Rejection, rejection, rejection...

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

  1. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Take heart. I'm still getting terrified by just uploading something for critiquers. Can't imagine how 'submit' would feel like.
     
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  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, until they telephone your employer/family and the local authority. Fill out the forms and progress your submission.
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I submitted something new today. I didn't have anyone look it over or get any feedback, and I'm not even sure how I feel about it. I hope it doesn't suck. I do love trading stories with you guys, but sometimes a writer has to trust themselves. I had asked a friend to read it the other day, but that was followed excuse after excuse of being too busy so I never sent it to him. I was slipping a bit with my writing and submissions. Just needed to feel more back in the game. Plus, the place I sent my submission to will be quick and probably have some feedback either way since I do have a connection there. I hope I didn't blow it with this one. I love my work one moment and hate it the next. And after sending it, there are a million things I wish I could change. It's tough. I do think I need to submit more so I'm not so anxious about this part of the process. I'll see if I can't get some more out today or over the weekend. At least I was able to finish something new that I felt was ready to send somewhere. Hope you're all writing and submitting. This is when it gets a little tough because a lot of places close submissions. But there are still many others out there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    :)
     
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  5. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Some more good news maybe?
    I think every artist of whatever type or genre has doubts and will always find ways in which to improve. I think that is part of being an artist in the first place, our constant striving for the perfect story, or painting, or performance. We are never satisfied or finished, constantly perfecting the projects we are doing and finding new projects once they are done.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Sure is some good news! Life as a writer isn't the easiest thing and the good news is only lightly sprinkled among the piles of rejection. And you are totally right. Perfect is never perfect enough. Final drafts can still feel like drafts. And there is always more to write and work on. But this latest piece of good news is going to keep me happy for a long time I hope. Still have edits to come, but editor had some nice things to say. Looking forward to putting this piece out in the world.
     
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  7. Woodstock Writer

    Woodstock Writer Member

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    No good news for me still :( not sure my day will ever come. Pleased for you though.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I wouldn't get too discouraged yet. You're still pretty new at this. I went through years of failed attempts and probably wrote over a hundred stories before anything started to sell. Always be reading and writing new material. I took writing classes and got an MFA. I did everything I could think of to make myself a better writer. And there was no instant payoff still. I continue to receive a ridiculous amount of rejections and very few acceptances. You've just got to constantly improve your craft and submit more than you think you should. It's hard to publish, but it's not impossible. If you really want this, you'll get there.
     
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  9. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    A famous quote is 'The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried'; so don't give up before you tried.
     
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  10. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    If you are looking for inspirational quotes then this site has a shed load of them.

    https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/OnFailingG.html

    I like Thomas Edison's, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."
     
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  11. D.Clarke

    D.Clarke Active Member

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    Meh, got rejected a couple times this year. Shame, I open the email expecting to get rejected. The let down is much easier when you do, lmao
     
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  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I love all the quotes and so true. I remember when I was in a creative writing course and my teacher and classmates all saying how good my piece was. Far from perfect, but really good in a workshop setting. Anyway, I complained that all my work was getting rejected everywhere, and that the particular story in question had been rejected the most. My teacher asked how many times that story had been rejected I told him at least twenty. He laughed. That was nothing, he said. And that's the truth of it. A story rejected twenty or fifty or a hundred times doesn't make it a bad story, but there is a big difference between impressing a teacher and classmates than editors and publishers. And you also have to be willing to change everything, kill those darlings and allow yourself to progress which is a lot harder than it sounds. It's important to not love your work so much you can't find reasons that it was rejected. Sometimes it just comes down to taste and competition, but most of the time I think it's something in the story that is failing. The stories I didn't give up on were worked and reworked many times.

    I think the easiest way to fix a story is to open a blank document and rewrite it without even looking at the previous draft. You'll remember the parts you're supposed to. It's super hard advise to follow, but doing this is how I sold my first couple pieces. And it wasn't like the results were instant sales. I still got a bunch of rejections, but I had better stories that were being rejected. I still follow this method. I will admit I hate it, but the results are worth it.

    Another thing I like to do is always have something new I'm working on. The New Yorker says that if you don't hear from them in 90 days, you can assume your story is rejected. That gives me 90 days to write a better story and have it ready to submit. I love New Yorker fiction, but it's not everyone's thing. I do this for a few of my favorite publications. It really makes a difference to know your market. You should be able to say this place publishes this kind of fiction, and I'm not talking about genre. Read enough issues to know if and where your work fits for as many places as you can. Some people are lucky, but smart submitting gives you a better shot, I believe.

