Rejection, rejection, rejection...

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by deadrats, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone experience with #GWstorieseverywhere? I want to submit an entry for this month...
     
  2. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Active Member

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    I didn’t get paid for the non-fiction, proceeds go to a mental health charity for the disorder I suffer with so I keen to submit.

    Both places are on Duotrope. The competition web page is still up saying they’ll decide in early summer, so it doesn’t look like they’ve announced winners yet. I just wish they’d get on with it. I don’t know if I should just send my story somewhere else anyway.
     
  3. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Active Member

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    Ah, typical! :( At least it was only 43 days, if only they were all that quick. How are we supposed to get things published if we have to wait 6 months for replies?
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    We have to write enough good stories to have out there that it doesn't matter how long they take. I really try to keep around 50 submissions out. And I make myself send out something just about every week. Six months isn't that long. Quick replies are usually rejections. We want the wait if it means editors have some interest. I know it sucks to wait, but rejection sucks more. Just keep writing and sending new stuff out. That's how we get published. :)
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 38-day form rejection from Five Points.
     
  6. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Granta was a bust for me, a couple of literary places left and after that I will not be submitting to any more literary mag's with my work. I feel my work just doesn't fit in the literary mould, it is more otherworldly or Sci-Fi or Fantasy based, and doesn't work with literary publications. Whether that is what that particular piece is being rejected on I don't know, but it is likely it is at least part of the reason and if it is then I am kind of wasting my time really. At the very least it will give me something more specific to aim for.
    That aim will probably now be Sc-Fi and Fantasy publications in the future; see if anything comes of that.
     
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  7. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. It only means some dweeb with 20 stories to review - clicked the ditch button after reading your second paragraph. Anyway, their 'window' re-opened yesterday for one month only...
     
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  8. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    My point is that if they are only interested in 'literal' stories, stories about real life and only that, then my stories simply wouldn't fit, as they always involve an element of, what I like to call, the 'other'. I just don't want to waste my time submitting to a publication that was never going to publish it anyway, no matter how good the story, or how well written.
    Does that make sense?
     
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  9. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Well - I can talk with either head - on this issue...

    Sometimes - flicking to New Yorker or Granta or AN LIT MAG...and all the protagonists are CW professors, and all the bios are [arch, hyper-self-conscious slob] 'writers' - ultimately hawking their bookie + workshop placements at 6999$ - one might feel cynical...but I am self-aware, knowing this is only my prejudice at play, I hope...

    ...and when the writing ain't 'that good...' and...and...I see...STOP, STOP, Mat

    But ultimately if you or I have written something elegant it should find a home, or at least receive a most civil response, possibly...

    ...

    And when you can't even find a single one of these magazines that you'd want to spend 10 minutes with...then I suppose there is no future :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  10. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I've had a few civil responses, but as for well written, ultimately who actually knows? The piece in question is not bad, I think, worthy of something, I think.
    See a pattern there?
    Anyway, published in a lit mag or a sci-fi mag (online or otherwise) is all the same to me really. I don't have DR's background or quals, or anyone else's for that matter, so I'm not so worried about the kudos of the literary publication. As long as I can find someone, somewhere, I'm good.
    Anyway, at the moment I'm working on some software thing for work so won't be writing for a bit, not until it's finished.
     
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  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The real point is that all these publications are really hard to break into. Everywhere. Literary and genre. And a few years ago all I had were hundreds of rejections. Now, I can still count the number of short stories I've sold on one hand (not including nonfiction and poetry). The name of the game is rejection, most of the time. The name of the game in persistence all of the time.

    But I do feel what you're saying only in reverse. I've written a few genre stories that were rejected by all the big genre publications. That sucked. I didn't want it to be that hard. And since I don't know genre publications the same way I know literary publications I decided to try a few of my genre pieces in the literary world. One of those pieces has made it to the final round of consideration for a place I've wanted to get in for years. I've sent this place my best work. I've gotten a personal rejection from them. And, now, they like a science fiction/fantasy story? I hope they will take it, but this place has rejected me many times. Still, we'll see what happens.

    I have seen some genre-type pieces when reading literary journals. Sure, they're not the norm, but a few of them slip in. And I have seen some literary places call for some genre-bending work. I think for a literary audience the story has to work on more than one level. @Krispee -- I think your work does this. If you're getting personal rejections that means you have a good story that is NOT out of place in the literary world. It's your call, of course. I'm just saying, as someone who has read your work, you could publish in both literary and genre publications. You are a brilliant writer. Publishing is never easy.

    Like @matwoolf said, Granta just reopened for one month only. And my submission that is still out with Granta is one of my genre stories. I'm expecting to be rejected because it is Granta. But if they reject me before the submission window closes, I will try them again because it's Granta.

    Actually, about half the stories I have on submission right now have genre elements. They could all be rejected, but the same could be true of stories that are grounded in reality or the real world. Maybe sending these sort of stories out is making things harder for myself or maybe they'll stand out in the slush pile. We'll see... But I did think my genre stories were worth paying submission fees to send out to literary journals.

