November was my most productive month of the year for short stories, maybe my most productive month ever. The reason? I finished some new stories and started sending them out, which led to a record number of submissions and a fair number of rejections. Let’s have a look.
November 2017 Report Card
In 2018 I’d like to get closer to this month’s submission numbers on a regular basis. Thirteen submissions is a lot, but a monthly total of eight to ten seems doable. I’d also, you know, like a few more acceptances in 2018, but, hey, while I’m wishing for stuff, I’d like a pony, and a Red Ryder BB gun, and a million dollars. 🙂
Seven rejections this month, three of which are for the same story.
Rejection 1: Submitted 10/15/17; Rejected 11/3/17
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.
A higher-tier rejection from a pro flash fiction market. I’ve sent them eight pieces, both new works and reprints, but no dice yet. They’re one of the few markets open to reprints, and they also accept multiple submissions. That’s a winning combo, and I’ll definitely send them more stories in the future.
Rejection 2: Submitted 11/1/17; Rejected 11/7/17
Thank you for giving me a chance to read “XXX.” Unfortunately, this story didn’t quite grab me and I’m going to pass on it for XXX. I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future.
This was my first ever submission to one of the biggest science fiction and fantasy markets on the planet. I think this is a higher-tier rejection, but I’m not one-hundred-percent on that. The “keep us in mind in the future” or language like it is usually an indicator of a higher-tier for big markets, but some publishers include something like that in every rejection. Either way, it’s a nice form rejection.
Rejection 3: Submitted 10/30/17; Rejected 11/15/17
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.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve seen this rejection plenty. This is from a top-tier sci-fi market, and my lack of success here might have something to do with the type of stories I send them. Sure, I follow the guidelines and send what can be considered science fiction, but it’s usually horror/sci-fi, and the sci-fi elements are often secondary to the horror. This is, of course, rejectomancy at it’s finest, and like their letter states, my stories might have been (and probably were) rejected for “half a dozen other reasons.” I currently have a story under consideration here that is absolutely more sci-fi than horror, so we’ll see if I fare better with this submission. Tune in next month to find out.
Rejection 4: Submitted 11/17/17; Rejected 11/18/17
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.
This is the first rejection for a brand new story from one of the more prestigious horror markets. I’ve sent this market a lot of my work, and they’re definitely one of my bucket-list publishers. I am somewhat heartened by the fact that my last three submissions, including this one, have resulted in higher-tier rejections. So, I might be getting closer. Have to keep trying to find out.
Rejection 5: Submitted 11/18/17; Rejected 11/20/17
Many thanks for sending “XXX”, but I’m sorry to say that it isn’t right for XXX. I wish you luck placing it elsewhere, and hope that you’ll send me something new soon.
The second rejection for that new story I mentioned in the last rejection. I have a short list of top-tier horror markets I send every new story (if appropriate), and this is one of the publishers on that list. Despite the “hope you’ll send me something new” line, this is not a higher-tier rejection; it’s their standard form rejection. That’s not to say they don’t mean what they say, just that in this case, that language is not an indicator of a higher-tier rejection.
Rejection 6: Submitted 11/19/17; Rejected 11/24/17
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 for the publisher in rejection two (that one was a higher-tier). This is the first rejection for another new story, a flash piece. It’s currently under consideration with the publisher from rejection four.
Rejection 7: Submitted 11/20/17; Rejected 11/29/17
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.
This is the third rejection for that new story I mentioned in rejections four and five. This is another of my go-to publishers for new stories, and this is their standard form rejection. The story is out again for consideration with another market.
And that’s all I’ve got for November. How was your month?
I took a break from submitting to focus on writing, but I started submitting again in November. I even got a subscription to Duotrope!
Unfortunately, my first month back in the game wasn’t the best, although one of my flash fiction pieces was published, so that’s cool. Hopefully, some journals will send me some early Christmas presents. 🙂
Submissions Sent: 7
Good month. I’ll send you a pony if you ask real nice. 😉
Since I also submit horror, I recognized those rejection letters, ha! Like you, I submit to the pro markets I want to be in first. Some day.
Hey, Shannon. Thanks for commenting. Yeah, if you submit horror, then a few of those rejections should be pretty familiar. 😉
I must be in the wrong field. Women’s fiction can take 3-6 months for an answer – or more. Some editors don’t even reply any more!
Ugh, sorry to hear that. There are a few markets in speculative fiction that can take that long, but in my experience the vast majority get back to you within 30 and 60 days. Oddly, the biggest markets are often the fastest, replying within a few days to a week.
I hate the no-reply rejection. I think it’s very unprofessional. Luckily, the markets I submit to don’t do that.
November was quite slow:
That is a slow month for you. Things picking up in December?
Alas, not yet. I have a gazillion submissions hanging. Several are sitting at anthologies with deadlines that have just closed or have not yet closed, but there are enough submissions sitting at periodicals (print and online) that just haven’t gotten back to me. I’m hoping that’s a good sign in most cases, but one never can tell.
I’m in a similar boat. I have a TON of submissions pending, but I’ve already received one acceptance. I’ll consider that a good omen to start the month. 🙂