October 19, 2011

100 Rejections and Counting

Back in March I blogged about hitting 50 rejections for short fictions after close to two years of submitting.

Well, now, about seven months later I have hit the big 100. The first 50 rejections took 2 years, the second took 7 months.

What’s changed? Well I have a full enough pipeline to have 8 to 10 stories out to market at once. This has done a lot to speed up those rejections. This is the result of writing more words, writing more consistently, and getting stories back out quicker.

Has anything thing changed psychologically? A little yes. As the number goes up it does get a bit easier, but not as quickly as it did in the beginning. I still find myself hoping with certain stories and certain markets. Hoping that this will be the one–and then it isn’t. That is still tough.  One of the recent rejections was one of those, but even then the sting doesn’t last as long as it used to.

It’s all still form rejections from the bigger markets, although I do get nice notes pretty regularly from the smaller markets. This has had a bit of a side-effect. I find myself wanting to submit to them more. They take the time to communicate, and that is valuable and appreciated.

I have three stories in print in various charity anthologies, and a forth one accepted. And that is wonderful. But I am still wanting that first sale. To have someone like a story enough they will pay me to publish it is a significant milestone.

Something else has changed. I am moving into publishing my own works. I released my first novel, Shuffled Off: A Ghost’s Memoir this month. I had enough feedback from my beta readers to know I had something good. I am also getting ready to release some of my novelettes. These are too long for all but a few professional markets, and I have gotten good feedback (like two honorable mentions from the Writers of the Future Contest).

So yeah, 100 rejections and counting. Keep them coming. I love writing. I love the experience of reading something after I have some distance from it, or hearing a reader’s reaction. I love the process so I am sticking with it. 100 rejections, 1000 rejections. It’s all good. I’ll be here writing. Because you know, I’m a writer, and that’s what writers do.

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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  1. When you start submitting a story, do you start with the market you’d most like to see it in then work your way down a list? The 100 rejections are counting all the rejections from all your submitting of all your stories over the past two years? I wish I could get to a point where I have more than one or two out. Right now I’ve only got one out and one in the works, and I can’t seem to get ahead of that ratio. But I did get one accepted, finally, at a paying market, so I’m not going to complain that it’s out of the count.

    1. Madison,

      I submit to about a dozen different paying markets. I generally send to the one I like most of those that are availible (i.e. my priority is to get and keep stories out).

      The 100 rejections (110 now) are from 24 different stories I have written over the last few years. These days I tend to have 6 to 10 out at a time.

      Congratulations on the acceptance! That is amazing!

      Just keep writing and submitting. As far as I can tell, that is the key to all of this.

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