The Rejection Scorecard

As some of you may know, my professional career with the written word (such as it is) started in the tabletop gaming industry, where I worked as an editor, a game designer, and a writer. With over a decade working in that environment, it should be no surprise that I derive great satisfaction from creating needlessly complex rule systems for just about everything. So, let’s take some of that game design philosophy and apply it to submissions and rejections!

Before I get into this, a quick disclaimer. What follows is for fun, an entertaining (and overly complex) way to take your rejections in stride and illustrate one simple idea: a story that gets rejected (even multiple times) is not necessarily a bad story.

Got it? Cool. Now on to the Rejection Scorecard!

Here’s the main premise of my “system.” Every story you write and submit accumulates rejection points based on the type of feedback it receives in the form of rejection letters. The total number of rejection points is a story’s rejection score. When the rejection score exceeds 10, called the rejection threshold, it is an indicator the story might need revision before it goes out again.

So, how does a story score rejection points? By getting rejected, of course. That said, not all rejections are created equal, and you get different points based on the type of rejection you receive, as follows. If you need a definition on a type of letter, just click the link; I’ve covered all these on my blog.

As you can probably guess, this is like golf, and the lower the rejection score the better. In the case of the further consideration letter and short list letter, the negative point values apply to the follow up rejection for a total score. So, for example, if I get a further consideration letter and then the story is rejected with a form letter, I add 1 point (2 + -1) to the rejection score for the story.

I separated further consideration letters and short list letters because they aren’t always the same thing, and in my reckoning, making a short list is closer to publication than getting, uh, further considered. Of course, opinions might vary there, so assign whatever points you feel appropriate.

Something to consider with personal rejections. If you get one that gives you excellent feedback about a possible revision AND you agree with that feedback, then, you know, don’t worry about how many points the story has collected (remember, this is for fun). Revise that sucker.

Now let’s look at some rejection score examples from my own stories.

Example 1: “After Birth”

Rejections Points
Form 4 8
HT 3 3
Personal 3 0
FC 0 0
SL 2 -4
Total 7

So, as you can see by the table above, “After Birth” has accumulated 4 form rejections, 3 higher-tier form rejections, 3 personal rejections, and it has made the short-list twice. Both short lists resulted in personal rejections. All of this activity gives “After Birth” a rejection score of 7, which is below the rejection threshold of 10. In other words, after 10 submissions and 10 rejections, the story has received fairly good feedback, and a couple of the higher-tier rejections came from top-tier markets. It’s come close to publication twice, and the personal rejections were basically “we liked this story, but in the end didn’t feel it was a perfect fit.”

Example 2: “Set in Stone”

Rejections Points
Form 9 18
HT 1 1
Personal 4 0
FC 0 0
SL 2 -4
Total 15

Man, has this one been round the block. It’s come within a whisker of getting published twice, and one of those short-lists didn’t come to fruition not because of a follow-up rejection but because the publication closed down. That said, despite some good feedback, this story has received enough no-thank-yous it’s time to make some changes. I still believe there’s a publishable story here, and I think I know what to do to give it a better shot.

Okay, a few more examples, and this time we’ll look at the three stories I’ve actually published, and their rejections scores before the acceptance.

Form Higher-Tier Personal Further Consideration Short List Total Rejections Rejection Points
“Caroline” 3 4 1 1 1 9 7
“Night Games” 3 3 6 6
“Paper Cut” 9 3 3 1 16 19

So, the first two stories were well under the rejection threshold of 10 before they were published, and the feedback they received was universally positive. I included the last story, “Paper Cut,” simply to illustrate that this whole system shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and if you have a gut feeling about a story, like I did with “Paper Cut,” stick with it.

Option Rule #1: Pro Markets

Remember when I said “needlessly complex” in the opening paragraph? Well, I’ve restrained myself for the most part . . . until now! Yep, here’s one more thing to consider if, like me, you just ache for more modifiers and statistical pedantry.

