October 2015 Rejection Roundup

October 2015 is in the books, and I’ve rounded up all the rejection letters I received for the month for your viewing pleasure. I received a few more rejection in October than I did in September, but I also published a couple of stories, so that’s a bit of an improvement.

Let’s get to the rejections:

Rejection 1: 10/7/15

Thank you very much for submitting “Story X” to XXX. While we enjoyed reading it, it’s not quite what we’re looking for right now, so we have decided to pass on this one.

This is a bit more dark urban fantasy than horror. The tension is solidly developed, but we’re missing the concurrent dread. I found this sentence awkward, so you might give it another look: [Clunky sentence I’ll revise before the next submission.]

While this story wasn’t a fit for us, please consider us for future submissions. We wish you the best luck finding the right home for this one, and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

This is a nice informative personal rejection for “Story X,” which I covered in detail right here. If you’re new to the blog and unfamiliar with the gripping saga of “Story X,” you can get all the details starting with this post.

Rejection 2: 10/26/15

Thank you for submitting your story to XXX.  Unfortunately, your story does not meet our needs at this time.  Yours is one of many high-quality submissions we received, and we encourage you to try us again if you have another story that you think would be a good fit.

This is another rejection for “Story X.” It’s a common form rejection that I discuss in (too much) detail in this post.

Rejection 3: 10/27/15

Thank you for your submission of “XXX” to XXX, but we’ve decided not to accept it for publication. Please forgive the form letter, but due to the high volume of submissions we can’t respond personally on each story. We appreciate your interest in XXX.

This is a pro-paying market I would very much like to crack, and they held on to this submission for a good long while (long enough for me to generate a fair amount of dangerously destructive hope). In the end, I got a common form rejection, which, in and of itself, doesn’t bug me. This particular publication doesn’t send out a lot of personal rejection letters (less than 2% of their overall rejections, according to Duotrope) because, as the editor said, they get a high volume (as in a metric fuck ton) of submissions. I’ll definitely try again.

Rejection 4: 10/31/15

Thanks for allowing us to consider this one, but I’m going to pass.

Overall, it’s just not a perfect fit with what we’re currently publishing. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll come by the site and read our November issue, which just arrived yesterday!

The last one for October is another pro-paying market, and this is technically a personal rejection (I think). I’m never surprised to get a rejection, but I really should have been expecting this one from the moment I hit send. You see, this is an example of very bad submission targeting on my part. The editor said my story was not a “perfect fit,” and I think that’s a bit of an understatement. I was vaguely familiar with the types of stories this market published (or so I thought), but when I went and looked at the November issue, as the editor suggested, it was pretty clear just how far off my submission targeting was. So, the lesson here is simple: be familiar with your market before you send off that submission. Most publications offer free examples of the types of stories they publish on their websites, and there really is no excuse for missing the mark as badly as I did here. This is not to say they would have accepted my story had it been more in line with what they generally publish, but it certainly would have helped my chances.


That’s it for rejections in October, but as I mentioned earlier, I did have two publications last month. I published a flash story called “The Rarest Cut” with Evil Girlfriend Media, and my story “Beyond the Block” took fourth place in The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster II contest. Check ‘em out when you have a second.

4 Comments on “October 2015 Rejection Roundup

  1. I got one of the Rejection #4 forms today, and agree — I probably missed the mark (this market says flash is a hard sell, so I should have known better). A great example of how Duotrope can be a little misleading — the market listing on Duotrope lists flash fiction, but this lit mag really doesn’t seem to publish much of it. As always, writer beware, and never depend on Duotrope, The Grinder, QueryTracker, or Publishers Marketplace listings when submitting work or queries. The only reliable source is the primary one.

    • Yep. In my case, a quick look at what the market was publishing would have been enough to prevent me from submitting there. Stylistically, I was way, way off.

  2. Most of the rejection letters I have received have been form ones.

    The only personal replies I’ve had have been because I entered a contest, after which the judges offered constructive criticism. I’m more thankful for these (at least in personal rejections, the magazines say what caused them to decline- unless, as you said, there has been bad submission targeting).

    I write about form rejections here, on my blog: https://harbourwave.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/the-classic-form-letter-is-inevitable/

    In the end, though, rejection letters are what every writer must conquer. Interesting post 🙂

    • It’s always nice to get feedback in a rejection letter. It can certainly help you dial in your next submission to that market. That said, I don’t mind form letters. I send stories to publications that receive hundreds of submissions every month, and a form letter is the only way they can respond to every author.

      Thanks for your comment.

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