I originally published a post titled 6 Rejection Records & Other Dubious Achievements back in June of 2016, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve broken just about every one of those records in the last year and change. I thought I’d revisit these records, update them, and add a couple new “firsts” and “bests” to the list.
1) Fastest Rejection: 10 minutes (old record: 2.5 hours)
Yep, you read that right. Ten minutes. I have the time stamps on the emails to prove it. How does that happen, you ask? No idea. I followed all the submission guidelines (I double and triple checked after the rejection), so it wasn’t an auto-reject on that front as far as I can tell. It’s possible I just lucked out, ended up on the top of the slush pile right as the editor started reading that day and did not impress with my opening paragraph. I’ll never know why the rejection was so quick, but I do know I’ll probably never beat this record (and I’m okay with that).
2) Slowest Rejection: 419 days (no change)
No change here. Sixteen months is still the longest I’ve waited for a rejection. Though, I didn’t actually wait that long in this case. After three months or so, I sent a withdrawal letter after a query letter went unanswered and started submitting the story elsewhere. The publisher obviously didn’t get either one of those letters, because they wrote to inform me that I’d come super close to publication but they’d finally decided to pass on the story . . . sixteen months later.
3) Most Rejections before Publication: 17 (old record: 16)
The old record-holder and the new one are the same story. The funny thing is the story DID get published after 16 rejections and was rejected one more time when I sent it out as a reprint. I do have another story that’s closing in on the record and will likely surpass it in the near future.
4) Fewest Rejections before Publication: 0 (no change)
With 0 rejections before publication, I can’t really beat this record, but I’ve pulled the one-and-done trick seven times. I had only done it once when I wrote the first post.
5) Most Rejections by a Single Publication: two tied at 8 (old record: 3 tied at 5)
These two are both top-tier magazines that publish horror. I send pretty much every appropriate story to them if I can. In addition to these two, there a couple of markets tied at 7 rejections and one or two at 6.
6) Most Acceptances by a Single Publication: 10 (old record: 7)
The Molotov Cocktail continues to be good to me. More about my publications there in this post: Flash Doom & The Molotov 10.
7) Most rejections in a single day: 3
Here’s a new one for you. I’ve turned this trick four times. Oddly, I also tend to get acceptances on these big rejection days. I’ve done that twice.
8) Most rejection in the same email: 3
Another new one. I love publishers that accept multiple submissions, but there’s a downside to sending three stories to the same publisher at the same time. Can you guess what it is?
Got any records of your own? Share them in the comments.
Thanks for normalizing literary rejection! Seriously! Through reading your blog, I no longer recognize literary rejection as a source of shame, but rather as a source of pride!
Rejection is like literary puberty. When you start growing hair in weird places and smelling funny, it helps to know you’re not the only one. Hmm…Maybe not my best analogy. 😉
Still…It helps to know I’m not the only one. 🙂
I have the same most-rejections-in-a-single-day record as you, but mine happened on my birthday. Thanks for helping me laugh about it!
Ouch. That’s not fair. 🙂