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, a rejection, especially a ‘good’ rejection, from a magazine like Clarkesworld or Apex is a little more significant than the points suggest.” I think there’s some truth to that, so, if you like, use the following point values for pro-paying markets:

  • Form Rejection: 2 points
  • Higher-Tier Form Rejection: 0.5 point
  • Personal Rejection: -0.5 point
  • Further Consideration Letter: -2 points
  • Short List: -3 points

Keep in mind I’m talking about genre markets here, where payment tier and prestige often go hand-in-hand. I know that’s not always the case with the literary market, so if you’re a lit-fic writer, this optional system may not be as useful to you.

Option Rule #2: Other Modifiers

Of course, a system like this can’t account for every thing that could happen to a story out there, but here are a few other scenarios and some optional modifiers you could use if you like.

  • Honorable Mention: If you enter writing contests, then it’s possible the editors might formally recognize your story as one with merit without actually publishing it or really rejecting it. An honorable mention is kind of like a short list, but I think it’s slightly more significant. Go ahead and deduct 3 points from a stories rejections score if you get one of these.
  • Referral Rejection: Sometimes a market will send you a personal rejection that suggests you submit your story to another, usually related market because they think the story would be a better fit there. If you get one of these, deduct 1 point from the story’s rejection score.
  • Revision Request: Occasionally a market will request revisions to a story, usually with the often unspoken promise that if you make the revisions, they’ll accept the story. Sometimes, however, they’ll reject the story anyway (for a wide variety of reasons). If that happens, go ahead and deduct 2 points from the story’s rejections score (remember to add in the modifier for the rejection too).

Did I miss any rejection scenarios that should be on my list of modifiers? If so, please tell me in the comments. If I like your idea, I’ll update the post. Also, I’d love to see the rejections scores your stories have accumulated–published, not published, whatever.

Submission Statement: June 2017

My acceptance slump continued in June, though I did have one publication. I have two new stories I started sending out last month, so they’ve been piling up the rejections with all the usual suspects. Let’s have a look.

June 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 5
  • Rejections: 4
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 1
  • Other: 0

Roughly one submission per week in June. Not bad, but I’d like to double that in July.

Rejections

Four rejections this month, all of the form variety.

Rejection 1: Submitted 5/22/17; Rejected 6/19/2017

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.

Thanks again. Best of luck with this.

A form rejection from a top-tier magazine, one I’ve been trying to crack for a long time. I don’t find it particularly disheartening to receive a form rejection from this market (and others like it). The competition here is absolutely fierce, and they publish some of the best speculative fiction in the industry. In other words, I have to keep working to improve my craft and send them my very best. It’s a real challenge, and I dig that.

Rejection 2: Submitted 5/24/17; Rejected 6/19/2017

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.

Another standard form rejection from a top-tier market. I have had no luck with this particular market after seven submissions, and some of that may be because they primarily publish sci-fi, and what I tend to send them is sci-fi-ish. There are, of course, other reasons for the rejections, as they state in their letter.

Rejection 3: Submitted 6/19/17; Rejected 6/19/2017

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.

You may have noticed that the receipt date for the last three rejections are all 6/19/17. Yep, three rejections in one day. It happens, and I’ve become sufficiently inured to rejections now that it doesn’t bother me overmuch. You might also notice this is a same-day rejection. I sent the story at 9:46 a.m. and it was rejected at 3:43 p.m. That’s just under six hours. That’s not too uncommon either, and it doesn’t even come close to my record of 45 minutes for same-day rejections.

Rejection 4: Submitted 6/19/17; Rejected 6/21/2017

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 form rejection from one of my go-to markets. Like the market in the first rejection, I submit just about every new story I write to this market (if it’s of the appropriate genre, of course). No luck yet, but I’ll keep trying.

Publications

One publication for this month, and it’s a fun one. My short story “Scare Tactics” was published by Dunesteef in an audio format. They really nail all the voices, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. You can listen to the story by clicking the link or photo below.

 

Episode 194: Scare Tactics by Aeryn Rudel


And that’s my June. Tell me about yours in the comments.

Submission Statement: March – May 2017

Well, as you can tell by the title of this one, we’re playing a little catch-up. I haven’t been nearly as active with my short story submissions in the past three months, largely because my focus has been on Acts of War: Aftershock, my impending novel from Privateer Press. I haven’t been completely inactive, but these three months are well below my usual submission rate. Anyway, here’s what we’re dealing with.

