Two In One Day

I used to have a poster on my wall with an aggrieved-looking tennis player and something along the lines of, “Winners never quit, quitters never win, but those who never quit and never win are idiots.” I am not yet at “never win”, but two form rejections in one day can be, I admit, rather daunting. (The pieces rejected: The Necromancer Negotiates, and The Body and the Bomb)

However, it is important to look at the positive aspects of this:

  1. Damn, I have enough pieces on submission that I can get two rejections in one day.
  2. Although it still stings, rejection is not the setback it used to seem.
  3. My reaction is has evolved from wanting to treat myself to a nice dinner, to wanting to go exercise.
  4. Neither of them were rejected quickly. According to Duotrope, NN had been considered longer than average for that market, and BB close to the average. It is *cough* possible *cough* to read too much into these things, of course, but at the very least it’s not a bad sign.

The rejections do, however, make me scratch my head over these two pieces. They’re good pieces, much improved over my work even three months ago. But that’s the third or fourth rejection for The Body and the Bomb, so there are fewer markets left for it, all of them with longer turnaround times. At this point I think the logical next stop would be Fantasy & Science Fiction, but I already have a piece on submission there (A Stab in the Dark). If they like that piece, I want to send them this one. If they don’t, then it may be time to change gears and start sending to mystery-oriented markets: I’d love to have something published in Alfred Hitchcock’s, which I’ve read for years, but they’re a fairly slow postal-only market.

So I think that I might sit on it until I hear back from S&SF, as they are pretty fast with their replies, or maybe send it to Daily Science Fiction, which has so far been similarly quick-like. Revising, however, is not in the cards for this piece: All the advice I’ve received is to keep moving forward, keep writing new pieces and further refining my skills. Once you start polishing, you can polish endlessly and never get anywhere, never grow as a writer. Besides, I don’t know why it was rejected from any of the markets that chose not to say why: there’s no reason to put words in their mouths.

OK, pity break over, time to get back to work. (Well, time to go to bed, actually, but you get the idea)

2 thoughts on “Two In One Day

  1. Too bad about the rejections!

    I’m really enjoying hearing about this process — I have to say the comparison to academic publishing is very unflattering for academic presses. It sounds like the turnaround time is respectable. Do the markets usually say why they’re passing on a piece?

    I’ll be excited to see where these stories wind up getting published.

    1. Well, yes and no (about being flattering to academic presses). The turnaround times vary wildly — according to sites like Duotrope and the Black Hole, response times are all over the map. Clarkesworld has their process refined to the point where responders actually are told their position in the queue, and when that number comes up, an email goes out pretty quickly. Strange Horizons actually goes so far as to spell out what their process is. On the other hand, there are some markets that are notorious black holes, where it can be up to a year to get a response. I’ll… decline to name them here, but it’s easy to find them at the links above 😉

      Most markets will comment on some pieces (the somewhat-poorly-titled “personal rejections” listed at Duotrope are comments like this) and either say why they won’t publish it, offer suggestions for improvement, or both. For example, I got a personal rejection from Strange Horizons suggesting I cut the length by 20% for a quicker read, and pointing out that the reader figured out the ending early. Useful stuff to know. But most markets send form rejections to most of the pieces. Reasons for rejection are all over the map, and my understanding is that form vs. personal has more to do with the reader’s work load than anything else.

      And yes, I am also keen to find out where these pieces will get published!

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