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Author Topic: Yet another one
rcmann
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Nice symmetry at least. So far I have submitted 7 shorts to various places, and I just got my 14th rejection.

*sigh*

How do you all keep your spirits up while preparing to send one out yet again?

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Meredith
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I just keep writing. The next one will be the one. Always.
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Merlion-Emrys
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By writing another one.

By thinking about how nice the story will look in this publication (the one you just sent it to after it was rejected somewhere else.)

By remembering that we all go or have gone through it, up to and including all the greats (indeed, not only have even the most famous authors received many a rejection, many of the most famous novels and stories were specifically, repeatedly rejected before finding their homes.)

For myself, by thinking about how much I love my stories, regardless of all other things.


Here's a bit about my history to maybe make you feel better. I've had 7 stories accepted in the course of nearly 4 years of submitting. No pro sales as yet, 2 semi-pro. I haven't counted for some time, but I know I must be up over 500 rejections by now. My first sale took about a year and some hundred or so rejections after I first started submitting.

For me it's very simple. I know that getting rejections...lots and lots and lots and lots of rejections, is simply part of the business and means, truthfully, absolutely nothing. Also, I LOVE stories. I love creating them, reading them, hearing them, watching them I love everything about stories and storytelling to a degree and in ways which I could go on about for quite some time. Submitting is easy, now a days with e-subs. Writing is something I will do, no matter what. Sure I get discouraged...for example, I was really hoping that one of the crop of new stories I've written over the past 6-8 months would find their way into a pro magazine. It hasn't happened yet, and that does make me a little sad...but I know their will always be more.

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extrinsic
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By asking and answering to my satisfaction what's not working. The usual answer is I missed something readers want. Writing to an audience while maintaining artistic integrity is what I'm working most meticulously on now. A promising solution: invoking high-concept premises so they enhance low-concept premises is a large target.
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rcmann
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Thanks.

*squares shoulders and looks up submission guidelines for the next one*

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JenniferHicks
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Rejections get easier to take the more of them you collect. That sounds horribly depressing, but it's true.

It helps to keep looking forward. When you get a rejection, allow yourself about five minutes to wallow and then send the story to the next market. And always, always keep writing new material.

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rcmann
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Back out the door. Next one almost done. I will never surrender! *waves one feeble fist from under the pile*
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LDWriter2
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I expected a few rejections so they didn't bother me. .. Later ones have but that's me.

Just keep learning and writing, you are bound to hit a market that likes a story sooner or later.

And remember the vast majority of the your fellow writers get the same. Some more than others but it happens to almost everyone.

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rcmann
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Every time somebody posts I feel better. It helps to know I'm not the only one. I knew it intellectually of course. But it helps to hear it.
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annepin
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I've been writing for close to a decade and only just started submitting. Yeah, the first rejection hurt. Because as humble as we are, I think we writers also believe that our stories must be the as-yet undiscovered work of genius.

Now when I get a rejection I give myself a couple minutes to stop my feet or cry into my tea. And then I think, so someone doesn't like my writing. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to stop writing?

Of course not.

So I write some more. And then once the next piece is written I think to myself, well, I might as well submit it, right? What do I have to lose? So I do that.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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mrmeadors
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I don't even allow myself the five minutes anymore. Rejection is just part of the process, part of being a writer. As soon as I get one back, I send it to the next place on the list. Then I get back to work on the next story. [Smile]

Melanie

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rcmann
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'We are not writers because we write. We write because we are writers.' Gonna carve it in cheese and set it on my sandwich plate.

(I think that's original. If someone else said it first let me know.)

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Robert Nowall
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I've come to think of it as an experiment in quantum physics. It's like Schrodinger's Cat (is that how it's spelled?) I send out a manuscript...and till that big yellow envelope back and I know for sure, my story is half-accepted, half-rejected...
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Merlion-Emrys
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I believe that is right, Robert. Though I personally prefer Warrant Officer Schrodinger (pronounced with a German accent).
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genevive42
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Rejections aren't personal so it's best if you don't take them that way. However, even after dozens and dozens of them, occasionally some will sting or be a bigger disappointment because I've gotten my hopes up in one way or another.

And when you get a personal rejection or a top tier from a tough publication at least it lets you know you're on the right track.

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History
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Not that I submit much or have much to submit as yet,

...and my two early sales made me puzzle over the slurry of later rejections...