March, April & May 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 8
  • Rejections: 6
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0
  • Other: 1

Yep, my submission slump continues and is not helped by the fact that I haven’t sent out many stories over the past three months.

Rejections

Six rejections for the period, only one of which can be categorized as a “good” rejection.

Rejection 1: Submitted 2/25/17; Rejected 3/19/2017

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.

Garden-variety form rejection from one of the pro markets in my standard submission rotation. Not much to see here.

Rejection 2: Submitted 3/13/17; Rejected 3/28/2017

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but we’ve decided not to accept it for publication.

We appreciate your interest in our magazine.

Another standard form rejection from a pro market. This is the first time I’ve submitted to this magazine, largely because they primarily publish fantasy and sci-fi, and I primarily write horror. I recently finished an urban fantasy story that fit the bill, though, so I took the plunge on a new market.

Rejection 3: Submitted 3/29/17; Rejected 4/9/2017

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX, but we’re going to take a pass on this one.

Yet another standard form rejection, this time from a pro audio market. This is the same story from rejection two, by the way.

Rejection 4: Submitted 3/19/17; Rejected 4/16/2017

Thank you for your interest in XXX. Although we enjoyed reading your story it is not the right fit for our magazine. We hope that you can place it elsewhere. Please feel free to submit to us again when we reopen our submissions.

This is a form rejection from a fledgling market, so I don’t have enough experience with them to tell if this is standard or higher-tier. It has some of the trappings of a higher-tier rejection–enjoyed reading, feel free to submit–but you never know if those statements are sincere or simple niceties until you have more rejections to compare. At this point, I’m going with standard form rejection.

Rejection 5: Submitted 3/20/17; Rejected 4/26/2017

Thank you for submitting “XXX” to XXX. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite meet the needs of our podcast.

This is a form rejection from another pro audio market. The story is a reprint submission of one of my more well received horror stories, and I was champing at the bit waiting for the rights to return to me so I could submit it to this particular market. I really thought it would be right up their alley, but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case. Please don’t take this is a complaint or a criticism of this market’s selection process or their editors’ tastes; it isn’t that. There’s nothing even approaching a guarantee in publishing, and sometimes your instincts on where to submit a story can be a little off or just flat wrong.

Rejection 6: Submitted 5/19/16; Rejected 5/22/2017

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.

Finally, a tiny ray of sunlight into the black void of submission purgatory. This is a higher-tier rejection from a pro horror market for a brand new story, one that I think has real legs. Getting this higher-tier rejection from one of the toughest markets in the biz is a good sign, and I’ve since fired it off to another pro market. Those of you who have followed my blog for a bit or who submit horror stories on a regular basis will no doubt recognize this rejection and the market from whence it came.

Other

One “other” for this period, a further consideration letter.

Further Consideration 1: Submitted 2/25/17; Rejected 3/19/2017

Thank you again for your submission. We really like this story and would like to add it to our short list, if that is okay with you. We will have the final decisions by July 1 at the latest. Let us know!

This is a new semi-pro magazine that publishes “extreme” horror. I sent them the only story I have that really fits that bill, a story that’s been on the cusp of publication before. This is good news, and unlike rejection five, where my submission instincts were a little off, it looks like I might have paired the right story with the right market/editor here. We’ll see. I certainly have a barrel full of rejections that arrived after a nice letter like this. 🙂


Okay, we’re all caught up. I’ll start doing these monthly again in July. Now, tell me about your recent submission triumphs and woes in the comments.

Submission Rotation – May 2017

Right now, until I put the finishing touches on a few works in progress, I have five short stories in my submission rotation. Most of these stories have been around the block a few times with varying levels of success. Of course, none of them have been published yet, but the responses they have received are an interesting study on what you might expect when you begin submitting your work.

Here are the stories and the responses they’ve received to date.

Title Length Genre Form Rejections Higher Tier Form Rejections Personal Rejections Short List
After Birth Short Horror 4 2 2 2
Akuma Short Horror 3 2 1  
Fair Play Short Urban Fantasy 2      
Red Season Flash Horror 5 1   1
Set in Stone Short Urban Fantasy 8 1 4 2

Here’s a quick summation of each story in the rotation and their performance so far.

