The Craft explores a different aspect of the writing process each month. For December, I asked Alex Shvartsmanwho’s sold nearly 60 short stories and is the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects series of anthologies and the brand-new Coffee: 14 Caffeinated Tales of the Fantasticabout getting published. Here’s what she had to say…

Photo by JeanMarie Ward   

James Aquilone: You’ve had pretty good success getting published in the short fiction markets over the last three years. What’s your secret? Does it involve bribes?

Alex Shvartsman: Absolutely — I do accept bribes from editors in exchange for submitting my stories to them. I mostly prefer these bribes in the form of chocolate, coffee, and flattery, but ultimately I’m flexible.

I attribute my relative success in short fiction publishing to my total lack of discipline and attention needed to write an actual novel. I’m like that dog in Up. While talented writers are spending months and years on writing the next Great American Novel, every time I start thinking about my own novel-in-progress, SQUIRREL! — a short story idea hijacks my brain and won’t let go until I’ve written it down. My total word output for the year isn’t all that great — but it’s all short stories, so it seems like a lot.
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