Rejection #3

OK, I know posts about my rejection letters scored next-to-last in the poll of what my readers are interested in, but I needed something quick and easy to write up this week.  My immediate superior at work will be getting medical treatment for the next week or two, so I’ll be doing his job.  That means I’ve been rushing this week to catch up on my own work, which will be neglected.

Of course, this is also the week when the High Priests of Washington release one thousand and forty demons upon every household in the nation.  (For those of you from outside the USA, mid-April is when our personal income tax filings are due, via form 1040).

My experiences traveling and working abroad have convinced me that Americans are far less tolerant of government bureaucracy than the rest of the world, yet we put up with a much more frustrating and time-consuming tax-collection process.  The IRS (our tax collection agency) is the most hated institution in the nation, yet elected politicians almost never threaten to destroy it.

Maybe politically-connected corporations and interest groups enjoy their tax loopholes too much (without realizing what they pay their army of tax accountants and lawyers).  Maybe the tax accountants, lawyers, and IRS employees are now so powerful that they will never be dethroned.

I’ve exceeded the blog’s annual quota for political content, so on to the rejection:

I received a form letter from Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  This rejection came thirty days after submission, and since the site average is 35 days, I’m guessing I didn’t make it past the initial slush reader.  It was a form rejection without any form of feedback.

I’m going to do something different with the story next.  Instead of submitting it to a magazine, I’ll submit it to a contest.  I suspect the contest is extremely competitive, but on the plus side, it’s only open to unpublished writers.  A compilation of past winners is on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet, so I have no idea what I’m up against.

The above paragraphs concern my first story, which I’m summarizing as AI vs aliens, with a humorous twist.  I also have a second story out at another magazine, but they’ve been sitting on it for over five months (their average is a little over three).  I think many of you will be surprised when you discover what magazine this is.

Due to my work situation, April looks like a non-writing month (although I’ll try to sneak in a couple more blog posts).  In May, I plan to clean up another short story or two and get them out there on the rejection circuit.  Once I have a good number of stories out there, I won’t post about every individual rejection.  Instead, I’ll save them up for a rejection-summary post every once-in-a-while.

For my next couple of posts, I’ll continue the magazine quest if I have time, otherwise I’ll write up a couple of brief novel reviews.






  1. I think it’s good to put your work out there. Too bad they don’t offer some suggestions though.

    1. Too swamped with submissions, I guess. It would be nice if they’d give their slush readers a checklist or something, so writers could see if they need to improve on something: weak opening, poor grammar, boring plot, etc.

      1. I get it, but it would be so helpful. Those being rejected today, could be the same people sought out in five years.

  2. I don’t suppose you’ve got anything you could send to me for my 21st Century Pulp Anthology?

    1. I thought about it when I saw that post, but no, nothing I’ve written so far meets your criteria.

  3. It’s rare to get much feedback from a pro-market like The Intergalactic Medicine Show (he says knowingly). One thing to watch for, though, are the different tiers of form rejections. Many big markets send higher-tier rejections to authors whose work they think shows promise. Usually, the biggest indicator of a higher-tier rejection is an invitation to submit again.

    A great resource to tell if your rejection letter is higher tier or not is The Rejection Wiki, which features actual rejections from a wide array of literary and speculative markets.

    Good luck on your next submission.

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