After Birth: This is one of my few “extreme” horror stories, though I think it makes that definition by the skin of its teeth, mostly because of the premise more than the content. The responses I’ve received for this one have been good, and it is currently on the short list for one market and awaiting a final decision. Unlike many of my stories, I feel pretty confident about this one, and I think it’ll find a home soon.

Akuma: Fairly good responses so far for this one. The personal rejection included some very good feedback, and I’ll be revising the story soon. It might also get a title change in that revision.

Fair Play: This one is very new, and I’ve only submitted it twice. It’s gotten a couple of form rejection, but that’s a very small sample size, so it’ll be going out again.

Red Season: An older flash story that has received fairly good responses, making a short list and missing publication by an eyelash. It’s one of those stories that requires a pretty specific market, so I don’t submit it as often as I normally would.

Set in Stone: Ah, my lovable loser, and a story that is vying for the title of most-rejected. This story has gotten a lot of feedback, mostly praise, and has made two short lists. It feels a lot like the current rejection record-holder “Paper Cut,” which received sixteen rejections before it was published. Like I said, this story has received a lot of feedback, but most of it has been positive and nothing I could hang my hat on and say, “Ah, here’s what I need to revise.” Like “Paper Cut,” I think this story might be suffering from a rampaging case of right story, wrong market/editor. So, I’m gonna let it continue its historic run, and see if it can hit twenty rejections before all is said an done. After that, maybe I’ll overhaul it or self-publish.

To sum up, I think these stories illustrate the many different responses a story can receive and that rejections don’t always mean there’s something wrong with the story. If my story is making short lists and getting positive personal rejections in the vein of “good story but not right for us,” that’s an indication I need to keep sending it out. Perseverance is key to getting published, and you shouldn’t let three or four, or, hell, even sixteen rejections stop you from sending a story out until it finds a home. This is not to say that some stories don’t need to be revised along the way or even canned altogether, but I think it’s important to get a sizeable sample from multiple markets before you make that decision. In other words, you probably don’t need t go back to the drawing board after a couple of form rejections. What’s right for one publisher may be dead wrong for another.

How many stories are in your submission rotation? Tell me about it in the comments.

Swings & Misses: The Submission Slump

If you were to look at my acceptance ratio at Duotrope a few months ago, you’d have seen a number of around 20%, meaning, very roughly, that for every ten submission I sent, two would be accepted. In baseball terms, that’s a batting average of .200, which, admittedly, ain’t great for the MLB (the infamous Mendoza line), but from what I understand, it’s not a terrible number for writers.

Well, just like a baseball player, a writer can see his or her average plummet from too many swings and misses in a row, and that’s what’s happened to me of late. I’ve watched my acceptance ratio plummet to 11.3% (I’m hitting like a pitcher now) over the last couple of months. This is due to an extended string of rejections without the respite of an occasional acceptance. I’ve gone 0 for 17 since my last hit . . . uh, I mean acceptance. So, to amuse myself (mostly) and hopefully a few of you, I’m going to liken some of the rejections I’ve received in my slump to the various hitting woes a baseball player might experience over the course of the season.

Here we go.

1) The Routine Play Rejection – The player hits a medium-depth fly ball or a nice Sunday-hop grounder that even a little leaguer could field cleanly. It’s so common, it’s, yep, routine.

This is the vanilla form rejection that arrives by the publisher’s expected response time. No surprises here, just routine rejection.

2) The At ‘Em Ball Rejection – In baseball, the “at ‘em” ball is a ball hit straight at an infielder that results in a quick out. The player sometimes doesn’t even make it halfway down the line before the out is recorded.

In rejection terms, this is the fast, sometimes same-day form rejection you can get from some top-tier markets. You hit send and you don’t even have time to fantasize about selling a story to that one market you’ve been trying to crack for five years before the rejection arrives in your inbox.

3) The Can of Corn Rejection – The can of corn in baseball parlance is a high, lazy fly ball that gives the outfield plenty of time to settle under it and make an easy catch. It’s one of the more ho-hum outs you can make.

