Cafe Doom

General Discussions => Life's a Bitch => Topic started by: Grillmeat on December 12, 2010, 05:39:34 PM



Title: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Grillmeat on December 12, 2010, 05:39:34 PM
What's bugging me now?

Just got another rejection slip in the email today.

"We really enjoyed your story but have decided to pass at this time....."

My whole year this year has been about having stories short listed and then not accepted or having the the editor say in the comments: "It isn't that there was anything wrong with the piece, per sae, we just decided not to accept it."- or something similar.

I knew it would be hard when I took up the challenge Ed and some others put out for me last year about only submitting to paying markets. I figured it would be tough to crack those markets consistantly if at all.
However, I think I have published four pieces so far and been rejeceted over 20 times....and the ones I was payed for would not have kept a roof over my head.
Oh well. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest. I'm sure a number of the better writers here have had similar trials and I should just put the big boy pants on and get back to the writing.
I wish I could get a handle on what's not getting me over the top though. Am I failing to pick the right markets? Is my writing just not as good as I hope it is? Gaaaaaaaaaaaah!   :bangh:
OK, rant off.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rook on December 12, 2010, 05:46:44 PM
Keep in mind, Grill, Stephen King had a HUGE pile of rejection slips.

Keep pounding away!  :bangh:

 :smiley:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 12, 2010, 05:47:16 PM
Form rejections I can live with, but vague rejections...they really crumple my newspaper.  In editing anthologies I've sent a fair few "I liked your story but simply preferred others" rejections out, but I always try and make more comments on the story than just that.  I know plenty of editors out there don't have the time to do that, but if they're going to say "It's good but not good enough" I think it would nice if they said why, otherwise just issue a form rejection and no one will begrudge them that.  

What level of market are you aiming at, Grill, if you don't mind my asking?  I've been playing it safe and targeting token to semi-pro myself, only recently deciding to go for broke and send stuff to the big boys.  Maybe it's just bad luck?  I think it's Robert (Essig) who recently had a piece accepted for somewhere after being consistently shortlisted, so it can happen, just might take a while  :smiley:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: delph_ambi on December 12, 2010, 06:14:21 PM
Rev, you are so right. Form rejections are fine. They're mildly annoying, but no more. Vague rejections are the pits. Rejections that show the person read it properly are the best. I had one recently that liked everything except for the ending which it found weak, and yes, the ending was crap. Quite right. But sometimes you need someone to reject a story for a specific reason before you see what is specifically wrong.

I've had 730 pieces rejected in the last five years. I bet that's more than Stephen King, thus proving that I must be the better writer.  :dance:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jsorensen on December 12, 2010, 06:32:08 PM
Just to add to the feeling of frustration--I recently had a piece out at a particular market (a paying one).  One of the editors held it for three or four months and then sent an Email to me that he liked it and it was short-listed and probably going to go through once the final editor got a chance to review it.  A month and half later I got another Email saying---"Decided not to purchase.  Please continue to submit."

Nice....I was excited that it would get published or at the very least have something mentioned as to why it was good enough to hold but quite not right for publishing...

Oh, well---sometimes a quick form rejection is easier to stomach than nearly half a year on one piece just to be told, "Aw..., nope."



Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Ed on December 12, 2010, 06:32:35 PM
It's par for the course, Grill. Four acceptances to twenty rejections is actually a very good ratio. You've got to remember that hundreds of stories are chasing every five or ten slots, so just making the short list is an achievement in itself. Editors might reject the short-listed stories for a variety of reasons:

There was a story similar in theme/storyline in the last issue, or two before.

They already have a first/third person, past/present tense in the issue and don't want another in the same issue.

Recent news event makes your story content sensitive.

Recent film release/tv programme just used your idea or something very similar.

They liked another story out of their short list better than yours.

Keep plugging away at in, Grill. You're doing very well -- better than me and many others. I haven't sent anything out in months.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Grillmeat on December 12, 2010, 06:56:10 PM
Quote
Rev, you are so right. Form rejections are fine
.

