Submission Statement: February 2017

February was a busy month submission-wise, though a somewhat frustrating one as well. Here’s how I did.

February 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 9
  • Rejections: 7
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0

Yep, no acceptances or publications this month. In fact, this is the first month I’ve been “skunked” since I started keeping track this way.


Seven rejections this month, three of which could be categorized as “good” rejections.

Rejection 1: Submitted 2/6/17; Rejected 2/13/2017

Thanks for considering XXX for your Reprint submission, “XXX.”

Unfortunately we have decided not to accept it.

We wish you the best of luck with your writing career and hope to see your name often (new stories, too!) in our slush pile.

This is a higher-tier form rejection from a pro-market that exclusively published flash fiction. How do I know it’s a higher-tier form rejection? Because they allow multiple submission, and I sent them three stories in February, two of which received standard form rejections. I like this market a lot. They accept multiple and reprint submissions, and they respond quickly. What’s not to love?

Rejection 2: Submitted 2/6/17; Rejected 2/15/2017

Thank you for considering XXX for your story, “XXX.”

Unfortunately we have decided not to accept it. We wish you the best of luck finding a home for your story elsewhere.

This is the standard form rejection from the same market that sent rejection number one. Not much to see here, as this is pretty run-of-the-mill form rejection fare.

Rejection 3: Submitted 2/16/17; Rejected 2/18/2017

Thanks for submitting “XXX,” but I’m going to pass on it. It didn’t quite work for me, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way.

One of the top-flight horror magazines opened up for submissions in mid-February, so I sent them a couple of stories. This is the first, and it resulted in a two-day form rejection. If you write horror, I’m sure you know which market I’m talking about, and I’d be willing to bet you’ve seen this rejection a few times yourself.

Rejection 4: Submitted 11/8/16; Rejected 2/19/2017

Thank you for your submission and patience. However, we’ve decided to pass on this one. It was a very tough decision to make.

We’ve received over 720 submissions, and your story made it to the final ballot. The main reason for rejections is that we had to find the best ghost/creature/human-horror/literary/fantastical story out of the bunch. We didn’t want to print too many stories with the same theme/sub-genre.

Since you made it to the final ballot please know that we sincerely look forward to reading more fiction—short or long—from you in the future.

Oh, man, this one was a heart-breaker. The editor really liked the story–he said as much in a further consideration letter in November–but they ultimately decided to pass on it. It’s a good rejection in that they want to see more work, and I’ll definitely send some their way. I talk more about this rejection and others like it in this post: Rejections: The Bad Beats.

Rejection 5: Submitted 2/16/17; Rejected 2/19/2017

Thank you for considering XXX for your story, “XXX.”

Unfortunately we have decided not to accept it. We wish you the best of luck finding a home for your story elsewhere.  

This is another form rejection from the same market as rejections one and two. Nothing significant other than it arrived the same day as rejection number four, making it a multi-rejection day.

Rejection 6: Submitted 2/22/16; Rejected 2/23/2017

Thank you for sending us “XXX”. We appreciate the chance to review your story, but don’t feel that it will work for us. Best of luck finding it a home elsewhere.

This is a very standard form rejection from a new market. Not much to see here.

Rejection 7: Submitted 2/25/16; Rejected 2/25/2017

Thanks for submitting “XXX,” but I’m going to pass on it. It’s nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn’t quite win me over, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way. I look forward to seeing your next submission.

A bright spot for the month is this higher-tier form rejection from a pro horror market I’ve been trying to crack for years. This is the first time I’ve received the “next level” form rejection, so that’s a good sign. Coincidentally, this is the same story as the heart-breaker rejection from 2/19/2017 and the same publisher as the standard form rejection that arrived 2/18/2017. This particular story is currently under consideration at another pro horror market, so I’ll likely have an update for the March submission statement.

And that was February. Tell me about your February adventures in submission land in the comments.

15 Comments on “Submission Statement: February 2017

  1. Hey, I’ve posted here before, just under the name N.D Schreiber.

    Sorry to hear about the bad month, but it was only 28 days. It was statistically most likely to happen in February. Here’s to March.

    Submissions sent: 9
    Rejections: 6
    Acceptances : 1
    Withdrawals: 1 (Simultaneous submission)
    Publications: 0

    I made a goal for lent to finish a story a week (I have a pile of great story starts that I never seem to finish). So far I’ve finished one and I am almost done with the second. I’ll probaby have a lot more subs to report next month.

    • That’s a good month. A story a week is a good goal, too. I’m also sitting on a bunch of stories in various stages of completion. Maybe I should take a page out of your playbook. 🙂

  2. Hi Aeryn,

    Even though February was frustrating for you, at least you were productive. Nine submissions is great.

    I myself didn’t get that many subs out, but I managed to get four out.

    Here’s the rest of my February 2017 scorecard:

    Rejections: 3
    Acceptances: 1
    Publications: 1

    I wrote about the acceptance on my blog recently. If you have a moment, check it out.

    And the print magazine that published my story is almost sold out! I got a lot of good feedback on the story, so I’m thinking about sending it out as a reprint submission.

  3. Got a question for you. When do you retire a story. Like, when do you feel that it has been around the block and it just doesn’t work. Do you rewrite, adjust, etc.?

    • I have yet to retire a story, actually. I’ve had stories accepted on their first submission and others accepted after ten or more rejections (my record is 16). I may tinker with a story a bit here and there, especially if I get some valuable feedback, but I’m a firm believer that getting published is largely a matter of right story + right editor + right time. Now, I might change my mind if a story racks up more than twenty rejections, though I have a writer friend who published one after 37! rejections. 🙂

  4. 5 acceptances
    7 rejections (includes 1 bad beat)
    2 published

    A story a week is an excellent goal, and it’s been my goal for several years now. Some years I exceed my goal, some years I hit dead on, and some years I miss.

    • Your acceptance ratio continues to astound, Michael.

      I agree, a story a week is a great goal. My other goal of three novels a year is getting in the way a bit, but I’m a third of the way there. 🙂

      • A story a week AND three novels a year is beyond me. The time I don’t spend writing short fiction is spent editing non-fiction and writing advertising and public relations material. (And editing anthologies. Several years have passed since my last one, but I recently received the go-ahead to do another–an anthology of private eye stories set in Texas. Check out the guidelines: )

      • Oh, it’s beyond me too, honestly. If I can get the three novels and a dozen new stories, I’ll be happy with that.

        I’ll check out the guidelines. Are light speculative elements acceptable in the stories?

      • I guess I’d have to see the story, Aeryn. I can imagine how non-supernatural horror might mesh well with a private eye story for this anthology, but I can’t–at the moment–envision science fiction elements fitting the bill.

      • Sounds good. It might be fun to try my hand at a new genre. I’ve never written mystery/thriller stuff that wouldn’t be more accurately described as urban fantasy. 🙂

  5. Congrats for rejection n.7… I know well that market, and I’ll still have to leap further than the standard “no thanks”. One day, hopefully 🙂

  6. Aeryn,

    Love this post. I hope it’s a bit of a further consolation that, for a newish writer, seeing a pro like you getting “skunked” gives me hope! I realize more and more, it’s just part of this business of writing. Nothing to see here, folks!….I just got a new rejection today, so my March track record is 0/1 so far. Here’s to a better end of the month for both of us!

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