Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG - Oh, the Rejections & Links

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by the Ninja Captain, himself, of which I missed two months, but I'm back in the game now. 

What am I feeling insecure about right now? Let's see, I got three rejections for short stories just this week. In fact, I got two in the same day and one the next day. So, yeah, I'm feeling a lot like it's all a big mistake. It would be mighty nice if I got just ONE acceptance in there to maybe get those coals stoked back up. But I resubmit and resubmit and resubmit. I'm playing the game, or is the game playing me? And what happens when I've run through all the magazines that accept horror short stories?? What then? They seem kind of limited. 

In short, I'm feeling a little bit abused and quite a bit bruised. And I'm questioning if I'm really ready to be submitting, but my critique group is supportive. Then again, I got a little ripped apart the other night, but maybe I didn't and I was just feeling...insecure. Seeing as how I had three fresh rejections under my belt from that day and the day before and all. Hey, look, she has feelings! And major insecurities that she buries under a hard candy shell. My writing was the only thing I felt okay about for awhile. Haha, where's that now?

BUT, guys, I'm submitting. I'm getting it out there. I only feel this depressed because they're fresh. I know how many rejections people have reported getting. I know I'm short on that list, so far. But I also worry that I'll run out of horror magazines to submit to and I'm not sure what to do then. I don't really have much control over that one. Yes, there are more if I consider non-paying markets, but that's not what my goal is, so I'd rather not go there.

Still, as we all tell each other when a rejection comes in, you're writing. You're actively submitting. And that's exactly what those rejections tell you. They say you're getting yourself out there, that you're taking it seriously. I'm not just claiming to be a writer. I'm writing and I'm submitting. And that's going to have to be good enough for now.

Now for some links. Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting these publications/contests, merely passing along information I've happened across. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

AGNI Magazine is looking for your poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays, reviews, and interviews. They pay per printed page. Current deadline is May 31. Note: This is a mail-in publication.

Chuffed Buff Books is putting together an anthology of short stories: Tales of Mystery, Suspense & Terror. Deadline May 31. Pay is £5. Victorian era ghost stories. 2000-3000 words.

Blood Bound Books is doing something a little different. They are introducing four themes for novel submissions. The first submission period will be for Sci-Fi, Horror, and Dark Fantasy. Deadline May 31. They will choose one author during each period to receive a publishing contract and more.

Sirens Call Publishing has an open call for Out of Phase: Tales of Sci-Fi Horror. Deadline May 31. Pays in royalties. 

Crossed Genres Magazine is accepting submissions for their current theme: Typical. They pay $.06/word. Deadline May 31. 1000-6000 words. 

Commonweal Magazine accepts articles on pubic affairs, religion, literature, and the arts. They also print poetry. Pay not mentioned. Lengths vary by type of feature. 

That's Life wants fast fiction in the form of humorous, positive contemporary stories. 700-2800 words. Pays per page. 


Quantum Fairy Tales is holding a contest this month. They're looking for sci-fi haikus. Post in the comments on their blog by May 30. The winner gets a gift certificate from Think Geek.

Unicorn Press is holding their Annual First Book Contest. Seeking full-length poetry manuscripts. Deadline May 31. Winner gets $250 and publication.

Xchyler Publishing is holding a short story contest, with winners going into their anthology. Their fall paranormal anthology will be Mr. & Mrs. Myth. Deadline May 31. Pays royalties. 

Any of these interest you? News to share? Anything else to share? What are your insecurities? How many rejections have you received recently? What's the highest number of rejections you've received in one week?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I don't write horror, but I think that there is probably a fairly limited number of markets for stories in any genre. If you submitted the SAME story to all three and were rejected by all three, but you think the story has possibilities, stick it in a drawer for a while. Write something new. Tweak it. Refine it. Submit it to the same folks who rejected your other story (and maybe some new publications) and see what happens. While that story is out there, dig the old story out of the drawer. It is possible that all it needs is for you to look at it with fresh eyes to make it the best it can be.

    Don't give up. If they don't love your first story, second story, or even third... it doesn't mean that you've failed. Think of those stories like base hits in baseball. It's only a matter of time before you hit a homer.

  2. I also got a rejection this week :( I still feel a bit upset over it, but it was a very kind and personal rejection, so I'm trying to take comfort in that. I know also that there are so many reasons for rejections, and it is rarely that your work is "bad" but just that it isn't a good fit for that pub at that time.

    You should be really proud of yourself for submitting and working. You only fail when you stop trying :)

  3. It's hard when those rejection bruises are fresh. Take some time, clean them up, nurture yourself a bit then get back out there. You can do it!

    Have you thought about subbing to markets that are open to more than just horror? Like Every Day Fiction - minimum pay rate but good exposure. They publish lots of genres.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  4. Don't you love how editors gang together so they can send those rejections in a bunch. It's horrible, but you're submitting and that's brilliant. The acceptance is just round the corner.

    I laughed at you running out of horror magazines, because those are all I can find when I'm searching!!! I guess the grass is always greener somewhere else!

    Keep going :-)

  5. Rejections are hard, but they are a sign you're moving towards your goal. Take heart, The Help got 60 rejections and them went on to be a best seller!

