May is over, and it was a good month, if not an overly productive one. I spent much of May working on the final edits of my novel Flashpoint, so there wasn’t as much time to submit short stories as I would have liked. In fact, I managed only a single submission. That said, a few of the submissions I sent out in months previous bore some fruit.
March Report Card
Let’s eat our rejection vegetables before we get to the tasty acceptance dessert, shall we?
Rejection 1: 5/5/16
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but it’s not quite what we’re looking for and we’ve decided to pass on this one. Best of luck with your work.
This is just a standard form rejection, which, at this point, hardly registers on my woe-is-me meter, but this one was a little disappointing. You see, I had gotten a very nice referral rejection in April that suggested I submit the story to this publication. So, I got my hopes up a bit that I might get an acceptance here. Alas, it was not to be. What’s the lesson here, boys and girls? Don’t hope. Hope sucks.
Rejection 2: 5/14/16
Thank you for submitting work to our Flash Felon contest. The judging process seems to get more and more difficult each time. Some truly imaginative stories this time around.
Unfortunately, “XXX” didn’t make it into our Top 10. However, this entry did make it through several rounds of cuts and was ultimately very close. As a result, we gave you a shout-out on our results page as a “close-but-no-cigar.” If you’re so inclined, we would encourage you to submit this piece for consideration in our regular issues (free to submit). We’ve published a handful of close-but-no-cigar contest entries in our regular issues in the past.
Thanks so much for your participation. We couldn’t do these contests without you.
I don’t normally list the names of the publications in my rejections, but since I also got an acceptance from this publisher for the same contest AND it was published in May, it’s kind of hard to avoid. Josh Goller, the editor-in-chief at The Molotov Cocktail is a great guy, and I know he won’t mind. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Molotov, and they’re one of my favorite publications.
Anyway, this was a rejection, but it fell into their close-but-no-cigar category for the Flash Felon contest, which means the story might have legs in their regular monthly issues. I might just submit it there.
Rejection 3: 5/31/16
Thank you for sending us “Story X”. We appreciated the chance to read it. Unfortunately, this piece is not a good fit for us. Best of luck with this in other markets.
This innocuous little form letter is actually the death knell for “Story X.” Yep, this was the tenth and final rejection. As promised, I revealed the story in its entirety when I posted the final rejection. You can read that here.
Two acceptances in May, both good ‘uns.
Acceptance 1: 5/14/16
Congratulations! Your Flash Felon entry, “The Sitting Room,” has been selected as an honorable mention. This means that it will be published in our upcoming Flash Felon mega-issue (to run on Monday, May 16th) and it will be included in our second annual Prize Winners Anthology print edition in October.
Thanks so much for your participation in the Flash Felon contest and for writing such a kick-ass story. We’re honored to be able to feature it.
Yep, one of my stories landed an honorable mention in The Molotov Cocktails Flash Felon contest. Again, I don’t mind letting you know who the publisher is here because I’m going to reveal it anyway when I get to the publications section. You should totally read my story, but, please, please, please make sure you also read the winner of the Flash Felon contest “The London Umbrella Company” by Jan Kaneen. It’s just one of the best goddamn pieces of flash fiction you’re likely to encounter in this world or the next.
Acceptance 2: 5/28/16
Thank you for choosing to submit your work to XXX. The staff enjoyed your story “XXX” very much, and we’d like to publish it as our feature story for issue #1 due in JUL.
What that means is we’d run your story as the headliner and interview you for our “Author Spotlight” section. We do this once per issue.
I’m sending a contract with electronic signatures. Please review the contract and sign.
Let me know if you have questions or concerns or if you do not receive the contract.
Okay, this one was especially sweet. Why? Because the story this market accepted is my most rejected story of all time; it’s also one of my favorite stories. It received a bunch of close-but-no-cigar rejections, but after many, many tries, it failed to find a home. Finally, the story has found its way to someone who liked it as much as I do. In other words, sometimes you have to just keep plugging away and go with your gut on a story, despite the rejections. Why? Because rejections don’t always mean “bad story,” they often mean just what the rejection letter says: not right for us, doesn’t meet our needs at this time, and so on, and so on.
Anyway, I’m pretty excited about this one, and I will, of course, give you all the details once its published.
One letter that is neither a rejection nor an acceptance this month.
Further Consideration/Short list Letter 1: 5/12/16
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX. One of our first readers has read your story and believes it deserves a closer look. We would like to hold it for further consideration. Good luck!
What we have here is a further consideration letter from one of the top markets in the speculative fiction industry. From this magazine come Hugo, Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and Bram Stoker Award nominees and winners (among others). This is the first time I’ve gotten anything but a form rejection from them, so, yeah, that’s pretty damn cool. I will not allow myself to get my hopes up here, though. The competition at a market like this is fucking fierce. I am, however, happy to have at least gotten through the front door, so to speak.
One of my stories was published this month.
Publication 1: 5/16/16
As I noted earlier, my flash story the “The Sitting Room” was awarded an honorable mention in The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Felon contest. Give it a read if the mood strikes.
And that’s how my May shook out. What did yours look like?