The secret to getting published is not just about getting your best work out the door.  It’s about getting the right piece of work to the right editor.  To do that, you’ve got to play matchmaker.  To be a good matchmaker, you’ve got to read…A LOT.

I used to eat books for breakfast and belch them out at dinner.  Nowadays, I chew my way slowly through books and short stories, reading in tiny bites as the 2-year-old allows.  Besides one or two periodical markets that I read inconsistently, I have no honest feel for the short story market.  As for what’s going on in the world of books, I’m clueless.  Most of the books in my reading pile are recommended by friends.

So I’m trying very hard to remedy the situation by committing to read one short story a day.  They may not always be available on the web, but I’ll post a list of the stories I read each week, provide any available links, and maybe talk about any stand-outs.  I don’t have any plans to write actual reviews so much as share what I learn from them, if anything.  There’s so much to be gleaned by what editors choose to publish, how their authors are presented by a market, and letters to the editors or online comments made by readers.

So without further ado, I offer this week’s list — which is a little short, five stories, sorry about that — all available in the current issue of The Pedestal Magazine, a market I’m interested in breaking into.

1.  “Perched” by Andrew S. Fuller

2.  “Giant Killers” by Steve Rasnic Tem

3.  “Tresses” by Anne M. Pillsworth

4.  “Pictures of You” by Rob Davies

5.  “The Last Man on Earth” by Bruce Holland Rogers

All of them are enjoyable stories, very short, which is kind of nice when you’re reading on screen.

“Giant Killers” I liked especially because the language was so wonderful, the whole thing was a giant metaphor, and I think he did an amazing job of trying to communicate what it’s like to be a parent.  My favorite line:  “He knows he is every impossible job they will ever have, every unreasonable boss.”

I also liked “Pictures of You” quite a bit.  My only criticism would be the last paragraph felt unnecessary and was inconsistent with the story’s POV.  I only noticed it because I did exactly the same thing with a story of my own, switching from Third Person Limited to Omniscient in an effort to get in a little epilogue…which made this story a little bit more endearing to me, because I get why the author did it.  That said, I don’t think it detracted at all from the story.  Great visuals.  Still thinking about it a day later, which is a good thing if you’re a short story.

One thing I noticed when I was putting this together was two of the authors I read didn’t have any links included in their bios, which I thought was a bit of a missed opportunity on their parts…and also a little puzzling considering they’re published in an online market.  I don’t know if it’s because they don’t have an online presence or if they just didn’t include it in their bios.  That’s too bad.  Even though I don’t have a big readership, word of mouth is word of mouth, which means clicky on the linky.  And if there’s no linky?  Snap!

Authors, make it easy for us bloggers and readers to spread the word!  We want to see you succeed!  Give us the linky!

So there ya go…five stories read, five stories smarter (hopefully). 🙂  Next week I’ll try to have a longer list, get caught up with the days in the year.  And as I finish books, I’ll try to share those too.

What are you guys reading?

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