I agree. I always say in my cover letter that I welcome any comments editors have time to make-and I know they don't have much time for that sort of thing. I just hate to think I might actually be "there" but unable to pin down what it is that is keeping me from getting over the top.
But you are all right. There are a number of reasons why a story might not make it and the only thing I can do is keep writing.
It's just been a long year and I had to whine for a moment.....
Rev.: Mostly my work is going to pro and semi-pro markets this year. I've subbed a couple to Library of the Living Dead press but otherwise I've been taking the beating from the big boys.  :cheesy:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jsorensen on December 12, 2010, 09:00:55 PM
Hey Grill--I completely understand the need to "whine" as you put it.  I 've had eight rejections this year and three acceptances and as such I would say that I feel pretty good about that record (I've only been doing this for a year).  But I agree with you that, yes there are lots of possible reasons why a particular story doesn't get in, but we would all like to know that one little thing that decided the fate of our struggles--so I vent some  and then I feel better :smiley: and get back to work-- :bangh:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Grillmeat on December 12, 2010, 10:23:36 PM
Quote
I 've had eight rejections this year and three acceptances and as such I would say that I feel pretty good about that record (I've only been doing this for a year

I'd say that is pretty darn respectable too! :cheers:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jingold on December 12, 2010, 10:37:00 PM
52 rejections.  Two sales.   :bangh: :bangh: :bangh:

Half of those rejections were shortlisted (one was even a near miss at Clarkesworld!).  Two of them were held for a year (a flipping year!) before being told they liked it, but haven't found a spot for it, ergo pass.

I target pros and semi-pros and occasional tokens (if I like them and their duotrope acceptance rate is less than 5%).

I'm crossing my fingers on the stories currently on hold at Abyss & Apex and Andromeda Spaceways... but I'm not holding my breath.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Grillmeat on December 12, 2010, 10:56:26 PM
Yeah, I have Clarkesworld, Apex and Abyss on my list too. I had a couple at Untied Shoelaces of the Mind as well-odd title but 3 cents a word if you make it in-On Spec Magazine was the one that caused this little thread and I also had one get a nice look but no payday for the Apalachia Anthology that was listed here at the Cafe....
The guy I have been working with at HWA suggested I send a piece to Cemetery Dance but I think I'm going to have work up to that.....
BTW Jingold-nice job on so many subs this year! Last year I sent out 35-40 I think and thought that was pretty good. You've done well to write, edit and send so many pieces. :afro:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jingold on December 13, 2010, 12:39:26 AM
Thanks Grill.  :)

I'm a little demented, because rejections fire me up.  It goes back to when I was querying agents for my novel.  For every rejection, send five revenge queries.  Same thing with short stories.  Send it right back out. 

Unfortunately, I only have eight stories out right now, which makes the rejections and submissions not quite as frequent. Really wish I wasn't such a slow writer....


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 13, 2010, 04:50:58 AM
I have a habit of getting something rejected then, 80% of the time, abandoning it and spending time writing something brand new.  Occasionally I see a sub call for something it might fit so I'll tidy it up and resubmit, but otherwise I concentrate on something tasty and fresh.  I don't know why I'd rather face rejection for something new, rather than the same story over and over again... ;)


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: delboy on December 13, 2010, 06:50:38 AM
I avoid rejection by never sending anything out(*)  :huh:

Derek

(*) seriously


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 13, 2010, 07:46:31 AM
Hmm, your idea intrigues me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Pharosian on December 13, 2010, 08:31:47 AM
I avoid rejection by never sending anything out(*)  :huh:

Derek

(*) seriously

So how did you get your novels (plural) published? Tsk!


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: delboy on December 13, 2010, 09:02:08 AM
Quote
So how did you get your novels (plural) published? Tsk!