...but I think of submitting stories and having them rejected as I do of growing older.

It sucks but beats the alternative.

If we don't submit, then there's little chance of gaining a wider readership.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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rcmann
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Got another one today. It's already back out. [Smile]

By the time I have enough written to keep every possible market on the SFWA list from getting any rest, I can dig into the semi-pro possibilities. Once I make it through both lists, even if nothing sells I will have enough to self-pub my own anthology:)

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by rcmann:
Got another one today. It's already back out. [Smile]

By the time I have enough written to keep every possible market on the SFWA list from getting any rest, I can dig into the semi-pro possibilities. Once I make it through both lists, even if nothing sells I will have enough to self-pub my own anthology:)

There you go. Positive attitude is everything.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I think it's Schroedinger, if you don't have an umlaut o on your keyboard (or if you don't want to insert the correct ASCII code).
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rcmann
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Rejection number seventeen. But it's already in the envelope and ready to go out again tomorrow.

Sometimes the process feels like I'm grabbing up a fistful of darts at random and pitching them underhanded at the target, just to see if anything sticks.

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LDWriter2
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I've heard of two different writers who said they would wallpaper their writing rooms with rejections. Of course these days a lot of them are electronic rejections.


But I need to send out some stories... keeping saying that but as each new rejection comes in I need to do it even more. I say that because I just got my latest rejection last night and others saying here they are sending theirs right back out reminds me I need to.

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rcmann
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S'truth, if I didn't force myself to get it ready to send right out again I would lose my nerve.

I was planning to tweak this one, because I am twitchy that way. My wife put her foot down and forbade me to touch it. She meant it too. Made me feel better.

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axeminister
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Rejections are tough for me because I submit so little. I figure each story is great - insofar as I've already retired the one I wrote before, and the one after, so this is "the one". The Goldilocks story.

Then I hear back, "thanks for playing."

Some would argue to send them all, but I'm more interested in getting better than getting published. (At least for now.)

Axe

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Merlion-Emrys
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You do need to send them all. I see little or no reason to ever "retire" anything. At any given time I have a few pieces that I'm not actively circulating, but that's usually because they've ceased to fit my current mindset, or because they have, from my personal perspective, some major flaw I want to eventually alter or similar but almost everything I have is in circulation virtually all the time.

I just can't fathom any reason to do otherwise.

"Getting better" is a frustrating goal because everyone's idea of better is vastly different. I guess that's part of why I operate on a story-by-story basis instead of the general way a lot of folks seem fixed on...

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genevive42
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I have retired stories when I realized they're just not up to my current quality standards. I will also only go so far down in markets. My goal is pro pub with a handful of semi-pro that I would consider acceptable. And I'll occasionally toss something at an anthology that looks like it will fit and has nowhere else to go. But there comes a point when I can run out of viable markets. So a story may become temporarily 'retired' until I find another suitable market.

Having said that, this year I will start e-pubbing my novelettes and probably posting the shorts for free on my website (Once I whip it into some real shape). So those stories that are good but haven't been published will hopefully start working for me. At some point, nothing may be retired.

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LDWriter2
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Managed to send out ten stories today, hopefully four more tomorrow. That includes my 100th story finally going back out and my hundredth and first. A rather small story that I hadn't thought of sending out yet. Took me all my computer time today to do the ten. No writing, revising or critting. Well, a couple of posts. [Smile]

I have retried some stories, usually because I think they just need too much work to be even half way good. But there are a couple of stories that I have run out of markets. But that is usually temporary. After a few months there can be two to ten new markets.

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Robert Nowall
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"Retried" or "retired"?

Of course I no longer circulate anything I wrote before, oh, the year 2000. Actually, I thought, in retrospect, their rejection of everything I wrote before 1991 or 1992 was more in the nature of "doing me a favor." They're that bad.

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rcmann
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You never know. Maybe you can take the original concept and rework it from scratch?

Although even now I look at my first submission and cringe a little.

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Robert Nowall
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quote:
Maybe you can take the original concept and rework it from scratch?
Done it, several times...also been pulling old unfinished ideas out of my subconscious and working on them. A sudden emotional maturity coupled with a corresponding confidence in my ability to handle the idea?

Damned if I know. I don't feel any different than when I was fourteen and started this thing...other than aches and pains, that is...

