My short story received 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 a rejection rate of over 99%. You might be thinking “doesn’t this guy learn from his mistakes?”
Well, possibly I don’t, but I had a couple of reasons for trying with F&SF. First, on their submissions page, they say that they receive plenty of fantasy, but not enough science fiction or humor. My story is sci-fi with a little bit of humor. Second, The Grinder reports that almost 60% of rejections include feedback. So, I was hoping that even a rejection would have some value.
Unfortunately, my rejection seems to be a form response. (Now, I want to carry a sign saying “I am the 40%” to a political protest and see what percent of people agree that they are the 40%.) I actually think the 60% statistic at the grinder may be incorrect — there is some language in the form letter which authors could be misinterpreting as feedback on their individual story.
It only took 10 days to get my rejection, but people who submitted stories shortly after mine were getting their rejections in 4-6 days. I’m interpreting this time difference as my story making it past an initial slush reader, before being torpedoed by the next person up the ladder. So, I guess there’s one ray of sunshine after all.
I have another target magazine lined up, but I’m trying to decide whether to submit as-is, or change up my opening paragraph. I’ve recently read more anecdotes about editors who drop a story after the first sentence or first paragraph. A lot of sci-fi and fantasy stories, including mine, rely on a “twist” in the middle or at the end, but the twist can’t be in the opening sentence, or it’s not a twist, it’s just the baseline for the story.
I’ve reviewed an issue of F&SF — check it out for my take on some stories that did make the cut.