    So, what if it takes many tries and even years to publish short stories. There are plenty of writers willing to stick it out, question and change their approach and read like crazy. When I started this thread I already had an MFA and hundreds of rejections. It seemed like it was never going to happen. I had tried my hardest and continued to fail. But then it happened and I didn't start publishing in small places. I started publishing in some of my dream publications. I did nothing other than what you guys are probably doing. I wrote and wrote and read and read.

    Even now I get way more than a hundred rejections a year. I know it takes that much. I'm publishing more, but I wouldn't way I'm rejected any less. Your best work hasn't been written yet. That's something I always try to keep in mind. There are ways to improve faster like taking classes and going shout MFA route, but there are other things you can do. Write a short story every week for a year. This was the first thing I did when I wanted to get serious about writing. I realized I had to write the bad stories to be able to write the good ones. I wrote 52 stories that year and they were all rejected, but it was part of my process and made a huge difference.

    I hope sharing my story with you guys helps some of you. Once we start submitting our work, we're up against some of the best writers out there. And to get a slot in a magazine or journal we have to be better than some of the best writers out there. I think most people will give up. Don't if you can stand it. The only thing we really have control over is how badly we want this and how hard we're willing to try.
     
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  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I hate the process just from reading this, and yet, it makes an horrible kind of sense. Though, I believe it depends on the kind of 'fixing' one needs to do. When there are storyline problems or changes to the character of the MC then yes, it needs to be rewritten because to fix it in place requires far too much hmpf and you'd probably loose some of the flow. But when it's a question of simple things, e.g. the MC has a different job, or the coffee shop has a backyard, then rewriting probably wouldn't make the piece better.

    Although thinking about it, if a piece gets rejected it won't be because of a simple fix, so rewriting would be indicated anyway.
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Not going to lie. It is totally horrible and the last thing a writer wants to do, but selling short stories is really tough. And sometimes you have to do whatever it takes. The blank-documented approach has worked for me more than once. I still hate doing it. And it's not always about big changes, but it can create a cleaner copy and a smoother read. It can end up fixing things you didn't even know were wrong. You will still remember everything worth remembering. I think it would have taken be much longer to sell a story if I never gave it a try. Most of my sales are a result of this process.
     
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  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    A 57-day form rejection from The Masters Review.
     
  16. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Contributor

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    A 30 day rejection from Rocking Space. At least it was a kind rejection, I suppose.
     
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  17. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Rocking Space? Sounds like a hoot, they have a website?
     
  18. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Contributor

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    It's an anthology of Sci-Fi short stories. The latest is Rocking Space. The collection of anthologies is under the name Beyond the Stars. Here's the Amazon link to the first one. Beyond the Stars: Unimagined Realms: a space opera anthology
     
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  19. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Sounds interesting, I'll take a look. Cheers.
     
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  20. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Senior Member

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    checked my submittable... one story has been "in progress" for 2 years exactly as of today.
    I'm gunna go ahead and count that as a rejection.

    Also, i submitted another story. now I have 5 submissions out. fingers crossed, i guess
     
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  21. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    It does appear suggestive it's true. I always have my fingers crossed, sometimes I have to physically pull them apart to type these messages. ;)
     
  22. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Depending on the place two years might not be unheard of. If you want to message me the place or name it here, I'll tell you my experience with wait times with them. For example, places like American Short Fiction, Zoetrope and Granta are known to take forever. It could mean that your story has been pulled, which will mean it takes even longer. Also, if you have duotrrope you can see how long the average submission has been out to get a feel if you're still in the running. I would be happy to look it up for you. But if it still says "in-progress," I wouldn't just count it as a rejection, meaning if it is accepted somewhere else, I think you would want to still officially withdraw it. I've got a few that have been out a long time. My longest is at 500 days with American Short Fiction, but I'm not ready to say that's a rejection to give up on that one just yet nor am I expecting to hear from them right away.

    Other places like The New Yorker or The Atlantic tend to reject with silence a lot of the time. So, two years at those places would probably mean a rejection, but they're not on the same system at least for fiction.

    Great to see you putting yourself and your work out there. It will happen if you don't give up and continue to write new stories and make new submissions. A lot of places are closed in the summer, but the big ones (like the glossies) are open year round. Good luck! year four
     
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  23. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Do Granta specifically tell you if anything has happened to your story or is it only if you make the cut?
     
  24. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I've never made it far enough with Granta to find out. I've only had two publications email me before a final decision was made to tell me my story would be discussed at the next editorial meeting and had made it to the final round. One worked out, the other didn't. Sometimes places will tell you in a rejection letter how close you got, but I think that only happens if you actually get close. And, still, some places just stick to a form it seems regardless of how close or not you were. Most of the time it's really hard to tell how seriously your work was considered. And most of the time I get a form rejection or an acceptance out of the blue.
     
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  25. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Right, no worries, just trying to piece together the information, such as it is.
    Just reading your other thread, interesting news for you.
     
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