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LDWriter2
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Robert, Both [Smile]


But I managed to get 14 stories out. Which includes my 101st one. I didn't expect to do that one yet but needed one under 500 words. It's 496, I can add a few words to make it over 500 when I need to.

Would have been more but Strange Horizons are now on a restricted diet, only so many calories, hmm, that is stories per day. Saturday they reached their limit in one hour, today it was seven hours. I was going to try this morning but forgot. Hopefully tomorrow morning.

And Weird Tales is in a strange limbo.

And I found New Worlds once but couldn't find it again.

And four to six markets are closed to subs.


As to rewriting an old story. I've thought about doing that with a few stories but I just have to get to it. Most of my original stories I like and I think would be good reads if I can get the writing down.

It would be a whole lot easier to rewrite a story than trying to fix the writing from way back then even though I have been doing that with a couple of stories over the years including my very first one.

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Robert Nowall
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Ah...back in the olden days, I remember having maybe ten stories out and around at once...but I'm not that prolific these days. Right now I've got two out, which is kinda unusual, and comes from delaying one (semi-final) submission till post-Christmas...

By and large, though, I've found it more fun to write something brand new, and apply lessons theoretically learned, rather than try to tease something out of an older story by revising it after submission and / or comments---even the original revisions get to be like chewing used gum.

Also my stories are somewhat longer than five hundred words---on applied advice, I've been trying to get them and keep them under five thousand words, but they usually run longer. (I cut my last yet-to-be-revised story from twenty-five thousand words down to five thousand, mainly by changing several incidents around, but I'm not sure the second version is an improvement.)

I can tell a joke in under five hundred words...but not a story...

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RoxanneCrouse
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Just remember, just because your story was rejected, doesn't mean it was bad. It means out of thousands that were submitted for one position, someones story was slightly better. One of these times, your story will be the one on top of thousands.
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genevive42
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quote:
Just remember, just because your story was rejected, doesn't mean it was bad. It means out of thousands that were submitted for one position, someones story was slightly better.
I can't quite agree with this. I do agree that a rejection doesn't mean the story is bad. But the reasons an editor may not take it vary immensely. It could be a wrong fit for the publication, too long, too short, too profane, or that editor just may not like drunken dragon stories or they ran a drunken dragon story just last month. It doesn't mean that the stories in that slush pile that were chosen are any 'better' in a qualitative sense, they just suited the needs and tastes of that editor better that day.
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Merlion-Emrys
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I agree with genevive's disagreement.
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Robert Nowall
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I've thought that my stories were better than some of the ones they did publish---in fact, I think some of the markets have published out-and-out crap---but what do I know?
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rcmann
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Ah well. At least I can say that I have been rejected by the best. Repeatedly. I start with the big three and work my way along the list, either alphabetically or according to which one doesn't happen to have a story of mine in their pile at that moment.
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LDWriter2
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In my old days I've out 22 at one time, usually around ten to fifteen out continually. But the past two to three years I keep forgetting to send them out so it can be months between sessions like this one I just had. But I have known people that had over 25 out at once, they were continually juggling stories.

If I would remember I would probably wait until I had two to four and send them out at once. Not counting those for Lightspeed and F&SF since they are so quick with rejections.


As to if our stories are better than what is being published. The vast majority of writers think more highly of their own stories than others do. I do and I know there are others... no one specific here... who have felt the same.

As to if rejections mean crap Yes and No. Every writer gets a lot more rejections than sells. Name of the Game. As I said before I expected quite a few at first. But on the other hand I still feel that hundreds of rejections without even one sell, with no personal notes means something also.

But going along with that no writer knows everything so we all have to keep learning the craft and practicing.

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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
The vast majority of writers think more highly of their own stories than others do.
That hasn't been my experience. Here on Hatrack, especially, many many folks I meet have minimal confidence in their own work. And its common wisdom with any art that the artist is usually their own worst critic.

Certainly, artists who consider themselves the bees knees do exist, but in my experience they are a tiny minority, not the vast majority.


And even most pro editors will say, a huge amount of what they reject is just as "good" as what they buy, but they can't buy everything.

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rcmann
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One more! I got number 19 today. Just one more and I will be up to the big Two Oh. Hot dang, I am cooking with gas now! Analog didn't want it, F&SF said it couldn't hold their attention, so now Asimov is getting blessed with it. As soon as they reject it, I will have my 20th. Yes!
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