I can officially call myself a writer. While I was at DragonCon, I received my first rejection.
It’s not for my 100,000 word novel, or my 10,000 word novelette. Those are in progress and no where near ready for submission. “To The Point” is an idea I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while and finally wrote. While trying to figure out what I was going to do with it, I remembered an online magazine and enjoy reading. My story fit their requirements. I sent it off and began the process of nail biting waiting. Two weeks later, I had my answer in the form of a polite email stating thank you for submitting but we won’t be accepting it.
I won’t lie and say I wan’t disappointed. I would have loved to see this story in print, but I knew it was a long shot when I submitted it. I already had backup plans for the story.* That may be why I’m not feeling the soul-crushing despair I thought I would at being rejected. I kid you not – some of my friends sounded more disappointed by the rejection than I was.
Or maybe it’s because I don’t have the same time and emotional investment in it that I have the others. This isn’t the novelette I’ve been working on for four months. This isn’t the novel I’ve been writing on and off for the last seven years. This is a short story it took me about a week to write from draft to polish based on an idea that has been kicking around in my head for two years.
It could also be that I received the email after listening some authors describe the workings of the slush pile at a well known science fiction/fantasy publisher. It was an eye-opener that dampened my enthusiasm for submitting anything directly to one of the Big Five. Will I still do it? Probably. Will I expect to hear that I have been selected for publication after two years of waiting? No. Will I have multiple fallback plans? Yes. That is the reality that I, and anyone who wants to publish through one of the major houses, will be facing.
Any way I slice it, this was a learning experience. I learned the proper way to submit a story for one publication. I spent time wondering and waiting for an answer. I have received a rejection. I’m certain it will be the first of many. But, and this is the important thing, I am already researching and planning my next submission for my next story. I am not letting it stop me.
*What are my plans for “To The Point?” Unless something changes in the next seven weeks, I will be posting it on Halloween. Watch this blog for more details.