This is how it started.

Once upon a time, a few of us were whining on Twitter.  “I don’t have any submissions out.  I used to sub much more than I am now, but I’m tired/worn out/don’t have anything new/too busy reading Stilettos and Shirley Temples to sub.”  (Yeah, so maybe I made that last excuse up.  So what?  It could happen!)  😉

There were six of us, and we were all in the same boat.  It’s not a good feeling.

So I said, “Hey, are you guys up for a challenge?”  And they were like, “Yeeeeeeeees…”  All paranoid-like, you know.  And I said, “How about if we get ten submissions out by the end of the month?”  And they were like, “Ooooookaaaaaay…”  And somebody came up with brilliant  hashtag, and #10bythen was born.  And I’ll tell you what: it’s motivating.

It works like this: At the beginning of each month, you decide whether or not you’ll be on board for #10bythen.  I’m taking November off, for example, since NaNoWriMo will eat all of my time.  But once you choose to participate, you have the entire month to submit ten submissions.  These can be ten different pieces, or if a piece is rejected immediately and you choose to send it out again, that’s cool.  They don’t need to be specially written that month.  They don’t have to be a specific genre, and they certainly don’t have to go out to specific markets.  Ten submissions.  That’s all.  This is a friendly competition (“Nyah nyah, I subbed my ten out faster than you did!”) but mainly it’s a support group.  We’re all in it together and we’re cheering each other on. This was designed to help, not create stress, although I’m seeing the tendency is to freak out.  Don’t do that.  There are enough real stresses to worry about; this is just a friendly kick in the pants.

If you do not make your #10bythen quota, then you write a groveling letter on your blog say how wonderful we are and how you’ll do better next time.  This is just for fun, so no crying jags, please.  This isn’t the time to publicly flog yourself, because that certainly isn’t constructive. Every competition must have a consequence, otherwise it’s all too easy to sit back or drop out completely.  This satisfies that need.

I have one more submission to complete this month’s #10bythen, and I’m doing it today.  That makes 20 subs for me in the last two months that I most likely wouldn’t have done otherwise, including “Stormlight”.  Without the extra push and support from the #10bythen crew, I wouldn’t have entered the contest.  So thanks, you guys! 😀

Please join us!  You’re so invited.  We’d love to have you.

Does anybody have any #10bythen stories to share?

14 Comments on “#10bythen”

  1. It’s so great how much our little competition has grown! I didn’t expect it to continue after that first month, and then someone was like, “Sooo, again?”

    “Yes, please.” 🙂

    I’m going to make my final push (I need three more for the month) on the 30th. A little last minute Hail Mary. Should be fun.

    If it wasn’t for #10bythen, there’s was an acceptance this month I know I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and another “short-listed” I wouldn’t have had.

  2. You’re such a trendsetter, darlin’. But hey, anything that gets me submitting more and not being a lazy arse is a good thing. Anyway, I’m in the 2nd round of editorial consideration with one story I submitted, and that’s directly attributable to #10bythen. Thanks, hon!

    Now I need to go submit a few more stories tonight, so I don’t have to grovel to you. Damn skippy I’m avoiding that! >:)

  3. Anthony: Yay for your acceptance! 😀 I don’t know how long #10bythen will last, but man, it’s definitely helping me. 🙂

    Thanks for doing it, Cate! It’s so helpful to use friends to motivate! 😀

    Kate: Thanks! The last sub was pretty intense, actually. I’m already thinking about what to send out for next month!

    Simon: Oh, grovel. Maybe in a future installment? 😛

    Yay, Aaron! With you on our side, we can’t lose!

  4. Hi all. Congratulations on your submissions. Now for a newbie question. Where do I start looking for people who want subs? Thank you and good work everyone!

  5. Hi Jenn! Thanks for swinging by!

    My go-to place is http://www.duotrope.com. It’s free, and it has thousands of different magazines looking for subs. You can either go to the Search page and search using a specific criteria, or you can go to the Deadlines page and see which deadlines are coming up. There are other wonderful places to get this info, as well, but Duotrope is by far my favorite. 🙂

  6. I wondered what #10bythen was all about. Thanks for clarifying it. Not sure I’m up for quite that many submissions, but then, maybe I need the kick in the pants. 🙂

  7. If wasn’t for #10bythen, I know I wouldn’t have bothered polishing up this last story, which is one that I’ve struggled with for months. It feels SO GOOD to be done with the damn thing.

    Thanks for inventing the game and letting me play!

  8. One of my #10bythen subs sold to Untied Shoelaces of the Mind! I’m also really glad it pushed me to get my reprints into circulation in the audio markets.

  9. This sounds like the Query Challenge that used to be on the Inkthinker blog. That year was my most productive one as far as sending queries goes and I was sad when it ended.

    Would #10bythen work for non-fiction writers / journalists? I can send out 10 pitches, but not stories in a month…these would need to be commissioned.

    I might do my own version of this, just to keep myself motivated and get those ideas out. Thanks for the inspiration!


  10. Hi cd! Thanks for reading! 😀

    Tailor #10bythen to yourself, by all means! The idea is to use each other for that little extra push that we all need. Use it for pitches, articles, queries, stories…whatever you need to send out in a month, count that toward your #10bythen. Hopefully we can all be a little more happy and productive.

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