Submission Statement: February 2019

And there goes February. Let’s have a look and see how I did.

February 2019 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 7
  • Rejections: 7
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 1
  • Submission Status Queries: 2

Seven submissions is, well, not good enough. If I want to hit my goal of 100 submissions for the year, I need to step it up in March. I’m at 16 total for the year, an average of 8 per month, and I need to bump that up to an average of 9. So I’m gonna shoot for a dozen subs this month to get back on track.

You’ll notice I sent two submission status queries this month. I don’t generally have to do that, but occasionally the need arises. Don’t be afraid to send these when your submission starts getting long in the tooth, but be sure to check the publisher’s guidelines. Many will tell you when and when NOT to send a query. If you’re polite and follow the guidelines, the publisher won’t be offended. In fact, sometimes they’ll respond with an apology and a promise to read your work right away. (That happened with one I sent this month). If your curious about what a submission status query should look like, here’s the template I use:

Dear Editors,

I would like to inquire about the status of my submission [story title] submitted to [publisher name] on [month, day, year]. Thank you. 

Best,

Aeryn Rudel

That’s it. Short, sweet, to the point. Just the facts, basically.

Rejections

Seven rejections for February.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 5
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 1
  • Personal Rejections: 1

Not a particularly impressive group of rejections, and nothing really worth sharing.

Acceptances

Got another reprint acceptance from Mystery Tribune for my story “Father of Terror.” This one was originally published by The Molotov Cocktail and took second place in their Flash Icon contest a couple of years ago. The version Mystery Tribune published is just a tad different, but it’s essentially the same story. You can check it out under publications.

Publications

One publication this month, the aforementioned “Father of Terror.” Free to read online.

“The Father of Terror”

Published by Mystery Tribune (free to read)


And that was my February. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: January 2019

Well, here we are, one full month into the new year, so let’s see how 2019 is treating me so far.

January 2019 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 9
  • Rejections: 7
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 2

Nine submissions isn’t bad, and it puts me on pace for my 100-submission goal. Seven rejections is pretty average, and a lot of these were for submissions I sent in 2018. One acceptance and a couple of publications round out a decent month.

Rejections

Seven rejections for January.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 3
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 2
  • Personal Rejections: 2

Both personal rejections were for the same story, and one of them was a short list rejection. Those are always a little tough. You know you got close, just not close enough.

Spotlight Rejection

The spotlight rejection this month is one of the personal rejections.

Dear Mr. Rudel,

[Story Title] is a very good story, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite match our needs for [upcoming] issues. I hope you find a good home for it elsewhere.

What I want to highlight here is something I talk about a lot–writing a good story is only one part of the equation (and important part to be sure) that gets you an acceptance. As the editor states here, sometimes a “very good” story does not get accepted because it just doesn’t fit the content needs of the publisher. There are, of course, many reasons that might be. The voice or style could be a little off for the market, or maybe the story doesn’t match up with stories they’ve already accepted for upcoming issues, or maybe they’ve recently published a story that’s similar, or maybe a dozen other perfectly valid reasons. The point is don’t take these kinds of rejections too hard, but do take the editor at their word and send that story somewhere else.

Acceptances

One acceptance this month from a market new to me. The story “The Sitting Room” is a reprint, and it’s one of the few pieces I’ve written that does not have a supernatural element. You can check it out under publications below.

Publications

Two publications in January, both reprints, both free to read online.

“The Sitting Room”

Published by Mystery Tribune (free to read)

“The Rarest Cut

Published by EllipsisZine (free to read)


And that was my January. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: November 2018

November is in the books, so let’s see how I did with submissions for the month.

November 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 8
  • Rejections: 5
  • Acceptances: 3
  • Publications: 1

Eight submissions for November. Not too bad. That puts me at 115 submissions for the year. The rejections and acceptances put me at 94 and 19 respectively. Yes, if you’ve seen any of my recent Tweets about rejections, my numbers were off. I miscounted the number of rejections I had. Thought I was closer to one hundred. There’s a chance I won’t even hit 100 rejections for the year now, which, oddly, kind of bums me out.

Rejections

Just five rejections for October.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 3
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 2
  • Personal Rejections: 0

Nothing too exciting here. Three standards and a couple of upper-tier rejections.

Spotlight Rejection

The spotlight rejection for November comes from one of my favorite markets, one that is now back in action after a long hiatus.

Dear Aeryn, 

Thank you for submitting [story title]. We appreciate your interest in [publisher]. 

Unfortunately, it is not quite right for us. Best of luck placing it elsewhere. 

This is a very standard form rejection, so there’s not much to talk about here. I’m just thrilled I can send submissions to these folks again.

Acceptances

Three acceptances is a good number, and all were special in their own way. The first was for a story I really like that has gotten close a number of times, but has never found a home, until now. It ended up with a newer publisher, but one that pays a pro rate. The second acceptance is for a story that was actually accepted earlier in the year, and then the publisher closed before it was published. It was nice to find that one a spot again. Finally, the third story is a reprint that will gain new life with a new publisher (one of my favorites).

