strike 4

Yucky. This story I wrote, this story I really liked…has now been rejected by 3 literary journals and 1 contest. I never EXPECT my story to be embraced, but I always HOPE it does. (There is a difference). Today I got rejected by the venue that was MOST unrealistic yet the one I MOST HOPED for. It was a contest with a big ass prize. A longshot for most people including me.

I am being more honest with my desires these days. I am not going to poo-poo the contest. I really wanted to win, I hoped to win, even though I didn’t expect my story to win. How’s that for desperate optimism? Bleah.

There are 3 more literary journals left to respond. Then, I’ll have to regroup. Revise the story, send it out to more journals or more likely, toss it into the purgatory pile of “stories I can’t bear to look at again.”  Keep on submitting.

Yes, I do simultaneous submissions–I learned this from a publishing panel full of agents and litmag editors. Send your stories out simultaneously. Doing it in parallel (one after another) is going to take a year you’ll never get back. And unless you’re John Updike, the realistic chances of all litmags accepting you are slim. If they all accept you, or you get multiple acceptances? Well, as they say in business, that’s a “high class problem.” In other words, let’s hope for such a problem.

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8 Comments

Filed under Publishing, Writing

8 responses to “strike 4

  1. Congratulations for submitting! It takes guts to do it. Our most famous writers submitted all the time and got rejected a lot. You are really brave to put yourself out there.

    I’m proud of you. Keep at it! What if you gave up just before the submission that wins? You will get there – you have already published in at least one great magazine that I know of. And write some more stories.

    Our mutual teacher, the one winning the most awards, is my inspiration in this department. She has such a work ethic – and she submitted like crazy. You know her story I assume. She got plenty of rejections…

    Of course I haven’t submitted anything to anybody all term. But now that break is here, and you’re being so persistent and gutsy and inspiring, I will turn my attention to it.

  2. I’m sorry. I know how truly “yucky” that feels. But don’t give up after only 4 rejections! All my published stories were rejected before the acceptances came in. (And once AFTER the acceptance came in and I had already pulled the story—oh, the disorganization of simultaneous submissions.)

    I like your system, though. Batches of 6-7, then regroup, revise, and send again? That makes sense. I’m coming to a tail end with one of my batches and I think it’s time to regroup. Your tenacity is inspiring.

  3. Randa

    Hang in there, lady! It’s awesome that YOU know you like your story. That’s key. You have your self-validation in place. Just keep truckin’. I’m proud of you!

  4. you are all too sweet. thanks. i just know that people get rejected over and over again. in my case, i had it easy for my first story to be published (the first story i ever wrote, the first time i ever submitted a story to a litmag…got published by that litmag, one i chose because “i liked it” and i had no idea how well regarded it was)…and now it’s a hard time struggling to regain that first magic blush.

    they say it takes many many rejections before being published. well now i think i’m paying my dues AFTER the fact, to make balance.

  5. Have you ever tried writing your story Jade? I find that fiction has a tough time catching up to reality – especially with some of the situations I know of. Plus I would imagine from your perspective and writing styly it would be very readable, probably more like a James Herriot story 🙂

  6. Having lots of different stories to send out simultaneously helps too. Writers get into this thing where they think, “This is my best story. This is the one I will send out now.” But often it’s about how a story strikes the editor at that moment (so you might not be the best judge of what your most publishable story is), and sometimes an editor will respond to one submission by saying, “This one didn’t quite fit, but I like your style, so do resubmit,” in which case being able to resubmit immediately makes a great impression. At least it does on me.

  7. I really, truly believe that the key to success as a writer is persistence. Never give up, and you will get it all published – short stories, essays, novels – eventually!

  8. now it’s up to strike 7.

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