Rejection, rejection, rejection...

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

  1. Teladan

    Teladan Active Member

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    Longstanding writer, but I haven't sent anything out before. First rejection. Despite the 90 day wait period it only took a few days. Not sure what that says. I suppose it was a very short story I sent in. I knew how prevalent rejections were, and the culture surrounding them, so I wasn't annoyed at all. However, I did expect at least a little bit of feedback. Can I ask, is it at all appropriate to ask why it was rejected in a response email? I'd like to know if the prose wasn't up to scratch or if it was related to the theme or style overall. I might go a very long time without acceptance because I only write niche and unpopular kinds of fantasy. I have no interest in catering to the Game of Thrones market, Dungeons and Dragons type fantasy, or YA. And in case that sounds disparaging or hostile, it's not supposed to be. I understand that most people want to read about heroes and battle-wizards, lizardmen, and the like. It's understandable that most want a gripping action-packed story.
     
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  2. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    There are markets for different types of fantasy and science fiction also, you just have to look for them. Most magazines have a fairly definitive list of requirements with regard to what they want from their submitters, if you don't usually read those that might be an idea. Others here may have a better idea of the markets for unusual fantasy.
    Good luck trying to get any feedback on your submissions, they only rarely give any in my experience, and it's one of the most frustrating things about submitting stories.
     
  3. madhoca

    madhoca Contributor Contributor

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    Unfortunately editors just don't have the hours in the day to write personal reponses to every person who submits. Everyone ought to accept this fact of life. I wouldn't waste your energy trying to guess why yours was rejected. It could have been any or all of the reasons you thought.
     
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Rejections rarely come with much of any feedback. And editors really don't have the time to get into why stories are rejected. The only time I've ever gotten feedback is when a story was close to being accepted. And even then there's never really any indication why it really didn't make it. It just comes down to there were better stories, in the minds of the editors.

    I strongly suggest NOT trying to follow up on a rejection, especially a form rejection. I hate to say it, but there is a good chance your story didn't even get read all the way through. Two lines, two paragraphs, two pages. If there is reason to reject your story within that timeframe, they'll stop reading and move onto the next. It's just the way it works. It sucks, but it's important to keep in mind submitting work is not the time to get feedback. Your stories should be the best you can make them by this point. Don't go into submitting looking for or expecting any sort of feedback. Most rejections are forms. And that just means game over for that story at that particular publication. Even if/when you do get feedback on something, it doesn't mean the editor is right. If they don't want to buy your story, how much of a say do you really want to give them?

    I was recently rejected by a place that did provide pretty detailed feedback. It included a paragraph or two from each of the top editors. There was some conflicting feedback among them. I was told I could resubmit, but the things that stood out as wrong to them didn't to me. Sure, I would have gladly made every change they wanted if they had bought the piece, but they didn't. The changes weren't major, but if there was real interest, I think they could have bought the story and then had me make the changes. Instead, I'm going to keep trying that story as it stands other places for now.

    One rejection mean nothing. Ten mean nothing. A hundred mean nothing. Don't let a rejection mean more than it does. It's all part of the process. Most stories get rejected most of the time. Keep moving forward. New submissions. New stories. It's a crazy ride.
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Um... So, this is a little strange. I haven't been rejected from anywhere in two weeks or so. I can't remember the last time or if ever this has happened. I feel like they could hit me all at once. I currently have 32 submissions out. A few are nonfiction (very few) and I think I have one or two poetry submissions out, but mostly it's short fiction.

    There is one of them I want so so much. It's been out longer than expected, but I know sometimes that means nothing. Please let it mean something this time. Please. Please. Please.
     
  6. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    I went a few weeks without a rejection and feared my email was broke! Was relieved to get a rejection just to confirm it worked
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I spoke to soon. A 46-day form rejection from The Sun. I guess at least I know my email is working.
     
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  8. Teladan

    Teladan Active Member

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    Sorry to hear this. Keep your spirits up. Thanks very much for your previous advice.
     
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  9. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Another rejection but feels like a relief. Agent is a complete cow on twitter!

    in hindsight I’ve sent too many submissions but it’s the knowledge that it’s so hard to strike lucky that made me submit so widely.

    ive now got a load of submissions I almost want to be rejected so I can pray for those who have the full MS and submit to a second tranche I’ve identified as being a better fit
     
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  10. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    I'm shocked by how much time it takes to research agents and to personalize query letters (easily shocked, I guess; shocked by how long it takes to write; to edit; to everything....).
     
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  11. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    I was rejected three times by the three penny review.

    They replied within 24 hours each time. Very rare.

    I am not feeling good about any aspect of this publishing game. I just don't think I'm a publishable writer.

    I don't think I write stuff that these types of literary magazines would like. I say that from whenever I buy one and read the contents. I realise the stuff I write would not fit with the other stuff in the magazine.

    I feel like I might be better off finding my niche or just being an 'outsider artist.'
     
