May, June, July 2012 – Rejections

In February this year I shared a round of rejections with you, and as per many of subsequent blog posts, my submissions have slowed since May so not surprisingly my rejections are more spaced out as a result.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my May, June, and July 2012 rejections so you can see how it’s been going. The list is newest rejection to oldest, but I don’t think it matters.

  • Coriumpersonal rejection

My note on Corium: Prior to this rejection, I had 3 pieces I had to withdraw (Jan, April,  July) because stories were picked up by other journals. This time, even though I didn’t mention it, I subbed the piece exclusively, no sim-subs elsewhere. It wasn’t quite a fit, but I admire Lauren Becker, the editor, so I need to find a piece she likes. My quest continues.

  • The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts
  • – personal rejection
  • Juked
  • Matchbook
  • Gargoyle – personal rejection

My note on Gargoyle: This was my first experience submitting to Gargoyle. Mad, mad props to Richard Peabody, the editor, who has been doing his thing on Gargoyle for decades. How he has time to send personal rejection notes is a mystery to me given that he’s getting hundreds of submissions in the brief window he opens once a year in preparation for the following year’s edition of the magazine.

  • Sycamore Review
  • Right Hand Pointing – personal rejection
  • Flywheel Magazine – personal rejection
  • Quarterly West
  • A Public Space

My note on A Public Space: Sent inquiry after 6 months on status. No reply. Re-sent inquiry one month later (at 7 month wait period.) Personal reply received that they were backlogged on reading and my piece was still under consideration. Standard rejection form sent two months later. Total wait time: 9 months.

  • Booth: A Journal
  • Camroc Press – personal rejection
  • AGNI
  • Fringe
  • The Collagist
  • Hobart (print)
  • Diagram – personal rejection
  • The Prose Poem Project
  • Dark Sky Magazine – personal rejection
  • Salamander
  • Gigantic – personal rejection
  • This Great Society
  • Bellvue Literary Review
  • Kenyon Review
  • Juked

There you have it, make of it what you will. As for me, I continue to be very pleased with the level of personal engagement I have with many editors and I just keep on doing what I can to get the work out there.

What else is there for a writer to do anyway? You just have to keep at it, day by day.

If you have a favorite journal you’ve been hitting up, an editor you admire, a journal that maybe didn’t treat you as you would have liked, or a ridiculous wait period followed by a standard form rejection, feel free to share any and all in the comments (you know the drill, people!)


19 Responses

  1. Rock on, Carol,

    You remain my inspiration re submitting work and weathering the storm that all writer must face.



    • Hey Doug, thanks so much. I think the key is to not take any rejections personally and to not get too frustrated by the process, which can sometimes be maddening. For instance, I don’t like waiting 6-9 months for a standard form rejection (who does?) but it’s certainly not personal either.

      Nice to see you here!

  2. Oh, my! This is a big list. All I can say is keep on trying! Please 🙂

    • Haha, thanks for your comment Dianne. If you go back to the February link, you’ll see a MUCH bigger list for just that one month! But in any case, I hope it’s helpful to you.

  3. I too admire your tenacity! This was eyeopening when I saw I saw the February rejections a while ago. I’ll have to post my rejections on lemwriting once I really get back into the game of submitting/being rejected. XD Hopefully I will get personalized rejections like you do. I’ve gotten 99% form letter rejections booooo.

    • Hi Lem, don’t expect too much from a personalized rejection either. 🙂 It might say, “Carol, I liked this piece but ultimately it didn’t work for me” or something similar. It’s usually not specific feedback about why the piece didn’t work… BUT, it is the editor or the staff reaching out with the personal touch, and heck, that means something to me.

  4. You know, I’ve always been curious about your story submissions, Carol. I never really understood how submitting a story to journals or other publications works exactly.

    Is it something they pay you for? Do you send your stories out unsolicited or is there a method to how submissions should be done?

    A mini-guide wouldn’t hurt. 😛

    • Well here is a very summarized version of what I do:

      – go onto to do research on the 4000+ short story markets
      – do a search in their database on my criteria (flash fiction, electronic submissions, sim sub allowed, whatever…)
      – go to the website for the journal, if I am not already familiar with it and read, look for the masthead, look at any interviews with the editor(s)
      – if I’m still interested AND I think the work I have may be a fit for the journal, I read their submissions guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter. Each journal has their own guidelines and they can be very different

      For purposes of this reply, you should assume all submissions are unsolicited. You should also assume, for 99.999% of the cases, the journal does not pay anything should the work be accepted and published (except maybe with contributor copies sometimes).

      It’s really not rocket science, but it is time consuming to find which of your pieces might be a fit for “somewhere out there” and then of course I track everything like religion on a variety of spreadsheets……

      • Thank you so much for the mini-guide. Given the amount of work you put in, it must feel pretty awesome when you finally get a story published. I’ll be rooting for you!

