I saw a submission call in January that grabbed my attention. So, I sat down and wrote an 1100-word story for it. However, I didn’t heed my own advice and leave the story for a couple of days and submitted it straight as soon as it was finished. The next morning, I knew I’d made a mistake; it wasn’t as strong a story as it should have been. It came as no surprise to me then, when I received a rejection letter for it a few weeks after.
Had they accepted it, I’d have been so disappointed–it didn’t show me at my best and I’d have forever been annoyed.
A lot of authors don’t like rejections–they’re intensely personal and they can sting. However, I have a slightly different perspective…
As an anthology publisher, I have had to reject great stories and for multiple reasons, such as:
Too similar to another story which slightly pips it to the post
Although it fits the call, it doesn’t fit with the other submissions to form a coherent book
The premise is good but the story itself requires too much editing work
With my writing head on, I feel that the more stories I put out there, the more rejections–and acceptances–I’m going to get. If I don’t submit, I won’t receive rejections (yay!) but won’t be published either (boo!)
I keep a running log and know that my writing is good enough that I’m going to receive a mix of both – I just need to push myself to weight the balance in favour of more acceptances. And that means practise and improving, with every word, paragraph and story I write.
With the piece that was rejected, I brought it back to its bare parts and took out what was extraneous and what didn’t quite work. From that, I had a framework to rebuild. And I did. It ended up as a 600-word flash piece, far, far stronger and something I’m proud of. It’s now out with another publisher, so fingers crossed.
And if they reject it? They’re not the right home for my story so I’ll try again.