    The thing I hate about genre publications is that so many of them do not allow simultaneous submissions. And then I also worry if I'm genre enough. @Krispee -- your genre stories are more literary than genre stories. If the last one you sent me is ready, I would send that to Granta. I don't want to go into specifics about your work on the forum, so message me if you're not sure what I'm talking about. That one was pretty literary in theme and writing style.

    I know rejection sucks. I know what it feels like to wonder if there is any point. I still feel that way quite often. Just keep your options open. But whatever you decide, someplace (genre or literary) WILL pick up your work. I think for everyone it feels like it's harder than it should. It takes more tries than we think make sense. But it does happen. Good luck, my friend.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  12. HeathBar

    HeathBar Member

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    BTW, Dead Rats - haven't forgotten about this [Paris Review's Object Lessons]. I read the first couple stories, but then committed to having my MS ready to send out for querying by month-end. Hopefully will return my attention to it soon!
     
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  13. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    There's a lot of truth to reading up through the second paragraph. I worked for a publication where I was taking a long time to get through submissions because I was reading them until the end even when I knew from the start that I would reject it. Then I was told to stop reading those stories until the end. At least the first two paragraphs get read. Reading on is a judgement call (perhaps by an intern or volunteer reader or a graduate student). The Granta editors buying stories are NOT the first to read them.

    For every short story I've sold, I reworked the beginning (after so many rejection) before it sold. I had liked my original beginnings for those stories for a long time. But would someone who has 25 more stories to get through that day or week read on? I don't think stories need to start with a bang, but they need to be very convincing that in fact they are the opening for a really good story. Getting past a first reader in tough. They're looking to be hooked and drawn in. They are looking for a reason to read that third paragraph. And so on...
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Good luck with the MS and querying. One of my favorite short stories is in that book. It's the Carver story Shall we Dance. I don't exactly know what it is about that story, but every time I read it I think that's exactly the kind of story I want to write. I'm in love with the ugliness of mundane beauty.
     
  15. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    RE: 2 para

    I did it for a while - giving every story the twice over - ruminating how 'in some shape or form' this tale might be effective. Then, and it is very tiring, consuming - I'd miss a few days - and the stories would pile up. I became more ruthless in the sift.

    Then I proof-read a copy of the magazine itself, and it was not for me. I dropped out.

    I recall the two, maybe four/five greats that I passed up the food chain. Most times the quality write is easy to spot - is my opinion.

    Still, sympathies remain for those 'blue collar v the pirates in space' odysseys 'aboard a Stanford torus.'

    ...

    Was it Heinlein [sp?] - all that 'boy scouts on Venus?' It didn't matter how the subject matter might be hackneyed. The writing was so clean, with genuine sense of adventure.

    ...writing clean is so difficult.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  16. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    @deadrats - Don't worry I'm not giving up, just trying to simplify my aim. I'm aware that nowhere is easy. I haven't finished that piece you were talking about yet and now my time is limited as I have studies to get through. I will get back to writing soon as, perhaps a little space will help me to finish a few things off.

    @matwoolf - You spelled it right. I like Heinlein, better than Asimov actually, and I read a lot of Asimov. 'All you zombies' my favourite. I remember reading a book called 'all the light we cannot see' sometime back and his writing was so clean and sparse, not an ounce of literary fat in there. Beautiful stuff; no wonder he won an award.
     
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  17. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Damn! I just got probably the most encouraging rejection letter of my life from a place that I love. Really, I was that close? But, still, this just sucks. Of course, I will try them again. I really wanted this one. And this was for one of my genre stories at a strictly literary publication. I don't think that's why I was rejected. If anything, it might have helped me get as far as I did.

    When I say genre story, these stories still have a strong literary pull and focus. Sometimes the best way to tell any kind of story is with a new and different approach. I've played around with this. Not sure how it will turn out for me.

    All rejections suck and are stupid.
     
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  18. HeathBar

    HeathBar Member

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    Congratulations and I'm sorry. Ugh.
     
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  19. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Member

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    I submitted my novel to over 100 agents and got rejected by about 25%. Nothing from the others. From about 3 of them, I got comments about my writing being 'strong' or the idea being 'interesting' but that was about it.

    Once I accepted the project as a failure, at least for now, I could let it go. The worst part was having all the delusion fueling you. "This is gonna be the one! This is gonna save my life!!" And the time period where you come crashing down after that. It's like coming down from an vodka binge. It's gonna hurt. And many of the things you did before are gonna feel silly. But down I came. I feel alright now.
     
  20. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I want to scream!!! I demand more immediate success. Sent that story to a few more places today. This is the second time this story has gotten close at good publications with this particular story. Honestly, I can't really tell if this one is that good or not. I've still got the story on submission at more places. Something about it almost works. I think it's sort of a hunt for the right editor.

