Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I just got a rejection, the first in ages.  That sounds a bit full of itself, but mostly it's because my submission rate has fallen to practically zero in the past year, and I've often been subbing in response to a direct request, so I've been more likely to score an acceptance.

Anyway, rejection. Funnily enough, it no longer raises even the littlest nosedive of disappointment in me. Why? First of all, Kristina Wright's excellent blog post on an editor's job and how stories are chosen. Read it here. This wonderful article really helped me to dispel that lingering sense of persecution over rejections. I read it and finally really got that it's not personal.

Secondly, and this will sound maybe a bit odd: I subbed a story that I was unsure of. That I was experimenting with, taking a chance on. I'm happy that I took the risk, tried something new, happy that I failed, in essence, because it means I challenged myself. These days I have so little writing time, I only want to work on things that push me. That matter. That may fail. I'm not interested in publishing for the sake of it anymore.

Lastly, it helps when a rejection is nicely phrased. Yes, even a form rejection can be done with grace. I do wish all editors would be so thoughtful.


Jo said...

Um, er, good?

I hope it gets on better in its next place though.

Will run off and read K's article now.


Nikki Magennis said...

Yes, Jo, good! : )

Jo said...

Oh! I read it already! Hahaha. State of me.

wvv: subsupa. Yup.

Craig Sorensen said...

Cool. I think that's the only way to go. Stretch it, write a story that challenges you, and maybe the editor too.

When a story like that gets accepted, it is a doubly sweet feeling.


Fulani said...

I don't get that many rejections these days and they're mainly because what I've submitted wasn't what the publisher was looking for at the time. Mostly, I keep the stuff on file, tinker with it, and eventually - maybe 18 months later - find somewhere else to send it. Or else use it as a blog post. Weirdly when I've done that other people have picked it up and reposted it.

Also, one rejected short story that I liked grew in my mind and I rewrote, then started adding additional episodes using the same characters - it eventually became the collection of stories that I have forthcoming with Renaissance.

Kristina Wright said...

I'm glad my words helped. :) To be honest, I wrote it as much for myself as anyone who I might have to reject. Like you, my writing time is rare and I'd like to think that every minute counts toward a sale. But you're so right-- challenging ourselves, pushing ourselves to take risks, is just as important (maybe more so?) than an acceptance. We're still learning and growing as writers! And that is a wonderful wonderful thing.

Alana Noel Voth said...

Pushing yourself, rising to the challenge, writing because it means something, writing from desire or any high emotion, that's what matters. Selling a story doesn't matter so much. Publishing is cool; reaching an audience is divine, and I'm hungry for it, but I'm giving away a lot these days.

That's okay.

You're a gracious and gifted human being. Thank you.


Nikki Magennis said...

Hey, Fulani, congrats on your forthcoming collection, that's great news!

Kris - thanks so much for writing that post! I've meant to say thanks for ages. It really did change my perspective. I'd never considered editing from the other side of the desk before.

Alana, I really appreciate your compliments, thank you. And yes, I think every time I've written for any reason other than because I really wanted to write the story, a little bit of me crawled off and wilted.

I still wish I could make pots of money, though.
: )