Rejection, rejection, rejection...

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

  1. Ed from Bama

    Ed from Bama New Member

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    Good morning to all-
    I do not deal well with rejection of any kind, so to avoid that with my writing, I never send an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher. All of my published print books- these are non-fiction outdoor oriented books, keep in mind- were done after signing contracts with the publishers after we had talked and talked and talked about what they wanted and when they wanted it. I also got some pay up front- incentive for me to get the books finished, I suppose.
    Sending unsolicited manuscripts- especially fiction- to magazines and other publishers is an almost certain prelude to rejection. With the current state of print publishing, most magazines that are still in business don't have nearly as much page space for work as they did previously, so the editors try to deal with well-known writers who bring an audience with them because of their earlier work.
    If am really hot to get a work published now, I have had good luck working with Kindle and other e-books. These self-publishing sites are really pretty nice, and a writer can actually build up a good following of readers.

    No, I do not like rejection.

    good day to all- Ed
     
  2. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    83 on submittable and probably around 50 or so more outside of that.
     
  3. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    Ok. And this is for 20 short stories? Honestly, my first reaction when you said 20 stories — was write MORE stories!

    I asked a question recently about how many stories people were writing each year. I wanted to set myself some writing goals. I don’t think anyone responded with a number.

    I have only been writing fiction short stories actively since later in 2019. I think I have been writing about 6 major pieces per quarter. I am not counting smaller poems or flash fiction, and I don’t write much of that anyway. There have been quarters when I was traveling and so was only journaling, and a quarter during Covid when I was finding my groove and was not writing. But otherwise six major new pieces per quarter is about what I have been doing. So about two major pieces a month, but sometimes a bit less. I keep polishing and editing but these pieces are not outlines, they are 90 percent there.

    I notice that every six months my writing is noticeably better. Maybe, you need to write more. A lot more.

    I would not give up.
     
  4. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't only write 20 stories. I've written a lot more than that. But I've submitted that many. Most stories I write are simply not good enough.
     
  5. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    Ah. I understand. So of the stories you have written only 20 have been submitted.

    how many of those are more recent stories? All of them?
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    All I know is that it took me many more tries than that. I made about four times as many submissions before breaking in to the fiction markets that were on my list. I never lowered my standards or wanted to just put my work out there any way I could. I wanted to be a writer who DID publish in these places. And to do that I had to write more and better stories. That was the only way I found to do it.

    There's the blank page trick you could try. Think about one of your best stories. Without looking at it, open a blank page and rewrite it. You'll remember the good and important parts, but you won't be attached the the words you used, but also you can allow your story to grow and transform while you might find other avenues to explore while rewriting. You'll still have the original in tact because you won't even be touching it. I did this a few times with before my first story was accepted. Sure, it had turned into a different story quite a bit, but it turned into a story that got published. I know it might sound a little crazy, but this is the best method I know to make a good story a great story.

    Here's the thing, too. Sending the same story out to ten places really isn't anything. Same still applies to twenty. This is especially true for the markets you're trying to break into, @Zeppo595, since you are sending your work to some of the same places as me. It's hard, but it can happen. I had written over a 100 stories and had been rejected over 400 times when I sold my first story.

    Another thing to consider is taking a class. I have taken so many classes, courses, and lectures along the way. I wouldn't be writing at the level I'm at had I not put so much into the craft and improving my skills. And I'm still taking classes when I can. I just got a mini subscription to Master Class. I can't wait to take the short story class with Joyce Carol Oats. There are other writing ones that look good as well, but I don't think there is any feedback or such with these. I always recommend the Gotham classes. They are pricy, but I do believe they're worth it. I saw it as an investment in myself. And in several weeks I was a lot closer to the writer I wanted to be compared to before the class. I would research the instructors when deciding who to take a class with. I took the beginner class because of who the instructor was, and I think that was the right choice for me.

    No one is going to fault you if you give up. Most people do give up. I started this thread after years of trying to publish short stories. And it did feel like it was never going to happen for awhile. I've always cared about where I publish, even knowing that these markets are super hard and many publish less than 1 percent of submissions. With self publishing you can put anything up, and it's fine if that's something that will make you happy. I've never read a self published short story, and I don't think that's something a lot of people turn to for short story reading material. But I do believe anything is possible. I just don't think success is going to feel the same. It's up to you and I wish you luck with whatever you decide.
     
  7. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    I see your point, rats, but it's not like more submissions = better chance of success unless the story is good enough.

    None of the rejections are helping us to see why the story isn't good enough. I have some stories that I just know are as good as they can possibly be, and perhaps the answer is that my best is lower than what is required.

