Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thoughts on rejection

Yes, I'm still alive. I'm not writing. I'm not even editing. I'm working. Lots. And submitting, so hey, at least there is that. With two novels and six shorts bouncing around, I've been gathering a sizable rejection collection.

In general, the size of my collection doesn't get me down. I have only to look at my submission spreadsheet to see that rejection after rejection after rejection does sometimes end up with a big, cheery SOLD. Yes, it's in all caps in my file. I need them to stand out and remind me that there are happy endings. Okay, probably not for many of my characters, but for my writing.

The fun...should I really consider it fun? Probably not, so we'll put that in air quotes, shall we? The "fun" part is the rejection of short stories, many of which make the rounds to the same magazines over time.

A few things I've discovered:

I'm probably not alone in taking some small comfort in hearing, "I'm glad to have read your story, but it wasn't a good fit for us." At least they were happy to have read it, right? It wasn't torture. Hooray for that. Except multiple submissions have revealed this is a form rejection. Goodbye small comfort.

There really are awesome magazine editors out there that offer feedback. I haven't hit upon many of them, and they all specify not to email them back to thank them, so I'll say it here: Thank you! While it doesn't light up my day like an acceptance, at least I have some pointers on how to hopefully, eventually get one.

There is one story that I really like that no one seems to get. Why can no one see my brilliance? Come on. people! Yeah, yeah, fine, it might be time to set that one aside for now.

One day rejections are far less annoying that two month long rejections. If the story isn't right for you, yes, thank you, I'd love to move on as soon as possible. All these no simultaneous submission markets are killing me.

The rejection updates on The Grinder help us all remember that we're not alone. Most of us are getting rejections. And then there's that game we like to play / torture ourselves with: That market I submitted to has eight reported rejections today and I haven't received my response yet. Maybe they're considering my story. They must be, right? Aaaand, there's the rejection email. Never mind.


  1. sorry to hear - I actually had a really personalized rejection in my search for an agent the other day. I felt almost happy until it hit me it was indeed a rejection..

    1. Personal rejections are wonderful, aside from not being an acceptance. :)

  2. Right now I've got one short story making the rounds. So far it's got nothing but form rejections. I definitely relate to the "what do you mean, they don't like it?" feeling on occasion.

    The latest rejection took one day. I was so used to waiting months at a time that I got whiplash and felt even worse. Thinking, "Wow, I guess they really hated it then!" But maybe it's more a sign of an efficient editor than their personal feelings on the work.

    1. I like to think we just caught the editor at a moment when they had a few minutes to read a story and that story wasn't a good fit. Best of luck to you with placing your story.

  3. I understand completely. And yes, personal rejections are a tinsy-winsy little, bit easier to handle. Once an editor really like my submission, but rejected it. However, she like it well enough to give me great advice. And guess what, she was right!! That book is coming out Aug. 24.


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