Publications

One publication in November, which is free to read online.

“The Last Scar”

Published by Trembling With Fear (free to read)


And that was my November. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: October 2018

October has come and gone, and here are my submission endeavors for the month.

October 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 10
  • Rejections: 11
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 3

Ten submissions is solid, and it puts me at 106 for the year. Lots of rejections this month, and for the first time in a while, no acceptances.

Rejections

Eleven rejections for October.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 8
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 2
  • Personal Rejections: 1

As usual, lots of standard form rejections with a smattering of upper-tier and personal.

Spotlight Rejection

The spotlight rejection for October comes from a big market I really hope to crack some day.

Dear Aeryn, 

Thank you for sending us [story title] for consideration. 

We appreciate the opportunity to read your work, but unfortunately this one isn’t for us. 

Please note we received more than 1,750 submissions for approximately 20 slots, which means a lot of very, very good stories are not making the cut. (There are even some great stories that just aren’t right for our market.) 

Please keep on writing, revising, and submitting to the very best markets you can find. It can be an arduous journey, but a fulfilling and rewarding one as well. And with each new story you write, you’re honing your craft. No effort at your writing desk is ever wasted.

We wish you the very best of luck with your work. 

Some of you won’t have much difficulty figuring out which market this rejection comes from, but I shared it because of the submission numbers the editor included. This is a good example of the kind of odds you’re sometimes up against with pro markets. Here we’re looking at 20 slots for a whopping 1,750 submissions. That’s around a one-percent acceptance rate. As the editor points out, this means very good and even great stories are going to be rejected. It’s good to keep that in mind when you’re submitting to big markets so those form rejections don’t bum you out too much.

Publications

Three publications in October, the first of which is free to read online.

“When the Lights Go On”

Published by The Arcanist (free to read)

“Burning Man”

Published by Havok Magazine

“Time Waits for One Man”

Published by Factor Four Magazine

 


And that was my October. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: September 2018

Another month of submissions, rejections, and acceptances in the books. Here’s how September shook out.

September 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 10
  • Rejections: 6
  • Acceptances: 2
  • Publications: 1

I’m happy with ten submissions for the month, and two acceptances is pretty solid too. Only one publication this month, but I’ve got a bunch slated for October. As for total submissions, I finished September with 96, just four away from my goal of 100.

Rejections

Six rejections for September.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 5
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 1
  • Personal Rejections: 0

Mostly standard form rejections from pro markets this month, though I think one might be an upper tier (more on that below).

Spotlight Rejection

The spotlight rejection for September comes from a pro market I’ve never submitted to before (though I certainly will again).

Dear Aeryn,

Thank you for submitting [story title] to [publisher] for consideration. Unfortunately, we’re going to pass on this one. It just didn’t work for us.

We look forward to reading further submissions from you.

Best,

This might be an upper-tier rejection, but it could just be their standard form too. Some markets include verbiage like the second sentence in all their rejections. Since I don’t have any other rejections from this publisher to compare it to, it’s hard to say.

Acceptances

Two acceptances this month. That continues my streak of eight straight months with at least one acceptance. So far, only January has skunked me. The two acceptances in September bring my yearly total to sixteen.

Here’s one of the acceptances I received in September. This one is for a story that had received a bunch of close-but-no-cigars. It took second place in a flash fiction contest, and I’m very pleased it has finally found a home.

Hi Aeryn,

We’re happy to announce that your story [story title] is the Second Place winner of our [contest name]

We’ll be publishing your story on October 19.

There’s more to this acceptance, but it’s just the usual payment and rights stuff. This one should be available to read soon.

Publication

One publication in September, which you can read below.

“What Kind of Hero?”

Published by Ellipsis Zine


And that was my September. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: July & August 2018

Well, I missed the submission statement for July, so I’m just gonna lump it in with August. Here’s a couple of months of submissions, rejections, and acceptances.

July & August 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 13
  • Rejections: 10
  • Acceptances: 7
  • Publications: 3
  • Other: 3

Thirteen submission is pretty good, though most of those came in August. Ten rejections for two months is a little on the low side, but that’s because seven acceptances in on the very high side. Three of the acceptances were also published in in July or August. Lastly, the three others are short-list letters, two of which became acceptance letters. So, despite just an average amount of submissions sent for these two months, results-wise, this might be my best two month period, uh, period.

As for total submissions, I hit 86 for the year by the end of August. I’ve already sent some September submissions, though, putting me at 88 and just twelve away from my goal of 100.

Rejections

Ten rejections, five for July and five for August.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 7
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 2
  • Personal Rejections: 1

More form rejection than anything, and these were all from pro markets. The two upper-tier form rejections were from a semi-pro and a pro market. The personal rejection was from a pro market.

Spotlight Rejection

The spotlight rejection for the July and August is the personal rejection I received.

Thank you for allowing us to read your story, [story title].

Thank you for being patient while we held your story, but we did not choose it for the lineup.  Any story in the hold pile was one that we would have been happy to publish, but we didn’t have the resources to publish all of the stories that we liked and we have to make some hard choices.  We hope you find a publisher for it, and that you will submit again in the next submission window.

