Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG: Rejections - The Bark is Worse Than The Bite

It's the first Wednesday of January and 2016, so it's time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group of 2016. Woo-hoo! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is open to anyone who wants to participate. Simply add your blog to the linky list and post the first Wednesday of the month. Share your insecurities and/or your reassurances. Be sure to visit our wonderful January co-hosts: L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!


My insecurities were really bad in November and December. It was hard to get to a positive place. I figure this is more a reflection of how I was feeling about myself over all, but a lot of it got directed toward my writing.

It wasn't the rejections, despite the title of this post. Well, no more than usual. It may be trite, but rejections do keep me moving forward, because they mean I'm working.

In November, I had a magazine I was supposed to be in come out without my story in it. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. Release day is always so exciting. To have it come out, view that cover, and then open it up and get that ugly surprise is unpleasant, to say the least. It was deflating.

It was an honest mistake. I've since spoken with the editor. But I realized this was a secret ugly fear that existed within me. And now that it's happened, I can move past it. It sucked, but the world didn't end. I spent an upset, sleepless night wondering what had happened. How had I been overlooked? Was there something wrong with my story? Did they drop me on purpose? I needed answers, and I'm not a patient person.

None of these concerns proved true. It wasn't about me. And that's what conquers that fear. In the beginning, I feared rejection. Not anymore. I'm still disappointed, of course, but I don't fear it. The rejections don't come with stamps that say "YOU SUCK." No editor has ever ripped my story apart, though I've gotten feedback from several.

It's part of what I do. I've learned some interesting lessons since I began submitting my short stories for publication. I've learned that you can do everything right, and still have things go wrong. You can do everything wrong, and still have things go right. I've had a magazine fold before it could print the story it had accepted. I've had a magazine fail to put my story in the correct issue. I've had a magazine publish my story, but not pay me. Multiple magazines have shut down while I had submissions out to them. There have been other disappointments, but they haven't stopped me. Eventually, they become fodder for stories, or something funny I can talk about, even if they don't seem funny in the beginning.

I still don't handle rejection well in real life, but short story rejections are survivable. Always remember that. Don't fear submitting because you fear the rejection that may come in response to it. That rejection is just a sign you're doing something right.

For those that are new here, I do a monthly roundup of my submission/rejection stats. I figured since it's January, I'll do my monthly roundup, followed by my numbers for the year.

In December, I:

Got 2 acceptances
Got 2 rejections
Withdrew 1 story when it was accepted elsewhere
Submitted 1 story (December was slow, and I already had stories pending)

I currently have 5 stories on submission, which is super low, but I have a couple stories I need to turn back around that were rejected this week, and I need to write some more to make up for the ones being accepted!

In 2015, I:

Got 9 acceptances
Got 60 rejections

Woof. That's a lot of rejections, right? But that means I submitted at least that many times. I guess I have a 15% acceptance rate? I'd love to improve that number this year.

On that note, let's hit the links.

I do not endorse the following, just pass them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

The Forge is a new literary magazine accepting submissions. 3000 words or less. Rotating editors, including our own blogging buddy Damyanti. Pays $.05/word up to 1000 words. No deadline, but editors change monthly.

Comet Press is accepting submissions for The Hardcore Horror Annual 2015, a new anthology. Short stories and novelettes. I'm unsure of pay. Deadline is January 30.

Fey Publishing is accepting submissions for the anthology Damsels in Success. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $5 per story. Deadline January 31.

The Overcast is accepting submissions for podcast. Speculative fiction. 2000-3000 words to make a 20 minute podcast, though they'll consider 1000-5000 words. Pay $.02/word. Deadline January 31.

Wordrunner eChapbooks is accepting submissions of fiction, memoir, and poetry. The theme for this submission period is Devices: Technology's impact on our lives and relationships. 1000-5000 words. Pays $5 to $20. Deadline January 31.

Dark Warrior Publishing is accepting submissions of serious science fiction. 2500-7000 words. Pays 1% royalties for a year, plus a contributor copy. Deadline January 31.

The Liz McMullen Show Publications is accepting submissions of essays and short stories for Laughing Out Loud: A Lizzie's Bedtime Stories Humor Anthology. 2000-4000 word essays or 3000-4000 word short stories. Pays $50, plus contributor copies. Deadline January 31.

Contests:

Elevate Your Pitch challenges you to post a powerful pitch paired with a musical track from Elevation. Four sentences or less. Winning pitch will receive the right to use an Elevation track in a book trailer. Deadline January 28.

Other:

Bent On Books posted a holiday wish list from agents. Thanks to Stacy S. Jensen for passing this along to me!

How many rejections did you get this year? Do you track your submissions? Have you looked at your annual numbers? Are you amped for this year? Any links to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.




69 comments:

  1. I know it's quite easy to get into a funk over what seems from the outside like a small thing. I'm glad you got those acceptances, and it's great you're being so proactive in submitting stories! Well done. I hope you have even more success in 2016 :)

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    1. Funks come easy, that's for sure. It's become so rote now, going through the submission process. I actually enjoy it.

