August, the month of my birth, was pretty uneventful, submission-wise. I spent a lot of time working on a new novel, and I finished a novelette that will be part of my first foray into self-publishing (more on that soon). Anyway, here’s the down-and-dirty for the month.
August 2017 Report Card
I’m still hitting an average of one submission per week. I keep thinking I should do more, but that seems to be a comfortable pace when I’m working on big projects. Maybe I should just learn to live with it.
Six rejections this month, and one of them is noteworthy because it represents a nigh-unforgivable brain fart.
Rejection 1: Submitted 8/2/17; Rejected 8/12/2017
Thank you for your interest in XXX.
Unfortunately, your short story has not been assessed as it does not meet our submission guidelines based on word count (it’s just a bit off the 2,000 word minimum at 1,980).
You are welcome to resubmit after reviewing the submission guidelines and ensuring your submission meets the guidelines. If you haven’t done so already, I would also suggest reading XXX to become familiar with the type of content we publish.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, then you’ve heard me lecture everyone about following submission guidelines to the letter. Well, sometimes that’s a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do situation. How embarrassing. I mean, how hard is it to do a quick word count check, like I do FOR EVERY OTHER SUBMISSION? I am exceedingly grateful the publisher was a) very nice and professional when they pointed out my mistake and b) that I can resubmit the story. I did resubmit it, along with an apology for not following the guidelines the first time. Say it with me: ALWAYS FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.
Rejection 2: Submitted 7/29/17; Rejected 8/14/2017
Thank you for the opportunity to review your work. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite fit our needs at the time. Best of luck placing it elsewhere.
This is a simple form rejection, but I should note that it came one day after I sent a submission status query letter to the publisher. Now, I do not for a second believe that I was rejected because I sent a query. I waited the appropriate amount of time, and my letter was polite and to the point. There’s a chance the query got my story read a bit sooner, but it’s not why it was rejected. There does seem to be this fear among some writers that sending a submission status query will anger a publisher, but I think that fear is misplaced as long as you wait an appropriate amount of time and follow any submission guidelines the publisher may have about queries.
Thanks so much for entering our Flash Worlds contest. As always, we had so many great entries.
Unfortunately, “XXX” did not make it into our Top 10. However, we are happy to report that the piece did make it through several rounds of cuts and was still in consideration until the later stages of judging. As a result, we’ve given you a shout-out on our “Close But No Cigar” short list, which can be found on our Flash Worlds results page (https://themolotovcocktail.com/).
Though it didn’t place in the contest, we’d be happy to consider this piece for one of our regular issues. Feel free to resubmit through our regular submissions portal (no submission fee, of course) on Submittable. We’ve published a good number of short-listed entries that way in the past.
Thanks again for your participation, and for sending us such great work.
A close-but-no-cigar rejection from one of my favorite publishers. These guys have published a ton of my work, and I got close to another publication here. If you have a chance, you should definitely check out the winning stories for the Flash Worlds contest. There’s some really good stuff in there. I have sent this story out again, and it’ll pop up in another rejection below. 🙂
Rejection 4: Submitted 8/16/17; Rejected 8/26/2017
Thank you for submitting your story, “XXX”, to XXX. Unfortunately, we have decided not to publish it. To date, we have reviewed many strong stories that we did not take. Either the fit was wrong or we’d just taken tales with a similar theme or any of a half dozen other reasons.
Best success selling this story elsewhere.
A form rejection from a top-tier magazine that I have yet to crack. I’ve yet to even get a higher-tier form rejection from this market. That doesn’t discourage me, though. These pro markets have incredibly high standards, and they should be difficult to place a story with. I like to think I’ll eventually write something that appeals to this market and a bunch of others in the same category.
Rejection 5: Submitted 8/16/17; Rejected 8/30/2017
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.
Another form rejection from a pro market. I’ve gotten higher-tier rejections from this publisher in the past, but this isn’t one of those. Like the market in rejection 4, I’ll keep submitting until I crack or they do. 😉
Rejection 6: Submitted 8/30/17; Rejected 8/31/2017
Thank you for the opportunity to read “XXX.” Unfortunately, your story isn’t quite what we’re looking for right now.
In the past, we’ve provided detailed feedback on our rejections, but I’m afraid that due to time considerations, we’re no longer able to offer that service. I appreciate your interest in XXX and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future.
So, I shit you not, this rejection arrived as I was writing this blog post. How’s that for timing? Anyway, another form rejection from a pro market. Those of you who submit spec-fiction on a regular basis will no doubt recognize the publisher from this rejection. They’ve always had a super-quick turnaround (one day, in this case), which I appreciate, as it allows me to fire the story off to another publisher right away.
One publication in August. My flash fiction story “Cowtown” was published by The Arcanist. You can read it by clicking the link below.
And that’s August. Tell me about your August in the comments.
With the apparent demise of my two primary short story markets (between them good for 1-4 acceptances each month for several consecutive years), I’m having to retrench. That means exploring different genres and different markets.
And one story I hope to count as an acceptance in September: A top genre publication sent a conditional acceptance. If I successfully tweak my story to address a concern the editor had with it, the story will be accepted. I added about 100 words and sent the revision last evening. My fingers have been crossed ever since, so it’s bloody hard to type!
Oh, man, sorry to heat about two of your go-to markets going under. I’ve had a few go under on me as well. It’s a tough ol’ market out there for fiction zines of any type.
Good luck on the September story and with branching out into new genres or markets. If you need any recommendations for good horror or sci-fi publishers, let me know.
Pin then to the wall and keep going. Great idea, posting your rejections. Therapeutic, I imagine.
I could wallpaper a room at this point. 😉
Sounds like a challenge. Challenge: accepted.
One submission of short fiction. A bit more work on some requests in connection with novel queries. And one publication of a non-fiction article!
It’s not quite how I saw August going, to be honest. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. I still hope to submit more short fiction next month. I’m not happy with that *one* submission–though it’s better than none!
Thanks again for this feature every month. It’s both inspiring to see what you’re doing, and it’s a nice bit of accountability to look over my own stats each month.