Sunday, May 31, 2015

October Submissions: the final report

You remember my October Submissions. Submitting a story every day in October, blah blah. I finally got my last response, so can finally give the full picture on how things turned out for me. I know you're excited.

Well, one of them resulted in my first acceptance. "Adventuring" was submitted to Daily Science Fiction on October 29, and in December they got back to me with the acceptance. It was published on April 9.

Of the other 30 submissions, I withdrew one. I'd received no acknowledgement email, according to The Submission Grinder nobody was hearing anything, and a few Googles reflected more of the same, so I sent my withdrawal email in January. I received the acknowledgement of that this week. Time means funny things when it comes to publishing, be it book or magazine.

So of the other 29 submissions, I received 6 personal rejections. The other 23 were form rejections. I think. My personal policy is that if I'm confused even a little about whether it's personal or a form, then it's probably a form. This could be incorrect, but in the absence of consistent and specific guidance, you have to make your own way.

So what did I learn?

One "yes" and (effectively) 30 "no's" can still make me happy.

Many of my stories, which were "good enough", certainly need some manner of work or another. Persistence is one thing, stubbornness is another. Distance (and repeated rejection) helps one be a bit more objective about whether a story is working. And you know? In 2015, I've already received more personal rejections than I had in all my time before now. I'm also submitting more stories, so that may skew things a bit. I've also received a rewrite request, which I'd never gotten before, so we'll see how that plays out.

I need to finish (and/or finish editing and rewriting) more short stories, so I can do it all again this year. It was an interesting exercise, and I think an important one. Being inured to rejection, and to the stress of sending your work to possibly callous strangers, are major things for writers.


  1. I was shocked at how some rejections could leave me feeling pretty good about my writing! I've gotten some that were very complimentary, usually saying that the story submitted just doesn't fit into the particular issue/anthology they're putting together. Even a form rejection inviting me to submit something again in the future is quite positive — better than being told never to contact them again, anyway!

    1. I think one of the rejections which made me feel best was from an editor who said he remembered me from a prior submission and was happy to see more of my work. That was worth quite a lot for me! And yes, I've received another recently which asked to see more, and I plan to send more as soon as I'm done waffling about which piece of appropriate length is best.