Well, as you can tell by the title of this one, we’re playing a little catch-up. I haven’t been nearly as active with my short story submissions in the past three months, largely because my focus has been on Acts of War: Aftershock, my impending novel from Privateer Press. I haven’t been completely inactive, but these three months are well below my usual submission rate. Anyway, here’s what we’re dealing with.
March, April & May 2017 Report Card
Yep, my submission slump continues and is not helped by the fact that I haven’t sent out many stories over the past three months.
Six rejections for the period, only one of which can be categorized as a “good” rejection.
Rejection 1: Submitted 2/25/17; Rejected 3/19/2017
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, we don’t feel it is a good fit for us and we’re going to have to pass on it at this time.
Garden-variety form rejection from one of the pro markets in my standard submission rotation. Not much to see here.
Rejection 2: Submitted 3/13/17; Rejected 3/28/2017
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but we’ve decided not to accept it for publication.
We appreciate your interest in our magazine.
Another standard form rejection from a pro market. This is the first time I’ve submitted to this magazine, largely because they primarily publish fantasy and sci-fi, and I primarily write horror. I recently finished an urban fantasy story that fit the bill, though, so I took the plunge on a new market.
Rejection 3: Submitted 3/29/17; Rejected 4/9/2017
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but we’re going to take a pass on this one.
Yet another standard form rejection, this time from a pro audio market. This is the same story from rejection two, by the way.
Rejection 4: Submitted 3/19/17; Rejected 4/16/2017
Thank you for your interest in XXX. Although we enjoyed reading your story it is not the right fit for our magazine. We hope that you can place it elsewhere. Please feel free to submit to us again when we reopen our submissions.
This is a form rejection from a fledgling market, so I don’t have enough experience with them to tell if this is standard or higher-tier. It has some of the trappings of a higher-tier rejection–enjoyed reading, feel free to submit–but you never know if those statements are sincere or simple niceties until you have more rejections to compare. At this point, I’m going with standard form rejection.
Rejection 5: Submitted 3/20/17; Rejected 4/26/2017
Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite meet the needs of our podcast.
This is a form rejection from another pro audio market. The story is a reprint submission of one of my more well received horror stories, and I was champing at the bit waiting for the rights to return to me so I could submit it to this particular market. I really thought it would be right up their alley, but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case. Please don’t take this is a complaint or a criticism of this market’s selection process or their editors’ tastes; it isn’t that. There’s nothing even approaching a guarantee in publishing, and sometimes your instincts on where to submit a story can be a little off or just flat wrong.
Rejection 6: Submitted 5/19/16; Rejected 5/22/2017
We have read your submission and unfortunately your story isn’t quite what we’re looking for right now. While we regretfully cannot provide detailed feedback due to the volume of submissions, we thank you for your interest in our magazine and hope you continue to consider us in the future.
Finally, a tiny ray of sunlight into the black void of submission purgatory. This is a higher-tier rejection from a pro horror market for a brand new story, one that I think has real legs. Getting this higher-tier rejection from one of the toughest markets in the biz is a good sign, and I’ve since fired it off to another pro market. Those of you who have followed my blog for a bit or who submit horror stories on a regular basis will no doubt recognize this rejection and the market from whence it came.
One “other” for this period, a further consideration letter.
Further Consideration 1: Submitted 2/25/17; Rejected 3/19/2017
Thank you again for your submission. We really like this story and would like to add it to our short list, if that is okay with you. We will have the final decisions by July 1 at the latest. Let us know!
This is a new semi-pro magazine that publishes “extreme” horror. I sent them the only story I have that really fits that bill, a story that’s been on the cusp of publication before. This is good news, and unlike rejection five, where my submission instincts were a little off, it looks like I might have paired the right story with the right market/editor here. We’ll see. I certainly have a barrel full of rejections that arrived after a nice letter like this. 🙂
Okay, we’re all caught up. I’ll start doing these monthly again in July. Now, tell me about your recent submission triumphs and woes in the comments.
“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
Sorry about the slump. You’ll get out. It’s just a matter of persistence. Here are my stats:
On the bright side, I had my first pro-paying sale (although for a very short story).
Nicely done on the pro sale. That’s a great benchmark. 🙂
I’m glad you brought this back. I was missing it.
Here is my report card for the last three months:
Unfortunately, May sucked (0 pubs, 0 acceptances, and 2 rejections). I feel good about June, though. I think it’s going to be much better.
Me, too, despite not having much to crow about. 😉
You’ve been busy AND with some success. Well done, sir.
I also missed the monthly round-up, but not enough to dig through my files to calculate my numbers.
I will, however, mention something interesting that’s happened twice in the past three months: I’ve had stories accepted for two anthologies where submissions were judged by committees who reviewed manuscripts stripped of all author identifiers.
That means whatever value an author’s name has (good or bad) is removed from the decision-making process, and we’re all–beginner and experienced writer alike–competing head-to-head on the quality of our work.
This worked out so well, I’ve submitted to two other anthologies with blind submissions, and for the past two days have been staring at the guidelines for a third, trying to generate an appropriate story idea.
(Data point: These are all crime fiction anthologies.)
Hey, Michael. That is interesting piece of data. I often wonder how much a writer’s name or past credits sway editor decisions. I think you still have to write a good story, but does a name or publications in prestigious markets get you a closer look?
A writer’s name and/or past credits can certainly help sway editorial decisions. A mediocre story from Stephen King or Dean Koontz is going to carry more weight than a kick-ass story from me or you because either of their names on the cover of an anthology or magazine is likely going to sell more copies and our names likely won’t. But, in the vast middle ground between no publishing credits and superstar status, where most of us live, it’s hard to tell. I know I can lean on some minor level of name recognition when I submit crime fiction, but when I’m submitting horror I very much have to rely on a handful of top-market publishing credits because my name means nothing in the genre, and when I submit science fiction or fantasy neither my name nor my credits will open any doors for me and my stories are completely on their own.