It's a good point, well made.  ;) I clearly have submitted work in the past but not at the moment. I have nothing out there. I hate myself (just a little bit) for not submitting more - and I'm taking heed of Womble article in Writer's Forum (and Delph's submission rate earlier in this thread). But the reality is that I really do submit hardly anything. I have three completed novel manuscripts that really ought to be out there, but a bit like Rev' was alluding to, I generally think "I can do far better than that now" so I'd rather write something new...

I can feel a proper new year's resolution coming on.

Derek


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: QBall on December 13, 2010, 01:58:59 PM
0 rejections
0 acceptances.
I didn't bother to submit anything this year.
So, I am even. Does that make me a successful writer or just a lazy old sod?
 :cheesy:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Ed on December 13, 2010, 02:31:25 PM
I think I'm 1 for 1 this year. 100% acceptance rate :grin:

Not putting anything else out there until next year, for fear of ruining my average :afro:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: desertwomble on December 13, 2010, 02:37:50 PM
I think I'm 1 for 1 this year. 100% acceptance rate :grin:

Not putting anything else out there until next year, for fear of ruining my average :afro:

As I recall, you probed Uranus!

DW :cheesy:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Ed on December 13, 2010, 03:39:32 PM
I certainly did :afro:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: fnord33 on December 18, 2010, 06:21:37 AM
Most of you guys are doing better than me. The only piece I've had accepted lately was Killpoet and they didn't give me anything for my piece. I should probably have found that out before submitting, but I don't care too much. At least they liked it. 


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: delph_ambi on December 18, 2010, 06:30:36 AM
You know how all the advice about writing to agents stresses again and again that you must address them by their name, rather than 'Dear Agent' or anything else? I always do. I'm SO careful about that.

One just replied (negatively) to me, and addressed me by a completely wrong name, which they'd picked off my email address. My correct name was several times on the query letter, on the synopsis, and on every page of the manuscript. :pissed:

Maybe I should change my email address to 'notmyname@gmail[dot]com' or something.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: LashSlash on December 18, 2010, 12:38:07 PM
return to sender:-  forward the letter to the agent with a note saying you dont know anyone of that name [the name thay used]  .... that may get his\her attention
.... dont think delf -- do it!
d


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: LashSlash on December 18, 2010, 01:16:22 PM
agents and publishers are deluged with requests. -- a'wish a'wash in slushpiles....poor buggers.

if you dont know somebody that knows somebody who can put in a word for you, you gonna need a 'spark' of sorts to get their attention.

if you are prepared to take the risk of the 'spark' back-firing .... and things can always backfire ... what odds do you give me that i can get an agent of your choice to ask you to send in your manuscript -----

.....



Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 18, 2010, 01:22:19 PM
I've started lacing my query letters with a touch-activated poison, and the only cure is impregnated in my manuscript paper  :grin:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: LashSlash on December 18, 2010, 01:51:48 PM
I've started lacing my query letters with a touch-activated poison, and the only cure is impregnated in my manuscript paper  :grin:
-- this sounds to easy... but it could work


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Geoff_N on December 19, 2010, 07:12:23 AM
I always have at least 4 stories in the queues out there. I suppose I get one acceptance for every 5 rejects but then I'm only aiming for paid mags though I've had 5 antho acceptances for which I'll only get copies. A rejection yesterday from Lahir did have my name right but it was a form reject. That's just laziness IMO. Most mags have submission windows to make reading and responding manageable. As the sub editor for Escape Velocity I'd respond with at least half a page of crit to all the submitters. I think the problem is with writers who can't take a rejection no matter how helpful the submission ed is trying to be. You'd be surprised at the hate mail, let alone the persistent 'but but but' replies. Manners go both ways.

Geoff


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jsorensen on December 19, 2010, 10:25:24 AM
Hey Geoff--I agree some people will always "defend" their work (suppose it shows their attachment to their efforts).  On a different level, when I grade student papers and write in comments on improving some aspect, I usually get the "but...".  I guess some view suggestions as not critism but an attack.  I actually found one of my favorite responses to one of my submissions to be a rejection.  Came from Midnight Echo--story didn't quite fit what they needed at the time (or maybe never and they were just being polite?).  The editor gave a full crit on the piece with explanation why he would turn a particular sentence around, so on and so forth.

