Submission Statement: July 2017

July was a much better month mostly because I finally ended my six-month-long acceptance drought. That alone is enough to crown July as my best month of the year. Here’s the nitty-gritty on my submission endeavors in July.

July 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 5
  • Rejections: 2
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 1
  • Other: 0

Again, I’m getting an average of one submission per week. I keep telling myself I need to double that.

Rejections

Only two rejections this month, but both are noteworthy.

Rejection 1: Submitted 4/19/17; Rejected 7/5/2017

Very sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but we just made our final decisions today. We are going to have to pass on the story, however. This is the hardest part of the job, having to decline stories that we enjoyed so much, simply because didn’t have the space to include them all. It was a real struggle choosing the final stories. I appreciate your patience and hope to see submissions from you in the future.

Another heartbreaker rejection for a story that was short-listed. This is the second rejection of this type for this particular story, and although it’s certainly a positive sign that it keeps making short lists, it’s frustrating to get so close and fall short again. Of course, my frustration is not in any way directed at the publication (that would be real silly and unprofessional). This was the first issue of this particular magazine, and I know they had some very tough decisions to make. I’ll definitely submit to them again when they reopen for their second issue, and I’m looking forward to reading the stories in issue number one.

Rejection 2: Submitted 7/5/17; Rejected 7/5/2017

Thank you so much for thinking of XXX. Unfortunately “XXX” is not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Best of luck placing it elsewhere.

This is just a garden-variety form rejection, but what makes it noteworthy is how quickly I received it. This market has a very quick turnaround, usually rejecting submissions (mine, at least) in the same day, but this particular rejection came in less than thirty minutes. Now, it’s important not to read too much into that. I think it’s likely the editor was reading submissions when I submitted, read mine, decided it was a no, and fired off the rejection. I have no issues with that whatsoever. The quicker I get it back, the quicker I can send it out again.

Acceptances

One acceptance for July, and a welcome one, ending a six-month slump.

Acceptance 1: Submitted 6/22/17; Rejected 7/22/2017

Thanks for letting us read XXX! We would love to publish it in XXX.

There’s more to this acceptance letter, but it’s just the usual contract/legal stuff. This is a new market that pays solid semi-pro rates, and I’m glad to be among their initial bunch of published stories. They publish sci-fi and fantasy but under very broad definitions, so some horror is not out of the question (as evidenced by the story they accepted). The story is tentatively scheduled for publication on 8/5, and you’ll be able to read it on their site. I’ll announce it, of course, as soon as it’s live.

Publications

One BIG publication in July, my second novel for Privateer Press, Acts of War: Aftershock. Details below.

War Has Come Again to Llael

On the heels of inflicting defeat upon the Khadorans at Riversmet, Lord General Coleman Stryker marches deeper into enemy territory to prepare a major assault. But he is unprepared for the avalanche of a massive Khadoran counterstrike. Empress Ayn Vanar and Supreme Kommandant Irusk send their nation’s most fearsome warcasters to retaliate against the invaders and secure her conquered territories at any cost. Hope comes in the form of Ashlynn d’Elyse, warcaster and leader of the Llaelese Resistance, a woman with no love for Cygnar but who could make for a powerful ally if convinced to help. Along with Asheth Magnus, Stryker’s enemy-turned-ally, this unlikely team must fight to persevere despite being outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and cornered with only their wits and a few warjacks to save their cause from utter annihilation…

Get an eBook – $7.99:

Get it in Print $15.99:


And that’s it’s for July. Tell me about your submission adventures for the month in the comments.

Excerpt: “Caroline” from Red Sun Magazine #3

My story “Caroline” was just published in Red Sun Magazine #3, and it’s the cover story. The you can check out that cover below by the incredibly talented Mitchell Malloy. The piece perfectly captures a scene from “Caroline,” not to mention the overall tone of the story. Also in this issue, Red Sun horror editor Phillip Englund interviews me in a vain attempt to discover what exactly is wrong with my brain that makes me write such bleak and horrific tales. 🙂

The good folks at Red Sun have also given me permission to publish the first 500 words of “Caroline” right here on my blog to whet your appetite for the rest of the story, not to mention the other great stories that are offered up in issue #3.

An Excerpt from “Caroline” from Red Sun Magazine #3

“Can I go to the basement to see Daddy?” Caroline said.

Barbara set the shotgun on the kitchen counter, made sure the safety was on, and knelt down to her daughter. “No, honey. Daddy isn’t ready for visitors yet.”