The rejection version of this particular baseball play is the form rejection that comes after months and months of waiting (6 months in this case). The editor has had all the time they need to make a decision, and that decision was “nope.”

4) The Circus Catch or Highway Robbery Rejection – The batter has done everything right. He’s made good contact and hit the ball hard, but the fielder makes a spectacular play, even leaping high over the wall to take away what should have been a homerun.

In rejection terms, this is that story the editor professes his or her love for but decides not to publish after a few months of deliberation because they have another story just like it, one they like a bit better, or a dozen other perfectly viable reasons beyond your control. You wrote a good story, sent it to a market that liked it, but despite all that, you still get a rejection.

5) The Swinging Bunt Rejection – Sometimes a baseball player will take a mighty hack at the ball, barely touch it, and hit a little dribbler out in from of home plate. Often, he won’t even realize he’s hit the ball fair until the catcher picks up the ball and throws him out at first while he stands there staring at the umpire like an idiot.

The rejection version of this particularly embarrassing situation is when you send out a story and realize, to your everlasting horror, you’ve sent an older, error-riddled version instead of the polished, properly formatted, and, you know, SPELL CHECKED, version you slaved over for hours. The rejection doesn’t say, “Hey, dumbass, you sent us something that looks your 7th-grade book report,” but in your heart of hearts, you know the truth.


Well, that’s a hopefully amusing look at my current submission slump. Maybe I’ll break out of it in April and hit for the cycle, which would be placing a story with a free market, a token market, a semi-pro market, and a pro-market in the same month. Hell, at this point I’d take a seeing-eye single through the infield because the second baseman got his spikes caught on the turf and fell flat on his face. Not sure what the literary equivalent of that would be, though.

I’d love to hear about your own submission streaks or slumps in the comments.

Submission Protocol: Should You Respond to Rejections?

This is a question I see in writing groups and forums fairly often, and here’s the Rejectomancy take on the subject.

Short Answer: No

The vast majority of the time you shouldn’t respond to a rejection letter, and here are the two primary reasons why:

  1. You don’t need to respond. Especially in the case of a form rejection, which a publisher might send out by the hundreds, no response is expected. It’s understood that your communication with the editor/publisher is over once they send a rejection and does not begin again until you send them something else. I’d say the same goes for personal rejections in that a response is not expected. If they ask to see more of your work in the personal rejection, THAT is the response they’re looking for.
  2. Many publishers specifically ask you not to respond. It’s not uncommon to see something in the submission guidelines discouraging responses to rejection letters. This is probably because of reason one, and it clutters up the editor’s inbox (especially with large publications who receive hundreds of submission a month).

Long Answer: Rarely

Okay, now that I’ve told you why you shouldn’t respond to a rejection letter, I think there are cases where it is okay. In fact, I recently did respond to a rejection to thank an editor for providing very useful feedback. The advice he offered will greatly improve the story, and I was exceedingly grateful for it. Since this particular market has published me before, and I’ve worked directly with the editor during that process, I felt a quick “thank you” wasn’t out of line. Of course, I couldn’t help starting my email with “I know you’re not supposed to respond to rejection letters.” Anyway, the editor sent me a polite note in reply, letting me know they usually don’t mind responses to rejection letters, as long as the author isn’t telling them how wrong they are for rejecting the story (more on that in a sec), and that it was nice to hear the feedback was well received.

Okay, with my little anecdote in mind, here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about responding to a rejection letter:

  1. Does the publication specifically ask authors NOT to respond to rejection letters? If so, then you should consider that part of the submission guidelines, and we always follow the submission guidelines, right folks?
  2. Is it a personal rejection? As I said earlier, there’s really no reason to respond to a form rejection, but a sincere, helpful personal rejection might warrant a response.
  3. Have they published you? If that’s a yes, then some kind of working relationship has been established. I’m not saying you are colleagues or best buds or anything, but you’ve likely communicated with the editor enough that a short note in reply isn’t out of line.
  4. What are you saying? If it’s a short “thank you for the very helpful feedback,” that’s fine. If it’s a pages-long diatribe that can be summed up as “how dare you not recognize my brilliance, you talentless hack,” then you need to step away from your keyboard and a) grow a thicker skin and b) remember that every writer, great and small, gets rejected. A lot.  The editor rejected your story because he or she didn’t like it, didn’t feel it was a good fit, or a hundred other perfectly valid reasons. Accept it, move on, and send them something else. I think the fact that the editor in my example felt the need to mention this bit of bad author behavior speaks volumes, i.e., it probably happens pretty regularly.