So, some may grumble--and lord knows I will at times, but editors that give reasons (such as you) are greatly appreciated by some (however, I'm sure we will sing your praises from the highest mountain top the more if we were told the story got accepted).


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Geoff_N on December 19, 2010, 12:02:13 PM
I'll keep my ears open - and as Rev A likes to say, eyes crossed  ;)


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Robert Essig on December 19, 2010, 12:43:11 PM
I have anywhere from 15 to 20 stories out at any given time.  I write a lot.  In 2011 I'm going to reduce my token market submissions.  This year I've had around 18 acceptances and 75 rejections, two re-write requests and a plethora of shortlistings of which very few made the cut (Necrotic Tissue finally bought one of my stories after I made their short list four submission periods in a row).

Rejection letters never stop stinging.  I have been getting a lot of the "we like your story, but..." rejections.  They used to bother me, and perhaps they could be just a tad more specific, but it's better than a form rejection (and maybe some of those are sneaky form rejections  :scratch:).  I hate form rejections that put the name of the story in to make it appear personal.  That's irritating.  :bangh:


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 19, 2010, 01:04:59 PM
Crumbs, Robert!  15-20 stories at a time!  You're INHUMAN hahaha


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Grillmeat on December 19, 2010, 02:22:33 PM
Wow! 15-20 at at time. That is awesome. I am officially not complaining anymore......


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Kerr on December 19, 2010, 02:47:16 PM
Robert  :hidin: that's scary. But I'm imagining some are those returned and sent right back out. Even so, I'm totally impressed.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Robert Essig on December 19, 2010, 03:46:53 PM
I'm imagining some are those returned and sent right back out.

Yep.  I've written over 100 short stories, though many of them are awful or just don't seem to fit anywhere.  When I have writer's block I completely rewrite the terrible ones.  Over 30 have been published with another dozen or so scheduled for 2011.  I don't give up on a story even after a few rejections unless I run out of suitable markets.

I've considered joining the crit group here to get some input on a few stories I adore but can't seem to place anywhere.  Too much on my plate now, but maybe in a few months I'll give it a shot.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: jsorensen on December 19, 2010, 04:20:00 PM
Robert,  First of all, impressive with the amount of stories--I'm a bit jealous with that--Second, I myself feel it difficult to abandon a story even after its been rejected. (although, I have no where near the amount of story or effort put out there as you).  Once rejected, I can't find it in my heart to let them die quietly.  When I get time I do some re-work on them (all four of them at the moment) and hope some new life can be breathed into them.  I actually plan to put one of them up on the Crit board in January (a story that I like but can't seem to get it placed).  The down side is that it is taking some time away from a story I'm planning out--oddly enough, one I had hoped to send to Through the Eyes of the Undead...go figure.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: Ed on December 19, 2010, 05:33:04 PM
Be aware not everybody who calls themself an editor gives good advice -- we had a few small press editors at Borderlands who had been giving out terrible advice to writers whose work they had rejected.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: darkfiction74 on June 23, 2012, 01:18:05 AM
I get this all the time.

Like others in this thread, all I can say is keep plugging 'er, and don't give up. One of them is bound to make it through. I've also heard from some of the editors I know, along with some articles I've read, that it's a good sign when editors say things like this. It means that your work is good enough, they just had to pass it up for one reason or another.


Title: Re: We like your story but...ah...no...
Post by: nevermore on August 01, 2012, 09:57:48 PM
It's been slow going on my end as well. When I did finally sell another story... I find out the publication (nevermetpress.com) went bust. I got a "wish you the best of luck" for my work and not 1 penny. All I can say is... don't give up!  :bangh:


TinyPortal 1.0 RC1 | © 2005-2010 BlocWeb