1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Resubmitting stories

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Oct 1, 2015.

    I've been reading up on how to get stories (I'm aiming for flash fiction at the moment) published.

    Recommendations I've seen are to separate publishers into tier 1, tier 2, etc., and send down the tiers until something gets published.

    I'm only aiming at tier 1 at the moment.

    I'm told (or: read online) to expect at least 10 rejections for every acceptance, even if I'm going down the tiers and doing everything right.

    Some published authors seem to recommend immediately resubmitting stories that are rejected to another publisher/web magazine. Without, it seems even a rewrite. Is this really a good and reasonable strategy? It just seems scattergun to me.

    What would people on here recommend?
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to send mine out in batches. I'll probably start out with batches of five. If I get any feedback from the first batch I'll consider it and apply it before the next five. If the feedback is something like "it's good but not our style" then I wouldn't make a change.

    If I get rejected by all five with no explanation I'll probably do another five all the same. If all 10 reject it, I'll revise the query before sending it out again.

    Lather, rinse, repeat until I run out of places to submit or I get an acceptance. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  3. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    For the advice about immediately resubmitting without a rewrite: I think this is at least in part because relatively few places give any feedback at all. All but one of the rejections I've received was basically "thanks, but we're not sure it's quite right for us". The one remaining one praised the sense of detail, but said that she didn't quite get as much of a sense of the main character as she would've liked. That's kind of a subjective judgement, and I'm not sure what to do with it. So since you don't usually get much of anything to work with, you might as well just keep submitting and hope you get an acceptance.
     
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  4. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    Most rejections generally run along the lines of "we're not quite sure this was right for us" because most of the time that is, in fact, the case. Different publications have different aesthetics, different "flavours". This means that, quite often, a given piece will not be right for a given market even if there's nothing particularly wrong with it.

    That said, if a story is declined several times in a row, I'll usually take the opportunity to polish and rewrite it. And if I do receive specific feedback, I'll strongly consider using it.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with Krishnan's post. Sometimes there's nothing more you can do to improve the piece. Sometimes the piece just isn't a good fit for the market and/or the editor doesn't like it for some reason. If you think the piece is good, submit it elsewhere without making changes. That's a perfectly fine strategy. However, if the piece is repeatedly getting rejected, then you may need to revise further. Good luck!
     
  6. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's tricky for someone such as myself who doesn't know how good (or not) he is. I've recently learned something that made a particular flaw in my stories obvious to me. But, before I learned that thing, I was unable to see the problem.
     
  7. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Though publishers don't give much in the way of a breakdown - but what's the harm in reviewing? So it takes a bit of time.

    When you first submit you're all "gunho" - I'll be the next Rowling, etc. You think that the book is 100% "bullet proof". I learnt this the hard way with a family friend who works with a publishing company ... took me aside and basically said [aside from the publisher's standard rejection letter] that the book was a pile of c.r.a.p. Being 18, starry eyed, naïve and [I was just going to school to start my dream career [animal vet]] I thought it was the next best thing to sliced bread.

    On taking a second look I realized it was indeed c.r.a.p. I mean the main character sort of takes a backseat for half the book in the middle, the secondary characters are bouncing around like jackrabbits, and then the main character when it does show up again has a different personality than originally [with no real explaining except what is witnessed sort of 2nd hand through the secondary characters].


    The point - there is no harm in double checking one's work. Get a 2nd or 3rd person to review your book even if you can't figure why it was rejected.
     
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  8. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've just received my first rejection that went into detail as to why my story was rejected. The feedback is incredibly useful. Gold dust. I need more feedback like that.
     
  9. Aple
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    Aple Member

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    On my experience... and I have a lot with rejections....

    Don't resubmit without an extensive rewrite and always put it in the query that is a resubmission with edits.

    Also, I don't know where you heard the 10/1 ratio... but it's more like 100/1. At least in any of the genres I write.

    Are you going straight to publisher or to agent? It's frowned upon to do both at the same time, just so you know.
     
  10. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Keep sending. But before you do, re-read them. I come back to old stories of my own and send them out again. Let them do the rounds!

    But before they go I always give them a bit of spit and polish. Maybe improve them a little here and there. In some cases, flash fiction stories have grown into short stories as a result.

    I send out 5 at a time. Then I sit back and see if any stick. If not this time, then maybe later.

    Re-read them EVERY time and make them as good as possible. But don't attempt a re-write unless you KNOW you are making them better.
     
  11. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Hello @DefinitelyMaybe, would it be a big ask if I requested you share the rejection letter with us? I guess it may be personal but with you saying it's gold dust I'm mighty curious and thinking it may be useful/helpful for us other hopefuls to see what we're in for.
     
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  12. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would you be willing to share what that 'flaw' was? I understand if you don't want to. I've learned things over the years about my own writing that are, frankly, too embarrassing to talk about, even in an anonymous forum such as this.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't rewrite based on a form rejection. I'll consider it if the editor gives reasons for the rejection; even then it's just one viewpoint to consider. I rewrote the last paragraph of one story after an editor gave a few comments about what he didn't like about the ending. It sold on the next submission, so that was valuable feedback.
     
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  14. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Another thing to consider is that sometimes a story is simply not a good fit for a magazine, or anthology. However, that does not mean it is not good.

    Keep your stories in circulation. Eventually they will find a home.
     
  15. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are many reasons you may be rejected that have nothing to do with the quality of your work. Submitting to agents is a matter of timing that is not under your control, so it is a random variable to you... agents take in several thousand queries a year and select just a dozen or two to push. If they already pushing several, that is a time consuming process, and they would likely reject James Michener if he were alive and an unknown author... they just don't have time to push another.

    Your WIP should be in as perfect a shape as possible before you begin submitting it. Therefore there is nothing wrong with the shotgun approach to distribution. If your probability of acceptance by any one agent is one in thousand, then after a hundred queries your probability of being accepted by at least one agent is about 10% (9.5% to be exact).

    Obviously the query letter may be worth periodic tweaking. And I got constructive criticism from the one agent who requested, then rejected, the manuscript, with explanation, which generated a major rewrite of the first three chapters. And I continue to edit the master, as it is amazing how many residual typos you can find, even after a year of editing. Repeated to's, dropped nots, a phrase repeated... your eye can't see them. But that is not a major rewrite, it's a break from the frustrating query job, and a chance to remember why I still like the story.

    Query on!
     

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