I seem to be a slump lately, which may seem odd being that I've been announcing published stories for the last few months. Most of those were also sold months ago. In fact, one was sold over a year ago that has yet to actually make it into print. This slump means that I'll have nothing lined up to announce for a while and that's a bit depressing given how well things were going.
Not that rejections are a bad thing. It just means I haven't found the right market for the story yet. The five shorts currently in my submission juggling routine are good. Not that I'm trying to sound over confident, but I do believe in them. They're good stories. I've pulled a couple others that I feel were rejected with merit and need some further tweaking before they return to submissions. They'll return soon.
Sitting here in my slump, it seems fitting that I revisit a few thoughts on rejection.
Don't take them personally. Yes, they can be depressing. Someone didn't find your baby as cute as you think it is. Writing is subjective and there are a lot of markets out there. As long as you still believe in your story, keep looking for the right one.
Some of rejections are a long time coming. Don't spend your time watching your inbox for a response. Spend your time writing your next story. And then submit that. And write something else. It's not uncommon for responses to take three months and playing that 'I made it to the three month mark' doesn't mean a darn thing. I've found that submissions that significantly go over the expected response date are more often than not for a reason and it's not good. It's either A - the submission has been lost or B - the market died. And yes, that last one happens more often that I expected, so it's not a bad idea to check up on the market and to send out an email to check the status of the submission, especially if it's not a sim sub market. No need to have your story sitting out there in the cold doing nothing.
Find sim sub markets when possible so your story can be multitasking while it's out there in the big wide world. If none of those are a good fit, look for markets with good turn around times, such as weeks rather than months. If my story isn't a good fit, I'd much rather know sooner than later.
Don't over think the form rejection. It's a form rejection. It's not a secret code. It's simply a no thanks. Send the story somewhere else.
Appreciate personal rejections but don't fixate on them. Remember, this is all subjective. Like any critique, read it, digest it and apply the tweaks your gut agrees with.
Most importantly: a rejection will only become an acceptance when you find the right market. Keep submitting.