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  2. Short story rejections are completely survivable. I myself have survived many! And thank you for the list, very helpful.

    Also, I'm trying to let my bloggy friends know that I've switched sites. You can find me at http://libbyheily.com/blog/

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    1. New site noted! There are definitely bigger issues to deal with than short story submissions.

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  3. That really stinks about your story!

    And you are totally right about this - "I've learned that you can do everything right, and still have things go wrong. You can do everything wrong, and still have things go right." But we keep at it because it's what we do, right? :)

    Good luck in 2016!

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  4. I can just imagine the feeling of opening the magazine and not finding your story. What a disappointment. So glad though that it was an honest mistake.

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    1. Gah, it was an awful feeling. And I discovered it at 3AM, so I went to bed miserable.

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  5. When someone with as many victories as you have talks about having insecurities it makes me think I should be really insecure myself. I think you've got a lot going and I give you a virtual pat on the back.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  6. I'm sorry! That does sound disappointing. Glad it wasn't about you though. And after all those magazines closing or messing up before that, you know it happens. Keep submitting!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, the magazine market is a fickle beast, for them and for us as writers.

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  7. I'm sorry your story was included. I hope they fix the problem and will publish it in another addition.

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    1. It will be in their May issue, so it's a ways out since it's only 2x per year.

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  8. I don't think I could make the time to do that many submissions. That's impressive.

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    1. I try to have the next place I want to submit already figured out, so when I get a rejection, I already know where to send it. It doesn't always work that way, of course, but it helps when it does.

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  9. Wow, that had to hurt about that magazine! I am so sorry it happened. The word "Goodbye" keeps wanting to be written on my blog. 2,469 posts so far. But if we quit, we actually are rejecting ourselves, right? Silly.

    Hopefully, your acceptances surpass your rejections by far! Have a great 2016!

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    1. That's a great way to put it. If we give up, we're rejecting ourselves. Completely agree.

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  10. I got close to that number of rejections this year too. It's the ones I get short listed at that still sting, otherwise I'm better at handling them. I had an acceptance on the last day of 2015, so that helped a lot! Thanks for the links. Here's to a great 2016 for all of us. :)

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    1. Yes! It's so much worse when you've been short listed and then receive a rejection. It just amps up the hope too high. Congratulations on that acceptance!

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  11. You sound like a successful writer to me...some rejection and some success. For better or worse, I don't think either ever really go away. Keep plugging along though:)

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    1. Thank you! I like the way you see things. ;)

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  12. That had to be one serious disappointment for you when you didn't find the story you expected to find. I can understand why you'd want an explanation. Good for you for following up and moving on.

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    1. It was definitely a serious disappointment. Now filed under "These Things Happen," methinks.

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  13. I can imagine your disappointment. What a downer, but at least it turned out okay. I've heard you are not a real writer, until you have been rejected. Rejections are sort of like trophy's for us writers. I don't have a lot yet, because I have not put myself out there that much so far. Kudos to you for doing that.

    You sound successful to me too.

    Happy New Year, wishing you much success and less rejection lol,
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. You say you don't have a lot yet, but that means you have some, which makes you a real writer.

      Delete
  14. I can imagine your disappointment. What a downer, but at least it turned out okay. I've heard you are not a real writer, until you have been rejected. Rejections are sort of like trophy's for us writers. I don't have a lot yet, because I have not put myself out there that much so far. Kudos to you for doing that.

    You sound successful to me too.

    Happy New Year, wishing you much success and less rejection lol,
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You said you don't have a lot yet, but you have some, which makes you a real writer!

      Delete
  15. You're my hero. =) Seriously. Most people go through the rejection phase and die the death inside. But, they also don't land any publication credits. You get out there and persist, and I always find that inspiring. Way to be, Shannon.

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    1. Aw, thank you! There has been some inside death, and then I move past it. Ha!

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  16. Crystal is right, such a blow, but you've moved past it and I've always admired your resilience. Your updates show exactly that - submissions and rejections. You've found a balance that works. Congratulations. Great links all - thanks!

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    1. I am definitely resilient. That's a nice way to put it. Others might term it stubbornness. Tenaciousness? Pitbull with a ham bone?

      Delete
  17. You were far more productive than I was. I don't submit anywhere. :)

    I'm glad to hear that you're handling your responses well and moving forward. That's good! I hope you do increase your acceptance percent this year!

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    1. I hope you do submit, if that's something you'd like to do.

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  18. Hi Shannon! Handling rejection is so tough, there are wusses like me who rarely submit anything. I never think my work is finished which is part of the problem.
    I can feel your disappointment with that magazine mistake. But I'm glad it's sorted. No matter how many people say it's not personal when you receive rejections, it's still hard to deal with it. But we must (says the non submitter!) Thanks for inspiring me to put myself out there to be whacked over the head!!

    Happy New Year!

    Denise :-)

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    1. Things definitely feel personal when it's something you've created, but of course it isn't! I hope you get some submissions out there.

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  19. That is true, wrong and right can sure be subjective and switch depending on the person/day/place you submit to.

