Exit Strategy Retrospective

Exit StrategyMy first published story, “Exit Strategy,” appeared two years ago at 365 tomorrows, an online SF e-zine founded by B. York, J. Loseth, Jared Axelrod, J.R. Blackwell, and Kathy Kachelries, that specializes in flash fiction. As it describes itself on its web site:

“365 tomorrows is a collaborative project designed to present readers with a new piece of short science and speculative ‘flash’ fiction each day. Launched August 1st 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year, we’ve been on the wire ever since.”

Not only does 365 tomorrows focus on flash fiction, but it takes the flash-fiction paradigm a step beyond most publications by limiting it to 600 words or less–a fun challenge for writers and a delight for busy readers.

In addition to reading the stories, 365 tomorrows’s site includes news updates, biographies and recommended readings from its founders and other members of its creative team, and includes an opportunity for readers to engage in discussions on various future-looking topics in its forums.

The forums are a particularly nice feature. For each story published, 365 tomorrows creates a forum topic that permits readers to provide comments and feedback about the story. If you are a writer–especially one just beginning to submit stories–you know how rare and exceptional it is to obtain actual feedback, good or bad, to your stories. You hopefully also know how valuable that feedback can be and you are ready to see criticism without letting it slow you down in pursuit of your craft. Very few publishers offer such a feature, and 365 Tomorrows is one that does.

The feedback for “Exit Strategy” was great (but “spoiler alert,” if you don’t read the story first) and mostly complementary. 365 tomorrows does not pay for stories–it’s an exposure-only publisher. According to Duotrope, the SF e-zine’s acceptance rate is presently 38.46% and its usual turnaround time on submitted stories is one or two months. So it’s a great place to submit if you’re looking for exposure rather than pay, once you’ve familiarized yourself with its guidelines.

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