Hey guys, amazing news! I got my first rejection! It was for my “Satellite” short story that I briefly described in this post. I knew it’d be a hard sell, and sure enough, here’s the reply I got:
Dear Christine Tyler,
Thank you for submitting [title of story] to [anthology], but we’ve decided not to accept it for publication.
We appreciate your interest in our magazine.
[name of editor]
I thought I’d share this with you guys for a few reasons:
One, if you’re thinking about submitting your work, you might be interested in seeing what a form rejection looks like. This is the kind of reply you get when the editor is not interested at all. Not so scary, is it? After getting this, I took about an hour finding the next best anthology, reading up on their submission guidelines, and sent it right off again.
Two, this is a huge milestone for me! If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I’ve been working on the same behemoth fantasy series for over a decade. Because I never queried my book, that meant I worked for ten years without ever submitting anything (minus pitch sessions at conferences, but that’s another story for another day). In other words, I was in “revision hell.” It sometimes made me feel like, despite all my efforts, I wasn’t actually in the game. I used to daydream about the day I could call my story “done” and start querying. I daydreamed about getting rejections — fighting the good fight alongside my writerly comrades. So this experience is literally a dream come true. You guys, I’m actually, finally, doing it. This rejection is proof of my efforts, and that feels so good.
Obviously getting rejected for a short story — that I already knew was pretty niche — doesn’t hurt as much as getting a novel turned down by a dream agent. But…that’s what makes it even more awesome. It means I get to hang out in the trenches and experience rejection without it being the book-of-my-heart on the line. I gotta say I recommend this tactic.
The third reason I want to share, is because there are some authors who do really cool things with their rejection slips and I want to be one of them. Stephen King had a nail he stuck all his rejections on, until one day there was too much weight and it pulled the nail out of the wall, so he stuck a spike in there instead. I’ve heard of an author who laminated all her rejections into one big ribbon and she takes it to signings and shows it off. Does anyone have any ideas for what I can do with mine? Please let me know in the comments section!
I should hear back about another short story I have on submission by the end of this month. I’ll let you know how that goes as well. Thanks for coming along this journey with me!