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Author Topic: We like your story but...ah...no...  (Read 7829 times)
Grillmeat
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« 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.
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Rook
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« Reply #1 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

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« Reply #2 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
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delph_ambi
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« Reply #3 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
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jsorensen
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« Reply #4 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."

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« Reply #5 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.
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Grillmeat
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« Reply #6 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
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jsorensen
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« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 09:01:33 PM by jsorensen » Logged

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Grillmeat
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« Reply #8 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
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jingold
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« Reply #9 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.
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Grillmeat
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« Reply #10 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
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jingold
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 12:39:26 AM »

Thanks Grill.  smiley

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....
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« Reply #12 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... Wink
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 06:50:38 AM »

I avoid rejection by never sending anything out(*)  huh

Derek

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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2010, 07:46:31 AM »

Hmm, your idea intrigues me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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