Since the semester has ended, I’ve upped the already high amount of submissions I’ve been sending out every week. As a result, I have been getting a more steady stream of rejections. Fortunately, they have been accompanied by several successes, the biggest being my 2nd place win over at WOW. Smaller victories include having a piece of micro fiction published on Zero Flash and accepted by 101 Fiction. I made the short list for 101Words.org’s monthly contest and had an article published on Mash Stories.
Of course, I’ve also gotten at least one rejection a day this week. Today, I’ve gotten two. I have to remind myself that getting rejections is just part of being a writer, one that may never go away.
I’ve started thinking of my stories as stray cats living in a shelter, waiting for someone to adopt them. When a person comes in, they can do their best to work the floor, nudging, purring and just being cute in-general. However, that one person won’t take all the cats, no matter how cute they are. She’s going to take one or two. The next day, someone might come in and adopt another cat, or maybe someone comes in and leaves empty handed.
The best I can do is to write what I want, get feedback, revise like crazy and send it out. No matter how good my writing is, the story and the editor need to be a good match. Researching and reading journals before submitting can help. However, it doesn’t guarantee acceptance.
I’ve read almost every story Daily Science Fiction has posted in the past six months. They’ve rejected all 8 of the stories I’ve sent them. On the other hand, I didn’t get shortlisted by Mash Stories until after I read two competitions worth of short listed stories. I’ve also gotten stories accepted at publications where the only thing I read was the submission guidelines. Researching publications helps, but you can still get acceptances even if you don’t have time to read every single publication you want to submit to.
My advice is to pick a few you like and read those often. Submit stories to those places, but also submit to the ones your not reading. As long as you read actively, paying attention to and monitoring your reactions to the move those other authors make, then you can become a better writer. It won’t eliminate rejections, but it will help you find forever homes for more of your stories.
Note: Goose, the kitty in the featured image, does not live in that cage. It is the puppy’s old crate. Goose think’s its a kitty cave. The door to it is always open since the puppy doesn’t fit in it anymore. Goose just goes in to take naps. I think he feels safe in there because he can see out of all directions, but things can only enter from one. However, Goose did live in a shelter for 2 months before we found and adopted him, where he was kept in what they called a cat condo (it was really just a fancy cage) because he had a cold and they didn’t want the other cats to catch it.