“When he finishes his lessons?” Caroline asked, hopeful. She and David had been very close, and Barbara knew she felt the loss more deeply than her twelve-year-old brother. Mark wanted nothing to do with his father.

“Maybe, but that might be a long time from now.” She pulled her daughter close, and Caroline melted into the embrace. After a few moments, Barbara gently pushed Caroline away. It took real effort to let her go. “Now go outside with your brother and Uncle Robert. I’ll call for you when I come back upstairs.” It was just too dangerous to have the kids in the house during rehab.

“I could help you with the lessons,” Caroline said. “I could help Daddy too.”

Barbara smiled. “I know you could, but remember what the people from the Rehabilitation Agency said. Just one of us right now, until he gets a little better.” Caroline was so smart, and she was fascinated by the rehab process, questioning Barbara on every detail. Barbara didn’t tell her daughter much–most of it wasn’t fit for an eight-year-old to hear, and the rest . . . She wouldn’t dash Caroline’s hopes like that.

“Please, Mom. I miss him so much.” Tears stood in her pale green eyes. Green like her father’s used to be.

“Go on, honey. Now,” Barbara said. It was a knife in her heart to see Caroline like this.

Caroline shuffled to the sliding glass door, opened it, and stepped out into the backyard. Her brother and her uncle were waiting for her. Robert looked a lot like David; he was three years younger, though his hair had started to gray at the temples. Stress, probably. She watched him scoop up Caroline, saw her come alive in his arms, smiling and laughing as he spun her around. Mark walked up behind them. He was smiling, too. They all looked happy. Despite the terrible thing that had happened, her family looked happy.

She watched Robert and her children for a few moments, trying to soak in as much of their joy as possible. Robert didn’t like staying outside while she was downstairs. He wanted to be with her if things got bad, but she wouldn’t allow it. She needed him to stay with Mark and Caroline. She didn’t want to worry about them while she worked with David. There was another reason, too, one she couldn’t tell him. Robert had become the bedrock upon which they were rebuilding their lives. She couldn’t risk him getting hurt, or worse. She remained devoted to her husband, but if David couldn’t come all the way back . . . She pushed the thought from her mind, guilty for even considering it. It was too soon to be thinking like that.


If you like what you’ve read, head on over to the Red Sun Magazine website and purchase issue #3 for the rest of the story, plus a whole bunch of other goodies.

January 2017 Submission Statement

The first month of the new year has come and gone, and it was a fairly average submission month for me. I always feel like I should send more submission out, you know, because I totally should, but half a dozen ain’t terrible. Let’s dive in.

January 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 6
  • Rejections: 5
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Publications: 1

Rejections

Five rejections this month. Two of them are for “Story X1,” a story whose journey through the submission process I’m documenting in the series Real-Time Rejection II: The Saga of “Story X1.”

Rejection 1: Submitted 12/5/16; Rejected 1/6/2017

Thank you for submitting “Story X1” 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.

Thanks again. Best of luck with this.

Super standard form rejection from a top-tier market. Not much to see here, but I discuss this particular rejection in more detail in this post.

Rejection 2: Submitted 1/6/17; Rejected 1/6/2017

Thank you so much for thinking of XXX. Unfortunately “Story X1” is not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Best of luck placing it elsewhere.

Another rejection for “Story X1.” Yep, this one is a same-day rejection and also was part of a multi-day rejection with the last letter. I admit, that shit used to bother me a lot more. Now? Not so much. My toughened rejectomancer hide is all but numb to the form rejection at this point. 🙂 Anyway, I discuss this rejection in more detail here.

Rejection 3: Submitted 1/14/17; Rejected 1/19/2017

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to our Flash Doom contest. We were very happy to see such high-quality submissions. The judging process is never easy, but this one was tougher than most.

Unfortunately, “XXX” was not selected for our Top 10, but we very much enjoyed the chance to read it.

Thanks so much for your participation. We couldn’t do these contests without you. 

This is a standard form rejection from The Molotov Cocktail for one of my three submissions to the Flash Doom contest. And, yes, they’re totally cool with me naming the publication here. They’re a great zine, and I have nothin’ but love for Molotov.

Rejection 4: Submitted 1/14/17; Rejected 1/19/2017

Thanks so much for entering our Flash Doom contest. As always, we had so many great entries.