In summary, there’s usually no need to respond to rejection letters, but there might be occasions when it’s acceptable as long as you follow some common sense guidelines. Of course, like everything else on this blog, this is simply my opinion and shouldn’t be considered absolute fact.

What are your thoughts on responding to rejection letters? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Submission Statement: February 2017

February was a busy month submission-wise, though a somewhat frustrating one as well. Here’s how I did.

February 2017 Report Card

  • Submissions Sent: 9
  • Rejections: 7
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 0

Yep, no acceptances or publications this month. In fact, this is the first month I’ve been “skunked” since I started keeping track this way.

Rejections

Seven rejections this month, three of which could be categorized as “good” rejections.

Rejection 1: Submitted 2/6/17; Rejected 2/13/2017

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.

This is a higher-tier form rejection from a pro-market that exclusively published flash fiction. How do I know it’s a higher-tier form rejection? Because they allow multiple submission, and I sent them three stories in February, two of which received standard form rejections. I like this market a lot. They accept multiple and reprint submissions, and they respond quickly. What’s not to love?

Rejection 2: Submitted 2/6/17; Rejected 2/15/2017

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 from the same market that sent rejection number one. Not much to see here, as this is pretty run-of-the-mill form rejection fare.

Rejection 3: Submitted 2/16/17; Rejected 2/18/2017

Thanks for submitting “XXX,” but I’m going to pass on it. It didn’t quite work for me, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way.

One of the top-flight horror magazines opened up for submissions in mid-February, so I sent them a couple of stories. This is the first, and it resulted in a two-day form rejection. If you write horror, I’m sure you know which market I’m talking about, and I’d be willing to bet you’ve seen this rejection a few times yourself.

Rejection 4: Submitted 11/8/16; Rejected 2/19/2017

Thank you for your submission and patience. However, we’ve decided to pass on this one. It was a very tough decision to make.

We’ve received over 720 submissions, and your story made it to the final ballot. The main reason for rejections is that we had to find the best ghost/creature/human-horror/literary/fantastical story out of the bunch. We didn’t want to print too many stories with the same theme/sub-genre.

Since you made it to the final ballot please know that we sincerely look forward to reading more fiction—short or long—from you in the future.

Oh, man, this one was a heart-breaker. The editor really liked the story–he said as much in a further consideration letter in November–but they ultimately decided to pass on it. It’s a good rejection in that they want to see more work, and I’ll definitely send some their way. I talk more about this rejection and others like it in this post: Rejections: The Bad Beats.

Rejection 5: Submitted 2/16/17; Rejected 2/19/2017

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 another form rejection from the same market as rejections one and two. Nothing significant other than it arrived the same day as rejection number four, making it a multi-rejection day.

Rejection 6: Submitted 2/22/16; Rejected 2/23/2017

Thank you for sending us “XXX”. We appreciate the chance to review your story, but don’t feel that it will work for us. Best of luck finding it a home elsewhere.

This is a very standard form rejection from a new market. Not much to see here.

Rejection 7: Submitted 2/25/16; Rejected 2/25/2017

Thanks for submitting “XXX,” but I’m going to pass on it. It’s nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn’t quite win me over, I’m afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way. I look forward to seeing your next submission.

A bright spot for the month is this higher-tier form rejection from a pro horror market I’ve been trying to crack for years. This is the first time I’ve received the “next level” form rejection, so that’s a good sign. Coincidentally, this is the same story as the heart-breaker rejection from 2/19/2017 and the same publisher as the standard form rejection that arrived 2/18/2017. This particular story is currently under consideration at another pro horror market, so I’ll likely have an update for the March submission statement.


And that was February. Tell me about your February adventures in submission land in the comments.