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    1. Definitely. There's a lot of subjectivity in this business. If it's not the submissions, it's the reviews.

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  20. Its cool that you do write and submit so much. Lots of work, but the acceptances do make up for the defeats.

    Thanks for the links.

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    1. I need to write more! Probably what we all say, right?

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  21. That's too bad that someone's mistake caused such angst for you. Don't take it personally. I'd say that rejections happen to anyone who ever tries for anything worthwhile.

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    1. That's definitely a good way to look at it. It makes you try all the harder.

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  22. Hi Shannon,

    You maintain a remarkable, undaunted spirit, my lovely friend. You have the right attitude and knowing what you've been experiencing, similar to me on the health front, that makes you quite the marvel.

    All the best, Shannon.

    Gary :)

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    1. Thank you, Gary. I shall marvel at my marvelosity.

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  23. Congrats on your upbeat attitude. You don't let rejections prevent you from sending out more. Best wishes for a great 2016.

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  24. Okay, I'm just totally impressed because...I have yet to submit any stories for publication anywhere besides my own blog. That's something I want to change this year. But I don't expect to be able to manage more than about 1 a month, while keeping up with everything else. So you are amazing to me :)

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    1. Good luck! I hope you get some stories submitted this year!

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  25. Hi Shannon - oh mistakes do happen - we need to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, even if we're spitting hell and brimstone out of mouth as we think it!

    That's great you've got so many stories out there .. and then the listings - so helpful to have.

    Happy New Year - 2016 will be good .. cheers Hilary

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    1. There was hell and brimstone in my head, but I figured there had to be some kind of reason. And the editor involved is swamped dealing with other people's mistakes, so there was definitely a reason.

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  26. Ouch! I wouldn't have been able to sleep either.

    I keep track of things, but I don't look back (or I haven't yet).

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    1. Looking back makes me feel like I've accomplished something. Given, I'm also a serial looker-backer.

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  27. Hello Shannon and Happy New Year!
    Your articles are so encouraging to me. I have already submitted one short story and will submit two more before the month is out. So thank you.
    I wish you success and all the best for 2016.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. That's fantastic news! Congrats on getting your work submitted.

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  28. Hi again,
    I forgot to say that I'm sorry about the mistake. I can imagine that it hurt. I too am impatient and when I expect something to happen and it doesn't then it takes me a two or three days to get it worked out.

    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. I'm definitely impatient, too. I was probably a little too impatient with my follow up, but it seems like it all turned out okay.

      Delete
  29. Oh, rejections hurt, but at least you got some acceptances out of your submitting process. And every acceptance is worth at least 10 rejections, right? I'm sorry about your story that was dropped out of the issue by mistake. That must've really sucked. Hopefully they will include it in the next issue. And I applaud your overall positive attitude. Happy New Year and many more acceptances to you.

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    1. It's supposed to be in the May issue! I like your math.

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  30. I think you did amazing. You got 9 stories accepted! You go girl! This was such a positive post. I still fear rejection. For some reason I think that the stench of failure follows me everywhere. But it is something I have to get over. Thank you for lifting my spirit. May 2016 be a great year for you and your family.

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    1. Rejection is so hard to take. I don't take it well in any aspect of my life, so I get it.

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  31. I can feel that hurt! Hopefully, they have agreed to run it in the next issue. Still, you have done a great job pushing out the work and getting it accepted. Focus on the good!

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    1. They have! It should come out in May (2x a year publication). Last year was definitely a far cry better than the previous one.

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  32. No matter how seasoned a writer is, rejection SUCKS! We deal with it but it still hurts. It's not our fault, but it still cuts. So glad you aren't letting it keep you down!

    AND I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your posts full of possibilities! All the links for submissions... I love getting your email notifications - and believe me, I don't say that much! THANKS!

    Happy 2016! blessings and prosperity to you!

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  33. Thank you for sharing our Pitch contest!! I don't submit stories, but I dealt with a disappointing marketing debacle this past year, involving NaNoWriMo, that fell through at the very last *$^%# minute. After a year of back & forth communications & brainstorming, it didn't happen. NO explanation. Tons of time wasted. Lots of wine consumed. All we can do is stay tough & true to ourselves and move forward. And your writing is flipping awesome--don't ever think otherwise:)

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    1. That's awful, a year of work down the drain just like that. Sorry that happened to you.

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  34. I am so glad you were able to find out what happened with the story for the magazine. I would have been thinking the same thoughts you were thinking- and getting to the bottom of things must have been a huge weight off your chest. I haven't kept track of my rejections, but there are definitely more of them than the acceptance pile. :) It is important to put ourselves out there and to brush off the rejections and not let them stop us.

    Wishing you all the best in 2016!
    ~Jess

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    1. Definitely. We deal, then we move on. This is one of those reasons articles with famous people's rejections are so good to read sometimes.

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  35. You are a writing and submitting machine. My head is spinning with all you do. I'm very proud of you keeping on top of the submissions and rejecting the rejections. You go, grrl! In 2015, I submitted my third mystery to a new (for me) publisher and it was accepted and published in October. Thanks for your inspiring blog!!

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