Unfortunately, your entry “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 last stages of judging. As a result, we’ve given you a “Close But No Cigar” shout-out on our Flash Doom results page (https://themolotovcocktail.com/).

We encourage folks who didn’t quite make the cut to think about submitting those pieces for consideration in our regular issues (free to submit). We’ve published a good number of them that way in the past.

Thanks again for your participation, and for writing such an entertaining story.

Another rejection from The Molotov Cocktail for the Flash Doom contest. This one fell into the “close but no cigar” category, which makes this a higher-tier rejection, I suppose. I submit a lot of stuff to The Molotov Cocktail, and they publish a fair amount of it. How much? Ten stories so far.

Rejection 5: Submitted 1/21/17; Rejected 1/28/2017

Thank you for the opportunity to read “XXX”.  Unfortunately, the story didn’t fit our current needs.  Best of luck placing it elsewhere.  

This is a form rejection from a new market, one I hadn’t tried before. They’re an audio market that publish writers from the Pacific Northwest, so I figured I’d send them a reprint as an opening bid. Most audio markets are cool with reprints since they publish in an entirely different format, so they’re not really reprints to them. Anyway, I’ll send these guys more stuff in the future.

Rejection 6: Submitted 12/7/16; Rejected 1/31/2017

Thank you for the opportunity to read your story! Though “XXX” did make our final voting round, unfortunately we’ve found it is not a good fit for our upcoming issue.  We wish you the best of luck finding a home for your story elsewhere. We would love to see more from you in the future!

What we have hear is a nice, encouraging personal rejection from a pro-paying market. It’s always a bit of a bummer to know you got close to an acceptance but didn’t make the final cut. Still, this tells me the story might have legs and that I should send it out again as is, which I’m totally gonna do. I’ll also be sending this publication more of my work. Hey, they said they wanted to see more, right?

Acceptances

One acceptance in January from my old pals at The Molotov Cocktail.

Acceptance 1: Submitted 1/15/17; Accepted 1/19/2017

Congratulations! Your Flash Doom entry, “An Incident on Dover Street,” has made our Top 10 as an honorable mention. This means that it will be published in our upcoming Flash Doom mega-issue (to run on January 20th) and it will be included in our third annual Prize Winners Anthology print edition this fall.

You can check out where your entry specifically placed by visiting the site: https://themolotovcocktail.com/

Thanks so much for your participation in the Flash Doom contest and for writing such a kick-ass story. We’re honored to be able to feature it.

An honorable mention and a publication is good stuff, and this makes ten stories The Molotov Cocktail has published. I’m already gearing up for the next flash contest, Flash Rage.

Publications

One publications this month, the aforementioned Flash Doom entry “An Incident on Dover Street.”

Publication 1: 1/20/17

“An Incident on Dover Street” – The Molotov Cocktail

Another trunk story that started out as a flash fiction piece, was expanded into a short story (and rejected a few times), then shrunk down again into a flash piece again and submitted, accepted, and published with The Molotov Cocktail. A bit if weird path to publication for this one, but I’m thrilled it has found a home.


Well, that’s my January. How has the new year been treating you? Tell me about it in the comments.

October/November 2016 Submission Statement

I didn’t have a chance to recount my submission efforts for October, so I thought I’d combine them with November and do one big ol’ update. What follows is a two-month submission report, and since I was fairly active, especially in November, there’s a lot to get through.

October/November Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 9
  • Rejections: 8
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Other: 2
  • Publications: 2

Rejections

I finished new stories in October and November and began sending them out to the usual suspects. I’m also documenting the progress of one of those stories through the submission process in Real-Time Rejection II: The Saga of “Story X1.” A good portion of the rejections that follow are for the two new stories.

Rejection 1: 10/22/16

Thank you for sharing your story with us at XXX. While it doesn’t meet our editorial needs at this time, please keep us in mind for future submissions.

This is a higher-tier form rejection from one of the top markets in the fantasy genre. That’s a bit of a rarity for me since I don’t write a lot of fantasy. I sometimes stray into dark urban fantasy, which is what this submission was. Anyway, this is the first time I’ve submitted to this particular market, and getting a higher-tier rejection isn’t the worst way to begin. I have another submission under consideration with them at the moment.

Rejection 2: 10/29/16

Thanks so much for entering our Flash Fear contest. We had so many quality entries this time around.

Unfortunately, your entry, “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 last stages of judging. As a result, we’ve given you a “Close But No Cigar” shout-out on our Flash Fear results page.

