Friday, September 26, 2014

The submission and rejection cycle

I've got...four stories still out at magazines. I got a form rejection from one magazine this week. I'm dreadfully hopeful about one of my submissions, in such a manner that each email I have makes my heart leap into my throat, like it's the rejection coming in. Or an acceptance. I just can't even.

But. I looked through my email, like you do, and realized that a story I'd essentially forgotten about had a personal rejection. Considering I've had like, four personal rejections, you'd think I would have remembered. But that's the thing with personal rejections; they are still a rejection.

In a way, a rejection is better when it's clearly a form. Cut and paste. Because otherwise there are so many questions. Like, what was the one thing that made this a no? Can't you tell me and give me a chance? (This is what the mythic "Revise and Resubmit" is with regards to novel querying; I don't think it tends to happen with short story markets)

Especially if after the rejection, you see oblique snark on Twitter which may or may not be about you. It probably isn't about you. But what if it is?

But a good thing to remember as a writer, at any stage: don't do it. Don't reply to the email, don't reply to the comments. That's not what you want to do, even when it's what you think you want to do. No good can come of it (that I know of, and that I've ever heard. Ever).

Just settle your biscuits and step away. Do not engage.

Just dust yourself off, make a notation of the rejection (in your spreadsheet, or on Submission Grinder, or both. Whatever.) Submit the story again. Reread. Make edits where needed. Rock that shit.

And one day. One day, there will be an acceptance. I must believe this.


  1. "Thank you for your time and consideration" and move on. Anything else is a mistaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!

    The only thing I have out on submission right now is for an anthology, and the decisions aren't going to be sent out until February, so for now, I'm not pooping myself every time I have an email notification. But I have BEEN THERE (and it sucks). Good luck!

    1. Yeah, anthologies take FOREVER. I haven't submitted to one yet, but I've seen their projected times.