by Louis Bertrand Shalako
All Rights Reserved
The key thing in dealing with rejection is to immediately sit down and submit that story somewhere else. If you receive criticisms with the rejection, naturally you should take them into account. But more often there is no criticism. Take another look at it, and then send it off again.
For a writer there is nothing more positive than reaching that point in the story when you know you really have something--something 'real,' but the second best thing is submitting. It is, after all; a positive, optimistic thing, filled with hope and promise.
My hand trembled the first time I made an e-mail submission. But then, I didn't know what would happen...and anything can happen, (at some theoretical level.)
Since May 2009 I have made 574 submissions, including short stories, books and poetry. My success rate hovers around four percent. This naturally does not include stories published on my own blog, or self-published e-books. Do the math. I guess you could say that I have learned to deal with rejection to some extent, although it still does hurt from time to time. This largely depends on how much of an emotional investment you having riding on it...right?
But it's not over until you say it is over, either. You really can't lose, unless you choose to quit.
I could bump up the success rate by plying the fledgling markets. What I am doing is submitting new stories to pro markets, at least my best stories. It keeps me sharp.
I submitted to a fledgling market last week. I would like to find a place for that story, and you never really know, do you?
The next thing on the agenda is to try a few submissions to the People's Republic of China. I have subbed there before, but had no luck. But now I have ten months of very hard training in re-writing and editing...and I make my own luck.
Most of the time there is no real valid reason for rejection. Like any smart shopper, the editor simply wasn't interested. They have only so much to spend and a pretty good idea of what they want, or at least they will know it when they see it.
This is the key to submitting: 'They will know it when they see it."
Thus we strive for excellence, and try to get inside the editor's head a little bit.
This post may be updated later.
Oh, yeah! I almost forgot. I got a couple of rejection slips today...but then I also subbed six or seven new ones!
You would have to be some kind of masochist to want this job.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
The other day I made a foriegn-language submission, and within two days I've placed a story in Nova Fantasia, (Galician, Spain.) And it was just too easy, although we all know how much the Spanish like soccer, Fernando Alonso and science fiction.
Every thing in life has its price, and success is no exception, oddly enough. I have no idea of when that will come out. Also, once you begin to actually place stories rather than just submitting them all over hell's half-acre, then it starts to matter about what the rights are. This leads to more reading, more thinking and more care and attention. It is more time-consuming. You become more selective in the markets you submit to, always with one eye on the rights. When it's no longer free, then you begin to consider the price, and whether it's really worth it--like those subs to China I mentioned earlier.
Simply put, no pay except maybe a few copies. I give away some rights, in a nation of a billion people, none of whom have ever heard my name.
The magazine has 400,000 readers, many of whom speak English and are on the internet where they could buy one of my e-books...it's a trade-off. One magazine publishes the story in Chinese and English, which makes it a reprint, (or half-price) back home. It's a new foreign-language credit...very prestigious.
Yes, and at some point you have to figure out a way to keep track of it all.
You really have to consider the price of successfully placing a story in that market.