We encourage folks who didn’t quite make the cut to think about submitting those pieces for consideration in our regular issues (free to submit). While there’s no guarantees, we have published a few that way in the past.

Thanks again for your participation, and for writing such an entertaining story.

The Molotov Cocktail held another flash fiction contest in October, and I sent off three submissions. This is one of the few times where I’ll violate my blog rule of keeping the name of the publisher secret (I cleared it with editor Josh Goller first) because they’ve published a bunch of my stuff and I have nothing but great things to say about them (not that I have anything negative to say about other publishers), and it’ll be obvious who the publisher is once we get to the publications part of this post.

Anyway, this is a “Close but no Cigar” rejection, which is kind of like a higher-tier form rejection. I’ve since sent this particular story out again.

Rejection 3: 10/29/16

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to our Flash Fear contest. We were very happy to see such high quality submissions. The judging process was a particularly arduous one. 

Unfortunately, “End of the Line” was not selected for our Top 10, but we very much enjoyed the chance to read it.

Thanks so much for your participation. We couldn’t do these contests without you.

This is a standard form rejection from The Molotov Cocktail for one of my three submissions to the Flash Fear contest.

 

Rejection 4: 11/9/16

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 “Story X1,” and it’s a higher-tier form rejection from one of the top markets in the horror genre. This is the first time I’ve managed anything but a standard from rejection from this particular market after many tries, so not a bad way for “Story X1” to kick things off.

Rejection 5: 11/10/16

Many thanks for sending “Story X1”, 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. 

Another rejection for “Story X1.” This one is a standard form rejection from another top-tier horror market. I generally hit all the pro markets with a new story first, so you’ll see a bit of a theme with the rejections for “Story X1.”

Rejection 6: 11/11/16

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.

Here we have rejection #3 for “Story X1,” and it’s one my fellow horror authors will likely recognize. This is a standard form rejection from one of the toughest markets to crack in the biz, and I could probably wallpaper my office with these things if I were to print them all out.

Rejection 7: 11/12/16

Thank you for your patience while our editors reviewed your submission. Unfortunately, XXX has not been accepted for publication in XXX. We hope you continue to submit to XXX in future and I wish you all the best with your publishing endeavours.

When you’ve received as many rejections as I have, they really do lose their sting, and I barely even notice form rejections at this point. This rejection, however, is the type that still leaves a bit of a mark. It’s a personal rejection after I received a further consideration letter from the publisher. These are always a little disappointing because you know got close to an acceptance (well, closer than usual, anyway). Still, this was my first submission to this publisher, and I got close. That means I need to send them more stories, which I certainly will.

Rejection 8: 11/30/16

Thank you for your interest in our magazine. Unfortunately, after reviewing your submission, we have decided that it is not for us at this point in time. As much as we hate to reject any work of fiction, please remember that it is not a value judgment based on your lovely skills and talent; it really is us, not you. We hope to see you on our submissions list in the future!

This is the fourth rejection for “Story X1,” and it appears to be a standard form rejection. Though this has some verbiage you sometimes see in higher-tier form rejection, this is a new market, and this is my first submission to them, so my gut says standard form rejection.

Other

I received a couple of further consideration letters in October and November.

Further Consideration 1: 10/31/16

Thank you for your submission to XXX.

Your short story XXX has made it through to the next stage of submission. This involves your story going to our editors at the end of the month for a final decision and can take a little while so we appreciate your patience.

Following is feedback from our readers.

– Nicely crafted urban fantasy story.

– Edgy piece, nicely written. I had to look up Baba Yaga to get the full meaning of the ending of the story, however.

I or the editors will update you on the outcome as soon as we are able.

This is a further consideration letter eventually resulted in rejection #7 above. This one is interesting because it offers some feedback from their readers. I discuss this rejection in further detail in this post.

Further Consideration 2: 11/20/16

I love this story! I have short-listed it. And it’s a short list.

Would you mind if I held on to this story until the close of submissions, February 1st? We just opened and we’ll receive a lot more submissions.

Please advise.

This particular further consideration letter is interesting for the simple fact the publisher gives me the option to pull the story if I so choose. I’m not going to do that, and I hope my story survives the winter. I discuss this letter in further detail in this post.

Acceptances

One acceptance for the last couple of months.

Acceptance 1: 10/29/16

You’ve done it again! 3rd place in Flash Fear for “Masks,” a truly imaginative piece with some bite to it. Really enjoyable read. 

