Friday, January 16, 2009

Rejection Blues

Pockets is one tough magazine to crack. I've entered their annual contest three times and every time my story has placed within the top ten. They hold the manuscript for a year or more, and I always hope that my story will fit in one of the themes they choose, but in the end, they don't accept my stories. Their letters are encouraging, but it's still a disappointment. Does this stop me from submitting to them? Nope. Hope reigns eternal.

A few years back, Mel Boring (then web editor at ICL), asked for some numbers on a writing forum. How many submissions? How many acceptances? Rejections? All I can say is that from the folks who shared, it was clear that the person with the most rejections also got the most acceptances. So keep your work circulating. What isn't right for one publisher will be perfect for another. But if it sits in a pile at home, there is no chance of an acceptance.

Must take my own advice and send my stories out.

What do you do when you get a rejection?


Bish Denham said...

I haven't even tried Pockets, not when I'm still trying to get into Highlights!

As for what I do when I get a rejection...It depends on the piece. If a piece has been rejected many times, I set it aside (sometimes for several years) then come back to it to see what may be wrong and/or right with it, rework it as necessary, and send it out again. I've done this and gotten acceptances on the second go round.

Vijaya said...

Yes, if I get 3-5 rejections, I put it away for a while. Then I can look at it with fresh eyes. Though, responses take months, so usually there's always revising after each rejection. Heck, I want to revise my published pieces as well :)

Christina Farley said...

I'm so sorry about your rejection. Some rejections hurt while others don't.

I heard Linda Sue Park talk about the power of 12. Sending out 12 manuscripts (articles, stories, books) and you'll get a positive from it.

Works everytime for me. But then, it's hard to send out so much stuff. You really need to be pushing stuff out there with it.

Keep trying!

Vijaya said...

That's great advice from Linda Sue Park. Twelve doesn't seem so overwhelming -- that's just one a month. Something to aim for.
Thanks for visiting ... hey, I see you're in S. Korea. Very cool ...

Marcia said...

Sorry about the reject. They do hold "almost" stories from the contest for a pretty long time before deciding. Much might have to do with whether a theme that matches is coming up at all in the foreseeable future. Pockets bought a contest entry from me, and that may be because it happened to match a theme for the following year.

Interesting that the other mag mentioned here is Highlights. I know someone who moaned, "I've been in Highlights, but I can't crack Pockets." For me, it's the other way -- although I must say that I concentrate on books and haven't tried Highlights *that* often.

Vijaya said...

Marcia, you're right about the stories fitting the theme ... I have a feeling that someday I'll have enough stories that are just about 1500 words to make a little anthology :)

Actually my magazine submissions are dwindling as I focus on books, but stories pop up in my head all the time, and some of them are perfect for magazines, so I keep trying.

laurasalas said...

Wow, three times in the top 10. That's awesome, Vijaya!

I have also long heard of the power of 12--way back in my adult freelancing days. If you send a well-written piece to 12 markets that really fit it, it will likely sell. 12 is the average of course. Sometimes you get lucky and sell on the 1st or 3rd try. Other times, you push your average and need 20 markets before you sell it. It's a tough business.

And getting tougher, because the number of markets to submit to in the children's world seems to be shrinking.

I try to divorce my feelings from the marketing part. When I get a rejection, I just think, OK, who should it go to next. Every once in a while, one really hurts. One where the market and ms seemed like the perfect fit. But mostly, I'm too busy to dwell on it:>)

Vijaya said...

Thanks Laura. I try to be objective about the rejections.

Oh, goodness, 12 markets for the same piece. That's tough, without extensive revisions. I'm lucky if I can come up with three.

This is why I love queries best.

Vijaya said...
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