Friday, January 24, 2014

Rejection Consideration

As it comes in hand with getting into that submission process, rejection is an important topic to consider. Rejection is part of life, but in particular it's a big part of the writer's life. Any time you put something out there, chance exists someone will reject it; but that's okay.

I have been on both sides. Having worked as an intern with a small publisher, I had to do the slush pile reading and thus decided which stories we took for consideration and which ones received rejection. It was a strange situation to be in at the time because I'd not sent much out over the years leading up to taking on this role.  There isn't joy for many of us in sending a "this isn't for us" response but not everything can be accepted. Now I'm back on the other side and awaiting for the email rejections from items I have submitted.

Until this year, the only time I had submitted fiction wise was back in 2009, which was a 500 word alien thing that isn't quite a finished story... Yeah, reading it now I wonder why I sent it but that's okay, I thank the kind slush readers that skimmed the short short item. I sent it to 4 places and got 4 rejections before getting distracted by other things. (Yes, I'm an "oh shiny" type, so no adding glitter to comments please as they distract me.) Now that I'm submitting again, 4 submissions so far this year on 2 stories, it's time to look at rejections.

Note: I have a poll on the side over by the about me section that is going until the end of January, 2014. I am curious if keeping a tally of my rejections, submitting and acceptances would be helpful. I'm not going to post much about them at all and never going to list where I have sent. But I want to know if maybe having a counter type spot that shows how many times I've submitted fiction and queries would be interesting for a reader. Any votes are appreciated.

Types of Rejections (in my mind)

Form - This is standard. It's the often short, this is not for us, that is usually premade and just gets the story added in so that the author knows which is getting the rejection. Due to the nature of the business and the number of entries magazines, agents, publishers get, while this isn't the most helpful of rejections, it is common and necessary. The form isn't meant to say the writing is horrible or anything, but a quick way to get the message back to you that they aren't going to publish the item submitted. Simple as that. I've received a few of these, back in 2009 and so far this year too.

Nice Form - This might be a half made up by me thing because it's basically a form rejection though some might start getting into the short but personal realm. In essence, this has a little more than the "we have read (insert story here) but it doesn't meet our needs at this time, the end" type but not a lot added beyond it. To me, the nice form is the one who has the part with the insert story here but also wishes good luck in placing it elsewhere and/or asks you submit other work to them in the future. It's nice because it has that tone, that hey keep going type which sounds more than just "hey, read it but no". I did receive one of these nice ones in 2009 that looked quite formulaic but had send other sci-fi in the future (despite my not having any other sci-fi.... yeah, umm it was nice though).

Personal - This varies a bit but the general standard a friend recommended is if they mention anything about the story beyond the title, it counts as personal. Which means it can be very short, much like a form letter or it can be a full, no but there is why. A few places try to give a comment or two to every submission but those are rare because it takes so much time and effort pending the amount entries sent. One I sent to in 2009 gave feedback to every submission (they are no longer open) and the one I got basically said "make it longer". They recommended novelette length, which is a bit of a jump from 500 words but I totally see why it was suggested and appreciated the comments given. Don't let any reason pull you down if there is much to work on or a hard negative formatting. Like any, take time away and don't backlash but also consider it a success. A personal rejection is something to note, give yourself a tiny candy (or a non-food treat) or something to celebrate cause that marks reaching a point, especially for those that don't give personal to everyone. Then keep submitting (or take break and work on something else).

I could talk more on rejections but that's territory for my other blog (adds note to do a blog post on rejection there next month). Since this blog is focused on my path, let's just leave this here. I am submitting more. I have 2 stories sent out so  far, one that I will be sending I hope next week and 4 more that I would like sent by February 14th due to a challenge I'm in. I'm taking the steps and that's what is great and why I like the rejections. They show me I'm on this part of the journey and not just stuck in the cycle of first drafting. Yay!

What are your thoughts on rejection?
Did you vote on the poll? 

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