  6. I go through the same thing with my writers group. When I've had one (or ten) too many rejections, and then get raked at our bi-weekly get-together, I wonder if it's my self-esteem or my writing.

    Never do figure it out.

  7. You've got the right attitude about it; just keep trying, and you'll get there eventually. Everyone gets rejections, although it's hard to remember that when you actually get one. Good luck with your submissions!

  8. Rejections are better than no response!
    And check with Milo James Fowler. He writes some horror and he knows all the places to submit short stories.

  9. Never give up. Never give up. That has to be a writer's mantra.

    Thanks for posting the list of those accepting.

    Mary Montague Sikes

  10. Be proud. You're out there. You're in the game. One day your yes will come. It's much better than a prince. :D

  11. Love the attitude. Bangs and bruises for sure, but I'm sure you'll come out on top.

    Moody Writing

  12. When you run out of magazines, you write new stories and start submitting to them again. And again. And again. Because, if you want to do it traditionally, that's how you do it.

  13. No rejections (but I've received my share) recently but that's only because I haven't submitted. I'm about to start revising my current wip as soon as I finish the last chapter.

  14. Ouch on the rejections. I've received two rejections in one day by email. Nothing for it but to keep plugging away.

  15. Thanks for the publishing updates. I hope you find a good home for your story. I'll leave a link for an e-zine, even though it only pays a minimal royalty - which means you may not get paid even if published.

    Good luck.

  16. Rejections are good from the standpoint that at least you're submitting something. I haven't been getting any rejections or acceptances so you know what that means.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  17. I think the number one thing to remember is that a rejection doesn't necessarily mean it sucks. It could also mean that it's not a good fit for what they're doing or they don't feel they could properly sell it.

    Our biggest news is that a publisher contacted us because they want to turn our blog into a book. We sent them a proposal, and we'll see what they think. If they reject us, oh well. There are others. The main thing is we're putting ourselves out there.

  18. Rejections letters are always rough. I used to sulk for days on end when i got rejection letters. But you have a great attitude and outlook. You know it only takes 1 yes to change it all and that is what counts. You can do it! Don't give up.

    Thank you so much for your kind words of advice on my blog.

  19. Rejection is hard to cope with, even if you've been doing it forever. Three rejections in such a short time? Yeah, I'd be feeling pretty crappy too. But you are right, you are submitting and writing and eventually something is bound to hit the right market. Don't give up. And don't worry about getting out of markets, there are hundreds out there. Do you have facebook? If so OPEN CALL: HORROR MARKETS is a great group that lists all manner of markets. The lady who runs it, Caren Winder (CW LaSart) isvery diligent in checking out the post and keeping them updated. Te group is open, so no need for an invite. Here's the link

    Thanks on the links, I actually have a Victorian ghost story just ready to submit!

  20. What kind of rejections are they? Have you gone from form letter to personal response yet? Even rejections can tell you if you're improving.

    Keep plugging away. One day you'll make it. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  21. i quit looking a few years ago because I too didn't like feeling crappy. Now my publisher is treating me like a newbee. Go figure. Thank goodness for IWSG, eh! Have you thought of pulling all those stories together into an anthology? Then promoting them as a book? Keep in mind I write suspense, so what do I know. Tho I did an anthology with 6 others and it was published last week, so I'm still in shock over that.

    The other thing that used to work for me was to kick the dog. We actually didn't have a dog, and I tried kicking hubby, but he wasn't open to that. So I kicked the neighbours dog. Turned out that was a good thing because they were having trouble keeping her in the yard.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Shannon!

  22. You're in good company anyway with those rejections. We've all had a few (or many) in our time! Was there any extra advice offered? You never know if they might have been really close to saying yes. Either way, you're doing what you should be doing, so keep at it!

  23. I'm sorry that you've received rejections, and also admire you for getting your stories out there. Another possibility is to talk to other horror writers, and start your own anthology. You've done so much for other writers by posting these terrific links, that it would be great to get your stories published on your terms, Shannon.


  24. I didn't get any rejections this week, but I have a good reason. I didn't sub anything! That's the only way you can guarantee not to get those things. However, that's the only way you can guarantee not to publish anything either.

    Keep up the good work. I'll dive back in soon and swim with you in the rejection pond.

  25. I'm scared to pieces of a rejection. Maybe that's why I'm dragging my feet on finishing up my edits. No worries - you're turn is coming!


  26. Rejection is hard no matter how thick your skin is (or thick you hard candy shell), BUT you've got to stick with it and keep trying. Believe in yourself and soon someone else will too. OK, that's a little Pollyanna, but I do believe it's true.

  27. Every time I receive a rejection, I send out 2 more pieces.

    After I stopped being sad about being rejected, detached emotion from the process and started submitting-- the best places first, second best next and so on-- the number of my pieces pubbed has improved.

    13 of my pieces have found their homes so far.

    Don't feel sad. Submit to another place. Again, and then again.

  28. Way cool of you to post ops for brother and sister writers, Shannon.

    When the story needs to be written, it will come out. When it needs to be read / heard / seen, it will happen. When it does not work one day, it simply isn't time yet. You GO, girl!

  29. Keep sending in those submissions, Shannon, and thanks for the list, always useful.