As an aspiring writer, I have collected what I feel is more than my fair share of rejections (count is now up to 48 on 8 short stories…ouch!). The rejections used to be canned, with ZERO personalization or any acknowledgement the story was even read. But as time progressed, I started to receive a hand full of rejections with a few kind words, and even some pointers on what did and didn’t work for the publisher.
While it sucks getting rejections, especially so many, I knew from my research that this is pretty typical for new writers exploring the traditional world of fiction publishing, that it’s going to take a number of rejections (which sadly, is looking like far more than 48 for me) and the value of those rejections improve before the first publishing credit is finally earned.
But things sure got interesting when one of my stories finally got noticed!
Back in April, I was ecstatic to learn that one of my stories had pierced the front lines of a publisher’s defensive front (ie Slush pile readers), then waited with bated breath as it inched its way up the beachfront, dodging what felt like an endless barrage of heavy fire (ie Suggested edits by a line editor, then managing editors, then a senior managing editor), before coming face-to-face with final, and most heavily armored fortification… the Editor-In-Chief.
(cue overly dramatic and menacing music montage)
Sadly, after several months of waging war, my story was forced to retreat before reaching its objective . (ie It was rejected by the Editor-In-Chief)
(cue a sad trombone playing the “Wah Wah Wahhh” sound effect)
Now, I could use this late process rejection to fuel my deeply rooted insecurities about myself or my writing, or try to write off the publication as not knowing their heads from their rear ends, or find some way to deflect blame, accountability, etc.
But I am happy to say that my focus has only been on the continued progress in my career. While it’s disappointing the story didn’t find its forever home, I was finally able to go through the process of working with a publishing house and its editors (free of charge), and it was thrilling!
Yes, it’s back to the drawing board (ie Sending the story out to others), I take heart that my career is progressing and that elusive publishing credit will hopefully be right around the corner!
So while you should never “count your chickens until they hatch,” I also think the moral of this story is to avoid seeing this kind of situation as a failure, but instead, see it for what it truly is… PROGRESS!
There you have it, a look into the pain and ultimate understanding of a late hour rejection. I hope this information helps you in some way. If you have any thoughts or ideas to share, please leave a comment or like this post.