That could be a full stop, but I’ll say a little more. Writing is a hamster wheel of rejection. Writers keep going because it’s sort of fun and occasionally the hand of God comes down with a tasty nibble while the Metatron booms, YOUR WORK HAS BEEN SELECTED.
Except it’s all in email, and sometimes God takes money from you, and the Metatron rarely ever pays you back.
But how much rejection, I hear you asking.
Breakdown of Lit Mag Submissions: 2022 Edition
In 2022, I received 130 rejections. Of those, 51 were tiered (some form of direct note from the editor and/or a response encouraging me to try again during the next window).
I had 14 dead letters: markets that never responded one way or the other, went out of business, melted down on Twitter and stopped reading subs, etc.
I had 1 revise and resubmit.
And I withdrew pieces 21 times, in all cases because the piece was picked up in one of my 12 acceptances.
That’s 166 sends for 12 yesses. 130 times I opened an email to not-good news.
But when YOUR WORK HAS BEEN SELECTED happens, man, is that awesome. It keeps you going through rejection.
So if you, like I have certainly been at various points throughout the year, are feeling grumbly about the “no’s,” concentrate on “yes.” One great tip I’d love to pass on, courtesy of Tommy Dean (who is a great writer and is also editor of Fractured Lit), is to label those “no’s” as “pass” instead of something like “decline” or “rejection.” Another thing I do is highlight the YES answers in my spreadsheet a bright spring green.
I’ve also heard that most markets accept around 1% (yes, ONE!) of all work submitted. It’s tough out there. On that note, I’d like to share this YouTube video of the editors of Apex Fiction deciding when they would stop reading and pass on a piece. It’s a real eye opener!
Good luck out there to all the writers, and THANK YOU to all of the readers!
Addison resident Laura McPherson has been writing professionally for over a decade, balancing her writing skills between both fiction and nonfiction. By day, McPherson writes in a more corporate style; by night, she unleashes her creativity and focuses on personal projects…
February: Flash satire “The New Millennial Library from A to Z,” The Gorko
Spring ’23: Guest lecture “Pynchon’s Sexy Lampshades: Categorizing Femininity, Feminism, and Universality with Pynchon’s ‘Accessible’ Women,” at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Spring ‘23: Short Horror “Eigengrau,” Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror
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