        • Thanks Mike, and yes, it’s euphoric when I get the message that a story has been accepted. It takes quite a while from start (having an idea, writing, refining, re-writing, agonizing, editing, making friends read, re-writing… hahaha) to … “yeah, we’d love to publish this” to actually seeing the piece in print. Sometimes that process takes YEARS… but if I’m lucky, I can produce a story, find the right journal and get it placed within one calendar year or less. I consider that an achievement. 🙂

  5. Your work ethic and resilience inspires me, Carol, to keep submitting. I have a few stories on the docket and need to get motivated: perhaps this is the call.

    I saw this on British T.V. once, and thought of all writers everywhere. It’s fairly odd, but I figured it couldn’t hurt:

    Thanks for the post and keep writing!

    • Hey Brett, thanks for your comment. If there is anything I am doing that motivates you to do your thing, I can tell you it pleases me immensely. A few other folks have told me the same thing, and I always feel happy that anything I’ve said can nudge my fellow writers in this community to create their works and have them see the light of day. Thank you for sharing that … now, make it happen my friend! 🙂

      As for the video:


      I don’t think any editor would enjoy being called a “piss-midget” but oh boy this clip made me laugh! All artists have to go through rejection, and a few of us might gleefully imagine doing all sorts of terrible things to those who reject us, as the chap in the video. Good stuff!


      • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the video and I appreciate the encouragement. I keep searching for times to use the video’s insults, but they are few and far between. Keep up the writing!

        • I found the insults funny, and quite British (you just don’t hear slurs like “piss midget’ here in the colonies much, lol)…

          Come up with your own twisted and amusing slurs and insults to pour forth from the mouths of your characters at the right moment; I’m sure you can create something excellent on your own! 🙂

        • Haha, thank you. I also am a fan of the British insults. Cheers.

  6. Thanks for highlighting the ups and downs of publishing. I love how you separate writing from publishing in your blog, because they are different. Personally, Its hard not to drag in all of my own fear and self doubt during the writing process, only to have it reinforced by rejections. The lighthearted way you list the journals that passed on your work takes the mystery and sting out of it somehow.

    • Thanks so much Sean. Yes, the creative process of writing a story is completely different than the publishing of the work.

      I’m always open to feedback from editors and readers of course, and I’ve re-edited stories based on that feedback, but the original concept behind the story is still there. Maybe I’m more pliant when it comes to the way a story is presented, but I find when I can be open to the changes and engage in a collaboration with the editor(s), the results have been interesting.

      I have my disappointments like anyone else, like when X journal says no to a story, especially when I felt the story was particularly well suited to their editorial vision, but in the end I don’t take it personally because I have never gotten a mean or inappropriate rejection notice.

      Editors and small press journal staff do act in a professional manner and often extend many courtesies to writers. I’ve gone on about that at length on my blog, because we’re all leading busy lives and getting even a few sentences from an editor about a story can make a big difference. I’ll personally forever be grateful to Roxanne Gay at PANK for taking a chance on me and working with me on The Price of Luxury, just as I’ll be forever grateful to Kevin O’Cuinn for his mentorship and editorial guidance on Flame and Cloud Girl, both pubbed in Word Riot.

      A rejection is a temporary state of affairs. It’s an opportunity to say to yourself, ‘was this rejected because of the piece, or because it didn’t match the editorial vision for this journal, or it just wasn’t the right reader and the right day’ because certainly some of what we experience is luck too.

      When you believe in your own work and persist in finding the right editor and the right market for it, that work will shine through. My case in point is The Paperboy, a story that took me 3 years to place. Bartleby Snopes saw fit to publish it, and now that piece has its home. I believed in that piece, and re-edited it I can’t even count how many times over the years. I won’t say it is a perfect story (I’ve never written one of those) but it is as perfect as I could make it and the story was worth telling. I believed in those characters, their mutual loneliness and struggles in life, and an editor believed in them too.

      Sean, I think you’ve been doing a great job of “doing the work.” You’re writing regularly and you are getting your work placed, and it’s a huge achievement that should be celebrated. (I know I do!) Don’t worry about the temporary “no’s” you get, because it just means you haven’t found the “yes” yet – but it’s out there.

  7. What is your take on contest submissions? I am considering entering three short fiction contests, all of which have deadlines on Oct. 1. I am wondering what the standard procedure is here because, although I am not so naive as to think all three will pick my story, I am not so naive to bank on one contest entry.

    • I’ve always maintained that if a contest charges for me to enter it… I wouldn’t enter. I have no issues with others doing so though, of course. I don’t have good suggestions for you here, sorry…

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