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.
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.
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.
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.