    I do hope the editor that rejected me today does sort of remember me the next time I submit. I plan to address them directly in my cover letter, mentioning something or other from it. I have no idea if that will make a difference.
     
  21. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Accepting failure is something all the writers who don't make it do. Those delusions are my mealticket. Not every attempt at publishing is followed by a crash down. Several of us here have or has what it takes for some sort of success. Granted we're talking about the literary journal and magazine world, but a lot of us are aiming for the big guys. And it totally can happen! It's just super hard. If aiming for the top is what you consider delusional, I hope more of it comes your way. Lowering your expectations is stupid. Much better to elevate your writing.

    I agree that some stories we write will never make it into publication, but we needed to write all those stories to be able to write that one that does make it. I think this applies to both novels and short stories, any kind of writing, really. It sort of comes down to how much you're going to give it and how much better can you get.

    And, yes, an acceptance from a place that seems delusional to think it would ever publish you feels a bit lifesaving. How sad it would be if that story was never submitted and put into the world in a grand way? Lost literature is a cultural loss. I'm not talking about my work but in general. I always encourage fellow writers to aim higher not lower.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  22. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Member

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    Wow
    At least to me, to believe there is any chance of success would be living in a fictional world.

    But I agree with the point we should write all the stories we have. My philosophy is basically 'focus on improvement, not success'

    I will keep trying
    But through gritted teeth and fully convinced I'm a failure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  23. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Member

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    I think you interpreted my 'accepting failure' comment too negatively. Sometimes it's a good thing to embrace the fact a project didn't work for whatever reason in order to move on - both creatively and life wise.

    I had way too much of my self-esteem on this novel project. I had my whole image based on this idea of myself as a novelist. Letting go of that enabled me to change things in my life I had been avoiding. It also led to write new stories again.

    'I will succeed with this no matter what' can be a helpful mantra. Yet it can also be unrealistic and limiting. That's just my experience.
     
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  24. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @Zeppo595 -- I noticed you change your response to me. Whatever. It's cool if you wanted to take back what you said or give it more though. It's also fine that life pulled you in a direction other than writing. There is nothing unrealistic about succeeding. I know more about rejection than you can imagine, but not everything is rejected. I don't see how wanting to succeed as a writer is unrealistic or limiting. I especially don't see what sort of limitations come with the desire to publish.

    I have no intention of abandoning the part of myself that is a writer. For me, it's more than an idea. It's something I've worked really hard for. It's more of an I will succeed whatever it takes more than no matter what. Persistence is one of a writer's best friends. That persistence is the no matter what or no matter what it takes. I had an idea about becoming a certain kind of writer. I wanted my literary works to be taken seriously and say something important. I was rejected hundreds of times before that even started to happen. And I've been rejected probably a hundred times or more since then. Trying really hard and not giving up is the foundation of becoming a successful writer. I've had some success. It was harder to achieve than I thought it would be. When I started this thread I had started to think it might not happen for me. What was the point. But if I had given up after 100 tries, it wouldn't have happened. It wouldn't have happened if I gave up after 200 tries. Okay, this is getting a little embarrassing. I spent years trying to sell to these publications. I didn't water down my goals. I worked harder and forced myself to be persistent.

    Sure, you can drop a project if you don't believe in it anymore. But that's a personal call. It's also a personal call to focus on other aspects of your life. If you needed to take writing off the table for awhile, that's okay, but it doesn't mean those of us racking up crazy amounts of rejection are being unrealistic and will ultimately fail. If that were true of everyone who wanted to be a writer, we wouldn't have any writers. This is NOT a delusional pursuit.

    Sorry if it seems like I'm being a little tough on you. I know you're new, but this thread is sort of a mini community with similar goals and aspirations. No one needs to be discouraged here or told that their dreams are delusional. We all know how hard this is. We celebrate each others victories and rejections because putting yourself and your work out there is hard. We can expect rejections, but that doesn't mean we have to let them stop us or that our writing isn't good enough. I just don't want any of the other members to get discouraged. Rejection can be discouraging enough. I want all my writer friends to succeed. I've read a lot of their work and see no reason why they can't or won't. No one is being delusional around here. How many of us have submissions pending at The New Yorker and Granta? Still not delusional in any way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  25. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, totally agree with this. I've written two novels, I think, and a bunch of other stuff, none of which will ever see the light of day now. They just aren't good enough. Perhaps if someone told me how good your writing has to be in order to be acceptable to those who publish I probably wouldn't have continued. I like to paint and draw sometimes, I have a lot of sketchbooks; I look back at those sketchbooks and see how bad I was back then, when I started. Writing is just as difficult and time-consuming, if not more so.
    So, it's a catch twenty-two situation: tell someone how high they will have to aim, how good they will have to get, right at the beginning, or let them believe in themselves, no matter how delusional that feels after the fact.
    How do you balance that?
    I didn't know then and I don't know now.
    Perhaps it depends on your goals, because everyone has something different to aim at.
     

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