While we don’t always offer comments on stories, this time we did.  These comments are meant to be helpful; if you disagree with the comments, then you should feel free to disregard.

“A well-done piece of flash, foreshadowing major consequences, letting the reader wonder, until the chilling reveal and a solid final line.”

Best,
[editor]
[publication]

This is a personal rejection after a short-list letter for a pro market that received over 1,200 submissions during their submission window. The comments here are great since they basically tell me I’ve got a good story on my hands. But you know what I’m gonna say. Yep, good stories get rejected too, especially when you’re up against tons of other submissions by lots of talented writers. If you get a rejection like this, don’t overthink it. Just send that story out again. That’s what I did.

Acceptances

So, yeah, seven acceptances is pretty damn nice. It broke down as three for July and four for August. The only really interesting thing about these acceptance letters is most of them were essentially form letters. That’s not uncommon, honestly, as editors have to get across a lot of information in an acceptance letter about contracts, publication dates, editing, and what they need from the author (bios, author photos, etc.). Since many publication send their acceptances in batches just like their rejections, a form letter makes a lot of sense. Sometimes a personal note about the story will be tacked on to the end of the acceptance letter, but that stuff usually comes in the emails that follow.

Here’s an example of one of those acceptance form letters:

Hi Aeryn,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your story [story title]. I’d be delighted to publish it on [publication].

I’ve scheduled it for publication on 14 September, if this date changes I will let you know.

Thanks again for submitting your work.

Regards

More on this acceptance and some of the others as they near publication.

Publication

Three of the stories accepted in July and August have been published, and you can read them by clicking the links below.

 

“Two Legs”

Published by The Molotov Cocktail

 

“Do Me a Favor”

Published by The Arcanist

 

“Bear Necessity”

Published by The Molotov Cocktail

 


And that was my July and August. Tell me about yours.

Submission Statement: June 2018

June was another active month that kept me well ahead of pace for my goal of 100 submissions for the year. Here’s the down and dirty.

June 2018 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 12
  • Rejections: 10
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 1
  • Other: 1

Twelve submissions is great, and I ended the month with 72 total for the year (and an average of exactly twelve per month). A couple of the rejections stung a bit, only because I thought I had a good shot at an acceptance on at least one of them. Still, I did get an acceptance from a market I haven’t submitted to before, so that’s always good. The publication is for a story accepted in May, and the “other” is a withdrawal letter.

Rejections

Ten rejections, which is about average for my submission output at this point. Here’s how the rejections breakdown.

  • Standard Form Rejections: 5
  • Upper-Tier Form Rejections: 2
  • Personal Rejections: 3

Half the rejection were upper-tier form or personal rejections, and there was one short list rejection and a couple of close-but-no-cigars. I really wanted an acceptance for that short-listed story because it was for a fairly prestigious anthology, and I thought my story was a nice fit for the theme. But that’s the way these things go, and editors have to make tough decisions when they’re filling those final slots. This is one of those stories that’s gotten close a couple of times, so I think it’ll find a home in the near future.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how long it took for each market to read and reject the story.

Rejection Date Sent Date Received Days Out
Rejection 1 8-Apr-18 1-Jun-18 54
Rejection 2 11-May-18 1-Jun-18 21
Rejection 3 10-Jun-18 14-Jun-18 4
Rejection 4 17-Jun-18 18-Jun-18 1
Rejection 5 11-May-18 21-Jun-18 41
Rejection 6 26-Apr-18 24-Jun-18 59
Rejection 7 25-Jan-18 25-Jun-18 151
Rejection 8 25-Jun-18 26-Jun-18 1
Rejection 9 26-Jun-18 27-Jun-18 1
Rejection 10 27-Jun-18 29-Jun-18 1

Pretty standard rejection times for these markets, though some were a bit speedier than usual. The longest wait was 151 days, and that’s because the story was short listed. In that case, the publisher sent a short list letter to inform authors the wait time could be longer than usual as they made final decisions.

Other

The “other” this month was another withdrawal letter.

Dear Editors,

I submitted my short story [story title] to [publisher] on [date]. I sent a submission status query on [date]. At this time, I would like to withdraw the story from consideration. 

Best, 

Aeryn Rudel

This is an example of one of my basic withdrawal letters. Like all queries and withdrawals, be professional and simply state the facts.

Acceptances

One acceptance for the month, from a market I haven’t subbed to before (but almost certainly will again).

Many thanks again for your story, we both really enjoyed it and would like to publish it at [publisher]. Attached is a copy of our standard contract for you to fill in, sign, and return.

In my experience, most acceptance letters read like a very welcome type of form letter. I think this is because they are the opening salvo in a longer communication between editor and writer. Yes, you should always respond to acceptance letters. 🙂 Additional communications of a much more individual nature always follow, revolving around the contract, any necessary edits to the story, when the story might be published, etc.

More on this acceptance as it nears publication.

Publication

One publication in June. My story “The Inside People” was published by Ellipsis Zine. You can read it by clicking the link below.

“The Inside People”


And that was my June. Tell me about yours.