I’ve been swimming in a sea of good news. I suppose that it is time for some rejection.
Over the past weekend, I ended up with a rejection email within 5 minutes of sending the piece out to the magazine. I’m not going to name the mag/site. I’m really not angry. I’m more amazed than anything else.
The thing is that my story was 18 pages. There’s no way they read it all. I’m wondering two things. First, maybe they read the first page and decided that it wasn’t their thing. Okay. That’s cool. Second, they may have looked at my email and the credentials that I have listed and said, “nope.” That would also be okay, but it’s definitely a little more depressing.
Rejection sucks. There’s not doubting it.
That said, I think there is a lesson to be learned here. Very early in the year, I was turned on to an author that I’d never read previously. In an interview, he talked about sending out his first short story. He sent it to a highly selective market and got in (of course). From then on, he sent stories to the most popular or most selective and then worked down the line.
He essentially flipped the paradigm for me.
I always thought that you submitted to less selective markets and cut your teeth and then, when you were brave and feeling like you’d written something great, you send it to the big market. But that’s maybe not the best way to go about it.
Send to the biggest, most selective, most popular market first. If you get in, you have essentially achieved a miracle. If you don’t get in, then it was the most selective market. Try the next tier down and go from there.
That’s why this rejection doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The place has a selectivity rating in the decimals. The chances were slim.
I had hoped for more than five minutes, but whatever.
The point is that breaking into any market is not easy. There is a lot of luck in the process. And that sucks because we have no control over luck.
You can work hard and edit and learn and experiment. You can write every day and read as many books as you want and you will not find luck.
But you can keep at it and keep trying and wait for that luck to come.
That’s what I’m doing.
Also, the next rejection I got was less than 24 hours later. And that’s better than 5 minutes.
It’s all progress.