublished poems. The manuscript didn’t win the contest, but most of the poems have been published now in ezines. I will send the manuscript to other presses/contests in 2021.
I have another prose manuscript, and I've been able to place excerpts in a few literary venues. I have gathered almost 150 rejections for excerpts. The full manuscript has been rejected only three times. I will put more energy into getting the manuscript out in 2021.
Then there are all the poems that fill up notebooks. Since 2017 I have been regularly sending out work and rejection no longer feels so crushing. Acceptances happen now and then. Dreams of literary fame continue to haunt my chinks and crannies, of course, because I'm a dreamer. I sent out two poetry submissions before writing this comment. I got one rejection this morning. In my three-person writing group we use: #keepyournumbersup ... So when I'm feeling discouraged I remind myself to put out some of those good poems to places that haven't yet had the opportunity to read them. Every editor is a reader. If I've sent a poem to 20 places, it's been read 20 times, right? I wonder how many readers a published poem gets?