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  12. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Agreed. I’ve learned a lot too. I researched and researched and built a list. I sent off loads of queries and in hindsight I did it too soon.
    Since then I’ve followed every agent on twitter, discovered loads more great agents who are so good they don’t need to waste their time on twitter! I’ve got loads of queries out at present and hand on heart the only benefit to half of them is that if I got an offer I could use it to leverage the agents I do want to look at my work quicker.
    I genuinely couldn’t work with some of them. But I now know better so if I don’t get lucky this time I’ll be far more focussed and professional next time. I’ve learned lessons from sending crap queries out etc so I’ll be better prepared
     
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  13. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    3 rejections is nothing! Is there another market? I don’t know the publication but can you write other stuff for elsewhere?
     
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  14. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Genre writing maybe?
     
  15. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Active Member

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    I know how you feel, I used to feel the same. Even now I’ve only actually had one proper story published, although a couple more have been accepted. It’s a very depressing process. But don’t give up! There’s got to be somewhere that fits with the kind of stuff you write. Good luck.
     
  16. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 1-day form rejection from The Threepenny Review.

    And since we are talking about Threepenny. They are always super quick to reject. It's a literary publication, I would say on the highbrow side. Very, very hard to get into. The actual publication is printed newspaper style (like on newspaper paper and printed and folded like a newspaper). They publish some of the top contemporary writers out there. Also, great poetry in those pages. I recommend this one as a reader.

    As a submitter, I also recommend it. Most of the top literary publications take forever to respond. This one doesn't. You will most likely get a rejection in a day or two. There is an interview with the editor on duotrope where he admits how far something is read before rejecting. It ain't far. But if you think publishing comes easy, here's a quick punch in the gut back to reality. You've got to have a killer beginning and really make sure every line compels an reader to go onto the next. You always want that, but it's something to really look at with a good amount of rewriting before submitting to Threepenny.

    That said, I do have a friend who has published poetry with them. And I would say that's even harder than selling a short story. So, it does happen. You just have to be amazing, and you should believe your work is flawless if you want a real shot there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  17. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Like I said in my earlier post, it's not rare for Threepenny at all. And no one is good at the publishing game. But it's not really a game, is it? It's putting our best work out there and seeing how it stacks up, compares to the competition. I don't know what you're reading for journals and magazines, but what is it you don't like about the works they are publishing? There are a lot of them out there. I have definite favorites, I don't dislike any that I read. Are you trying to write literary fiction? If so, keep reading. You'll find more places you like than don't like. I recommend The Gettysburg Review, from a reading standpoint. They just put out really good stuff. Don't think for one second it's easy to sell them something. But it is a pleasure to read each issue. If you can swing it, think about a subscription. I think we need to read more than one issue to really get to know a publication. The Gettysburg Review has been something I've been reading longer than I've been really at this short story thing. I first subscribed just because I wanted to read it. It was from reading their stories that I even thought about writing my own short stories.

    FYI -- I have no ties to The Gettysburg Review. They have never published me. I have been rejected (always forms) from them several times. They are still and will always be one of my favorite journals to read.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  18. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    But you've gotten some MS requests, right? You must be doing something right. Granted, you might not want to work with some of them, but your query is working. I have only six queries out, all sent in the last month. Only six because I don't have a ton of time, but I also slowed my roll with everything going on in the world. The timing didn't feel right. I also don't know what I'm doing, really (this is my first round, not counting one I sent last fall, got good feedback, and then edited). The six are in my top tier and all biggies (but even if they read their slush, they rarely respond to anyone, so not holding my breath [but am incessently checking my email to a ridiculous degree]). I'll plan to continue to trickle out one or two a week, prioritizing ones that request the first chapter, first 50 pages, etc. Totally agree re: trolling them on Twitter, looking for interviews, etc. You can learn a ton.
     
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  19. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Active Member

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    Three 118-day form rejections from Baltimore Review.
     
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  20. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    I apologize if this sounds mean, but my question is sincere... if your stories don't match the magazine's typical material, why did you submit them there?

    My understanding of the advice given to us writers is to narrow down where we think we're a good fit, and only submit to those publications / agents / publishers / &c.
     
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  21. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Senior Member

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    Because I read what they say they want to publish on their website and they always say stuff like 'we're always looking for new voices in all genres' or 'we like any story that makes us feel something' or whatever.
     
  22. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    The best examples are what they actually publish. Submission guidelines can sound quite similar even between publication that differ quite a bit in the actual work they are putting out there.
     
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  23. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 28-day form rejection from Ploughshares.
     
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  24. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Active Member

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    In the past week, I’ve had rejections by these places:

    1. The Word YA diverse Mentorship programme (personal rejection with some positive feedback)

    2. Creative Future Writers’ Award (by virtue of receiving an email with the shortlisted applicants, which I was not on)

    3. Plenitude (120-day form rejection)
     
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  25. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Rejection just sucks real bad sometimes. This is a crying-my-eyes out day.
     

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