By now we have your PayPal ID and you just sent over another bio, so just let us know if you want anything different for either. We’ll issue your prize payment within about 14 days.

Thanks again for writing such kick-ass stuff.

An acceptance and a third-place finish in the most recent flash fiction contest from one of my favorite publishers. It’s always great when you can find a publisher that digs your stuff enough to keep publishing you.

Publications

Two publications this month: a short story and a gaming article.

Publication 1: 10/31/16

“Masks” – The Molotov Cocktail

My one acceptance is one of my two publications in the last couple of months. My story “Masks” took 3rd place in The Molotov Cocktails Flash Fear contest. I’d been sitting on that particular story for years, but I thought it might be a good fit for the contest. Looks like I was right. You can read it by clicking the link above.

Publication 2: 11/21/16

“Weapons & Warriors: The Protectorate of Menoth Privateer Press/No Quarter magazine #69

My second publication is in No Quarter magazine for Privateer Press. I still write game-related articles for my former employer on a pretty regular basis, and this one kicks of a new series where I take elements of real-world fighting styles and apply them to the weapons and warriors of the Iron Kingdoms. The series lets me nerd out with two of my favorite subjects: fencing/martial arts and WARMACHINE/HORDES.


My apologies for the overly long post, but it was a fairly active couple of months. How was your October and November? Tell me about it in the comments.

September 2016 Submission Statement

September was a solid month, and my progress with short story submissions was much less sloth-like than previous months. It’s a mixed bag this time, with rejections, acceptances, and some noteworthy publications.

September Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 7
  • Rejections: 5*
  • Acceptances: 1
  • Other: 0
  • Publications: 2

*Three (3) of these rejections were for submissions sent in September.

Rejections

Here we go. This is what Rejectomancy is all about! Five rejections this month; let’s have a look.

Rejection 1: 9/3/16

Thank you for your submission to XXX. 

We regret that we are unable to publish “XXX” We are grateful for the opportunity to consider it, and we wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere. 

A common form rejection from one of the bigger horror markets. Nothing much to see here, really, and I’ve received this exact rejection numerous times. This will be a running theme for September, by the way.

Rejection 2: 9/3/16

Thank you for your interest in XXX, unfortunately, your story does not fit our needs at this time.

As this is a brand new publication with no real backdrop of study, you should not take this rejection personally. Please submit again in the future, however, no sooner than 20 days from the date of this notice.

The 3rd was a multiple-rejection day, and this one is from a brand new market. It’s a pretty standard form rejection, but I like the note they tacked on at the end. I don’t put a lot of stock in this canned niceties you often see in rejection letters, but this is always good advice. Rejections are NOT personal.

There’s one other thing about this rejection that’s a bit different. They ask you not to resubmit for a period of 20 days. It’s not uncommon for publishers to do this, though I usually see it in their submission guidelines. I think it’s a good idea for a publisher to remind writers of this particular rule in a rejection, since it’s likely you haven’t looked at the publisher’s guidelines in quite some time, and the rejection will be fresh in your mind.

Rejection 3: 9/12/16

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.

Remember that theme I talked about in rejection number one? So, I finished a new story this month, and, as I usually do, I’m sending it to all the top-tier markets that accept horror. These are all exceedingly tough markets to crack, and I’ve received lots of form rejections, like this one, from all of them. Anyway, this is another standard form rejection. Moving on.

Rejection 4: 9/14/16

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. 

Another standard form rejection from a top-tier horror market for the same story as the previous rejection. What’s great about these markets is they’re really fast, usually taking no more than a couple of days to send a rejection. So, I can usually hit three or four of them in the same week.

Rejection 5: 9/15/16

We have read your submission and will have to pass, as it unfortunately does not meet our needs at this time.

Remember when I said these top-tier markets are quick? This one is by far the quickest, and this rejection came within an hour and a half. That’s not even my record for this publisher. I once received a rejection in 46 minutes. I honestly don’t know how they do it, but I appreciate the lightning-fast response. Another standard form rejection, likely recognizable to anyone who regularly submits to the pro horror markets.

Acceptances

One acceptance this month, though it comes with a catch (see below).

Acceptance 1: 9/10/16

Normally, on the blog, I’ll share just about everything with you when it comes to ejections and acceptances, but this is one of those times where I can’t. The acceptance letter for this month contains some information I’m not at liberty to divulge, and there’s really no easy way to excise that info from the letter. I’ll just say that it’s an acceptance from a market that’s published me once before, and it’s a story I’m really excited about. I’ll post more info when I can.

