Something for writers, something for readers

First, some news: I received a rejection letter for my first short story submission. I was originally going to give this post the pessimistic title of “Rejection #1”, because I’m a ‘glass is 96% empty’ kind of guy, not ‘glass is 4% full’. (According to The Grinder, 96% of stories are rejected at Analog magazine, my target.) It took 87 days to get my rejection, which was a standard form letter.

I chose Analog because they publish mostly (only?) sci-fi, and because I thought Analog’s readers might find the behavior of an AI in my story interesting and/or funny. I’ve reviewed an issue of Analog, so you can read about a few stories that did make the cut.

I have another target in mind for this story, but I can’t fire it off right away because I need to go over the magazine’s formatting peculiarities, and I don’t know when I’ll have time for that. Maybe I’ll take the opportunity to look the story over one more time as well.

If you’re interested in the topic of short story submissions, you might want to check out rejectomancy.com, the blog of author Aeryn Rudel. He has quite a few interesting posts about submissions, rejection letters, etc.. You can also read about one of his stories in my review of Red Sun Magazine.

Several authors I’ve reviewed in the past have things going on this week at Amazon:

panamaPanama, by C.S. Boyack, is free for the next few days at Amazon.

in-for-a-rideYou’re in for a Ride by Nicholas Rossis is just 99 cents.

cirsova3Issue #3 of Cirsova Magazine is now available. I believe there was talk of both regular pirates and space pirates appearing in this issue.

Let me know if you’d like to continue hearing about my rejections on a case-by-case basis, or if you’d just like to know the story’s final destination. Also, feel free to chime in about any of the books/magazines I’ve mentioned above.

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22 comments

  1. Doesn’t it feel great? I got my first one first thing in the morning this past weekend. I feel like an almost writer.

    1. It actually is kind of a relief, knowing my story isn’t just sitting in a spam folder or something.

      1. Agreed. BTW, I read all your magazine search posts and agree with you on all of them. I’m about to cancel my Asimov and Analog subs.. they have become so freeking awful.

        1. I really don’t understand Asimov’s. It’s like a SF magazine for people who don’t want to read SF.

          1. Just awful crap. Better than Lightspeed tho.

  2. Congrats for having the courage to a) send your story out in the first place and b) send it to one of the toughest markets on the planet. I think it’s always a good idea to start with the top-tier markets and work your way down. Case in point, I’ve got more form rejections from top-tier horror markets than can easily be counted. 🙂 You’re off to a good start.

    Thanks for the shout-out, by the way. Much appreciated.

    1. I agree that top-down is a good strategy for authors. I saw this in scientific publishing, where the lower-tier journals were just as likely to reject a paper for bizarre reasons as a top-tier journal.

      Of course, I’m also heavily weighting my choices on my opinion of the story’s “fit” with the magazine. I’ll never submit anything to Asimov’s, for example, because I’d never write the type of thing they like.

      No problem on the shout-out — I enjoyed the Saga of Story X.

      1. Yep, submission targeting is a big part of getting published. In the horror market, I never submit anything to Shimmer or Intergalactic Medicine Show for the same reasons you never submit to Asimov’s. They’re fine publications and all, but I don’t write the kind of horror they tend to publish.

    2. On the other hand, if you start with the smaller/lower tier markets, they often give you more feedback on why your story was rejected. This can help you improve on the story before you send it out again. Also, an early acceptance gives you more incentive to keep going. To me it’s really a numbers game – as long as you are writing good stories and edit well, then the only thing that makes a story accepted or rejected is giving the publisher exactly what they are looking for. I try to send out 20 – 30 stories per year. In a good year, 10 are accepted for publication.

      1. Yep, nothing wrong with that approach, and if you sell a story to a smaller market, you can often turn it around and sell it as a reprint to a bigger market later on. I’ve certainly done that.

      2. Wow, that’s a lot of stories. I’d be thrilled if I could write one every month, or even every other month.

        With work and grad school, I don’t have enough time for serious writing at the moment, so I just enjoy writing silly stories here on the blog. I do have a couple of half-finished stories that I might be able to polish during Thanksgiving or Christmas time, giving me some more submission material.

        1. I actually wrote many stories several years before I even started submitting to publications so I’m not as prolific as it seems. Bradbury once said, write 100 stories, so if an editor asks if you have something for their next issue, you always have something ready. I didn’t write 100, but I had close to 40 in my story portfolio before I looked to get published.

  3. I’ve been rejected by Analog a whole bunch of times. Always form letters. I think sharing that experience can be helpful, so if you decide to blog about other rejections you may or may not get, I would be supportive of that.

    1. OK, I’ll try to keep the rejections coming. Um… wait, that’s not right.

      1. Yeah, I almost said something like I’d “enjoy” hearing about them, but that was not at all what I meant.

  4. Congratulations. It may seem odd, but rejection letters are a right of passage. I grew tired of them and went with self publishing. I may try it again one day though. I was tipped off to something that might work for me. The rejection letter is a badge of honor in this arena; wear it proudly. Also, thanks for the nod. I’m going to try something with The Playground next week, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

    1. I’m going to send my story out to another low-probability magazine next, mainly because their submissions page specifically mentioned they were looking for two elements which are in my story. If that doesn’t work, I’ll probably throw it around a bunch of the other big-name markets, not hoping to be accepted, but just seeing if I can get a more informative rejection letter.

      Funny story about playground: Before my windows 10 start menu stopped working completely, it would often throw up a static-y image that would resolve into the girl’s face from the playground cover. It was kind of creepy to see the face appear out of the static, and it was weird that win10 obsessed over that image instead of rotating through images. I haven’t read playground yet — does my computer need an exorcist or something?

      1. That’s the best story I’ve read in a long time. The book involves a creepy computer program, so maybe it did work after all.

        1. Maybe that (non-fiction) story will show up as part of a macabre macaroni some day?

  5. […] its second rejection this week. This rejection was from Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. My previous rejection was from a magazine with a 96% rejection rate, and I turned around and submitted to a magazine with […]

  6. Congrats on your first one! We writers are basically trying to build a career out of rejections and self-doubt. It’s a neverending process, unfortunately. At some point you build up a shield and a nasty sense of humour around it.

    But at least you’re on your way 😉

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