February is in the rearview, and despite a significant drop in the number of submissions sent, it was a pretty good month. I broke the longest rejections streak of my career at 27, so that alone makes February a-okay in my book.
February 2018 Report Card
I sent only a quarter of the submissions I sent in January, but I’m still on pace to hit 100 submissions for the year, with an average of 12.5 per month for the first two months. The main culprits for the lower submission count are a lack of new stories and some markets taking a little longer than usual to get back to me (keeping me from submitting the story elsewhere). Both of those factors should change in March.
A fair amount of rejections this month, mostly from older submissions sent in January.
All the rejections I received were garden-variety form rejections, but I’ll show you a couple just because I think they contain some solid advice.
Highlight Rejection 1: Sent 1/31/2017; Rejected 2/5/2018
We appreciate you taking the time to send us your story, [story title]. After careful consideration we’ve decided to pass on this story. There are many reasons a story is not accepted, most of which are subjective in nature, so don’t let our denial deter your from sending your story to other publications. We wish you the best of luck on finding a publication for this story.
This is a standard form rejection from a new pro-paying market. I like this rejection because it mentions the subjective nature of getting a story published. Good stories are rejected all the time for all kinds of reasons. The editor’s reminder not to let that deter you from sending the story elsewhere is good advice and appreciated, even in a form letter.
Highlight Rejection 2: Sent 1/25/2018; Rejected 2/9/2018
Thank you for submitting your story, [story title], to [publisher]. 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.
You’ve certainly seen this rejection on my blog before (I’ll crack this market one of these days), but I’m including it here because of this sentence: To date, we have reviewed many strong stories that we did not take. I don’t believe this is a hollow platitude, and, as the letter says, I’m sure this publisher has turned down strong stories for fit or similar themes or many other reasons.
I’ve published four stories this market rejected, and I don’t bring that up because this market was wrong for rejecting my work (they were right to do so for the reasons they listed and probably a few they didn’t). I bring it up to demonstrate those stories were simply a better fit for another market, and continuing to submit them was the right move. So, when you get a rejection, don’t jump to “I wrote a bad story.” Instead, remember, “To date, we have reviewed many strong stories that we did not take.”
Stop the presses; I get to talk about an acceptance this month. 🙂
Acceptance: Sent 1/4/2018; Rejected 2/20/2018
Thanks for your submission, [story title]. I’m happy to say that I’ve acquired it for [publisher] [themed] issue!
There’s more to this letter, of course, but it’s all the usual stuff about contracts and edits and whatnot. I’ll announce the market and the story soon. This will be my second publication with this market, and I’m thrilled to add another repeat customer to my resume.
That’s it for my February. How was your month?