Publications

My two publications this month are a little out of the ordinary in that they’re both audio publications.

Publication 1: 9/23/16

“Night Games” – Pseudopod

Man, I was excited for this one. I sold my vampire/baseball story “Night Games” to Pseudopod way back in December of 2015. As you can imagine, a market like Pseudopod needs a bit more time to prepare a story for publication, what with securing voice work, recording, editing, and so forth. In addition, the editors thought it would be fitting to publish the story at the end of the 2016 baseball season, and I wholeheartedly agree.

The narrator, Rish Outfield, did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the story turned out. Normally, I wouldn’t harangue you to go out and read/listen to one of my stories, but in this case, I’m gonna. Why? Well, “Night Games” is my favorite of the stories I’ve written thus far, and I think it’s very indicative of my writing style (that’ll be good or bad depending on your point of view and tastes). And, seriously, the narration is just awesome. It’s worth the price of admission all by itself (the story is free to listen to, by the way).

Publication 2: 9/27/16

Flashpoint – Privateer Press/Audible

So the second publication is the audio version of my Iron Kingdoms novel Acts of War: Flashpoint. Again, the narration, this time by Noah Levine, is top-notch, and it was really cool to hear all the characters in the book come to life. I was really happy with the way this turned out, and I’m grateful to Noah and Audible for doing such a bang-up job.

Anyway, if you’d like to listen to Flashpoint, click the pretty picture below.

flashpoint-audio-cover

And that was my September. How was yours?

Acceptance Letter Archive: The Acceptance + Edits Letter

So, uh, I haven’t received any rejection letters lately. Note, this is not because I’m such a better writer now; I’ve just failed to send any submissions. Since I’m short on rejections to talk about, I thought I’d add another entry into my much smaller (minuscule, really) acceptance letter section on the ol’ blog.

The letter I’m going to talk about today is the acceptance + edits letter, which, in my experience, is not too uncommon. Basically, it’s a very polite (and welcome, I might add), “Hey, we dig your story, and we’re going to publish it, but fix this stuff first.”

Here’s one from my collection.

Thanks for your submission, “XXX.”  I’m happy to say that I’ve acquired it for XXX issue! I’ve attached your story with my edits. Once you’ve read through and addressed every suggestion to the best of your ability, send your polished version to my associate editor, [name], and she’ll work with you to get your story ready for publication. I’ve also included [name], XXX’s production manager, so she can send you your contract when it gets closer to our publication date.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know.

In this particular case, the edits comprised of a dropped word and the editor’s request that I remove the profanity from the story. These guys are a family friendly market, and I missed that in the submission guidelines (negative Rejectomancy XP for me), so I had absolutely no problem making the changes.

In my experience, most of the changes a publisher will ask for after an acceptance are minor and amount to proofing rather than actual editing. That’s not surprising, really. Smaller markets don’t usually have the resources to overhaul a story, no matter how much they like the concept. In other words, they’re looking for stories that don’t require a lot of editing. Keep that in mind when you’re polishing up your work for submission.

So what happens if you don’t agree with a publisher’s edits? I’ve run into this a couple of times, and the answer is really simple: let the editor know, politely, that you disagree with a suggested change and then explain why. In my experience, you’ll then have a dialog with the editor that will result in a) you keeping the story the way you want it or b) coming to a compromise that works for both of you. Remember, editors are often writers too, and most are quite willing to work with an author so he or she is happy with the published story.

Have you received an acceptance + edits letter? Tell me about it in the comments.

May 2016 Submission Statement

May is over, and it was a good month, if not an overly productive one. I spent much of May working on the final edits of my novel Flashpoint, so there wasn’t as much time to submit short stories as I would have liked. In fact, I managed only a single submission. That said, a few of the submissions I sent out in months previous bore some fruit.

March Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 1
  • Rejections: 3
  • Acceptances: 2
  • Other: 1
  • Publications: 1

Rejections

Let’s eat our rejection vegetables before we get to the tasty acceptance dessert, shall we?

Rejection 1: 5/5/16

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but it’s not quite what we’re looking for and we’ve decided to pass on this one. Best of luck with your work.

This is just a standard form rejection, which, at this point, hardly registers on my woe-is-me meter, but this one was a little disappointing. You see, I had gotten a very nice referral rejection in April that suggested I submit the story to this publication. So, I got my hopes up a bit that I might get an acceptance here. Alas, it was not to be. What’s the lesson here, boys and girls? Don’t hope. Hope sucks.