    But I don't think this rejection game is helpful for a writer unless they get notes on what to improve. Otherwise, it's basically like winning a lottery.

    Of course, you can improve your own aesthetic standards by reading a lot and giving feedback to others. I think that is better for a writer in a way than sending out 50 more submissions of the same work.

    I do think the arts are getting more and more about certain issues being at the forefront with a certain type of political ideology. Now, I'm not being some complainer and saying 'the only reason I'm not published is because I don't write from X perspective.' But I think that maybe the audience who might appreciate the stuff I write might be more of a niche one and might not be the audience of literary fiction. It's not like if the story is good enough, it'll get published. I feel it's more that if the story is good enough and has the 'right' type of themes/characters, it'll get published. But maybe I am just a cynic.

    For a long time I believed I wanted acceptance from that world. But increasingly, people I'm interested in are people who have put their writing up outside of the gatekeepers. Maybe not in fiction, but in other areas of expression. I think maybe you can hire an editor/betas for feedback, make the work as good as possible and put it out. I don't really see how that's much different from an editor/staff of a magazine saying 'good enough for me.' It's still just another opinion at the end of the day.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    All I can say is that good stories really do get published. And more submissions means that story has a better chance of the right editor seeing it. Just because Colorado Review sent you a form rejection doesn't mean an editor at the Idaho Review won't love it. Every sale I've made followed numerous rejections. Seriously, I get how hard this is. Most of the time most of what we write is going to be rejected.

    I have never found feedback from editor to be that useful. Mostly, it's just a kind note or minor suggestion, but it's not the job of these editors to critique your work. And no editor really has the time to take. They have enough submissions to go through, looking for something that sparkles in their eyes. We have to write stories that sparkle.

    I did mention taking classes. That's the only real way to get hands on direction from people who know their stuff and know the industry.

    I'm not sure I agree with you about themes and what not. I read several publications and see there is a vast array of stories being published. Sure, there are trends and timeliness can help a story feel important, but I don't really see myself as having to conform or follow certain structures or include certain themes when it comes to what I write. I do have an idea of who takes what, but that's just an idea and I'm not always right.

    I know this can feel like buying a lottery ticket, but it's not. It's hard work, diligence, and dedication. Strengthening those will always help your chances.
     
  9. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    I agree with this 100 percent.
     
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  10. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    A 7-day form rejection from Lake Effect.
     
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  11. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    :)
     
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  12. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    I mean paying an editor to help you make your work as good as possible before you put it out.
     
  13. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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  14. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    A 72-day high tier form rejection from Distant Shore Publishing.
     
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  15. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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  16. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Who was it who said the harder I practice the luckier I get?

    Publishing does feel like a lottery, one I’ve not won yet. But I will get there and the only way that can happy is if I keep getting better, working hard AND submitting lots and lots of times
     
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  17. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 678-day form rejection from Mid-American Review.
     
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  18. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    A one-day form rejection from F&SF.
     
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  19. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thinking about reaching out to a publication that's had my story since last summer and according to duotrope has been rejecting a lot of submissions about half as long as mine has been out. Thing is this story is out at other places too that I should have heard from already or could get a response back any day. I think this could be the best short story I've written and is my best shot at getting into a really great place. And the place I want to query is a dream publication. Part of me knows I should just wait it out. Another part of me is very impatient. And I'm yet to figure out if querying does any good. It could take longer to get a response back from checking on my submission than the actual submission. Have you guys had any luck checking in on a submission? Someone tell me to just chill and wait it out, right?
     
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  20. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    Oh God. Yes absolutely — got to wait this one out a bit more.
     
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  21. AnnGG

    AnnGG Member

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    10-day personal rejection from Metaphorosis.
     
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  22. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 123-day form rejection from Bennington Review.
     
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  23. alittlehumbugcalledShe

    alittlehumbugcalledShe Member

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    I'm not going to lie, sometimes I just read this thread to make a list of names and places I can submit my work when I'm ready :cool:
     
  24. Medazza

    Medazza Active Member

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    Gutted. Rejection of full MS on grounds that it’s good, it’s publishable- but not as a debut. For a debut to be taken by a publisher it needs to be full of the wow factor.

    So got to be positive at the nice comments, but no cigar- yet!

    Suspect book 1 won’t be the one that gets me an agent, I’m finishing book 2 but also starting a book 3. Book 2 is good, well I would say that, but perhaps doesn’t have the wow concept to it. Book 3 might so I’m keen to get that down as quickly as i can!

    We keep going... I’m committed to being published now. If by the time I’ve written 3 or 4 full books and I’m still close but not getting there then I’ll look at self publishing. But not yet
     
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  25. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Senior Member

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    :)
     

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