Rejection 2: 5/14/16

Thank you for submitting work to our Flash Felon contest. The judging process seems to get more and more difficult each time. Some truly imaginative stories this time around.

Unfortunately, “XXX” didn’t make it into our Top 10. However, this entry did make it through several rounds of cuts and was ultimately very close. As a result, we gave you a shout-out on our results page as a “close-but-no-cigar.” If you’re so inclined, we would encourage you to submit this piece for consideration in our regular issues (free to submit). We’ve published a handful of close-but-no-cigar contest entries in our regular issues in the past.

Thanks so much for your participation. We couldn’t do these contests without you. 

I don’t normally list the names of the publications in my rejections, but since I also got an acceptance from this publisher for the same contest AND it was published in May, it’s kind of hard to avoid. Josh Goller, the editor-in-chief at The Molotov Cocktail is a great guy, and I know he won’t mind. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Molotov, and they’re one of my favorite publications.

Anyway, this was a rejection, but it fell into their close-but-no-cigar category for the Flash Felon contest, which means the story might have legs in their regular monthly issues. I might just submit it there.    

Rejection 3: 5/31/16

Thank you for sending us “Story X”. We appreciated the chance to read it. Unfortunately, this piece is not a good fit for us. Best of luck with this in other markets.

This innocuous little form letter is actually the death knell for “Story X.” Yep, this was the tenth and final rejection. As promised, I revealed the story in its entirety when I posted the final rejection. You can read that here.

Acceptances

Two acceptances in May, both good ‘uns.

Acceptance 1: 5/14/16

Congratulations! Your Flash Felon entry, “The Sitting Room,” has been selected as an honorable mention. This means that it will be published in our upcoming Flash Felon mega-issue (to run on Monday, May 16th) and it will be included in our second annual Prize Winners Anthology print edition in October.

Thanks so much for your participation in the Flash Felon contest and for writing such a kick-ass story. We’re honored to be able to feature it.

Yep, one of my stories landed an honorable mention in The Molotov Cocktails Flash Felon contest. Again, I don’t mind letting you know who the publisher is here because I’m going to reveal it anyway when I get to the publications section. You should totally read my story, but, please, please, please make sure you also read the winner of the Flash Felon contest “The London Umbrella Company” by Jan Kaneen. It’s just one of the best goddamn pieces of flash fiction you’re likely to encounter in this world or the next.

Acceptance 2: 5/28/16

Thank you for choosing to submit your work to XXX. The staff enjoyed your story “XXX” very much, and we’d like to publish it as our feature story for issue #1 due in JUL.

What that means is we’d run your story as the headliner and interview you for our “Author Spotlight” section. We do this once per issue.

I’m sending a contract with electronic signatures. Please review the contract and sign.

Let me know if you have questions or concerns or if you do not receive the contract.

Okay, this one was especially sweet. Why? Because the story this market accepted is my most rejected story of all time; it’s also one of my favorite stories. It received a bunch of close-but-no-cigar rejections, but after many, many tries, it failed to find a home. Finally, the story has found its way to someone who liked it as much as I do. In other words, sometimes you have to just keep plugging away and go with your gut on a story, despite the rejections. Why? Because rejections don’t always mean “bad story,” they often mean just what the rejection letter says: not right for us, doesn’t meet our needs at this time, and so on, and so on.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about this one, and I will, of course, give you all the details once its published.

Other

One letter that is neither a rejection nor an acceptance this month.

Further Consideration/Short list Letter 1: 5/12/16

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX. One of our first readers has read your story and believes it deserves a closer look. We would like to hold it for further consideration. Good luck!

What we have here is a further consideration letter from one of the top markets in the speculative fiction industry. From this magazine come Hugo, Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and Bram Stoker Award nominees and winners (among others). This is the first time I’ve gotten anything but a form rejection from them, so, yeah, that’s pretty damn cool. I will not allow myself to get my hopes up here, though. The competition at a market like this is fucking fierce. I am, however, happy to have at least gotten through the front door, so to speak.

Publications

One of my stories was published this month.

Publication 1: 5/16/16

As I noted earlier, my flash story the “The Sitting Room” was awarded an honorable mention in The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Felon contest. Give it a read if the mood strikes.

And that’s how my May shook out. What did yours look like?