The Daily Rejection, Vol. 3

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Calla Lily

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Welcome to a new year and a new thread!

To get things started, here are the last few posts from volume 2 in low-tech mode:

From Liz_V:
Well, I'm starting the new year right: rejection on a short story in my inbox this morning. Thbtbtbt!

I actually sent out a query this week! I ended up with the whole week off kind of by accident, so my plan was to write in the morning and query in the afternoons. That... hasn't exactly worked out, but one query is one more than I've managed for a while now. And I found a few other agents who sound promising if they ever reopen.


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Originally Posted by angeliz2k
... I have to put up with the publishing industry if I ever want to get published, and I still do, in spite of all. Mostly, it's the readership factor. At this point, I'd still rather keep my mss to myself than self-publish them and have next-to-no-one ever read them.



This is me, too.

In addition to Submission Grinder, ralan.com is a good source for genre markets.

Happy new year, all! :partyguy: May 2021 bring less aggravation and more acceptances.

From Tamlyn:
Welcome to the new year, all. In 2020, like in 2019, I sold nothing at all. Hopefully 2021 will be better for all of us on acceptances.

From zmethos:
Two rejections earlier this week. Fun way to end the year, but it's not like 2020 had been great anyway. Fingers crossed for 2021! I still have two agents reading and a number of queries out there in the float...

Good luck, everyone!

From ValerieJane:
I hope everyone is hanging in there in the new year. For me, 2020 ended with a few more rejections squeaked in right under the wire, but 2021 has started with a request! Fingers crossed.
 

Tamlyn

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Hello, new thread! Maybe this will be the lucky one.
 

Liz_V

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Ooh, a shiny new thread! Thanks, Calla Lily!


Got another short story rejection, and wow, they hated that story. I mean *really* hated it. (This is a market where you can request to see the slush readers' feedback, so I literally asked for it.) It's a humorous mad-scientist piece, and of course the thing about humor is that it either lands or it really, really doesn't. I think it's also clear they didn't realize they were reading a mad-scientist story.

Well, at least I know not to try any more of my quirky humor on this market. Maybe I'll send them the creepy thing instead.

In other news, I sent another query! Yeah, that's like two in the past month! Hey, it's a start (again).
 

Lakey

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Damn, Liz, that has to smart. It’s one thing to get the standard form rejection without so much as “we enjoyed reading it but unfortunately....” I’m not sure my writing career would survive the kind of feedback you’re talking about!

I had a good news, meh news day. I got into a workshop I applied to—it is really not any kind of big deal, so please don’t read too much into it, but it’s nice all the same. And, I got a very encouraging rejection on a short story, one of those “please submit to us again” deals. Fortunately, I have another story to submit to them, so I’ll be doing that as soon as their next submission window opens.

Question for those of you who submit short stories: When you submit again to a journal that encouraged you to submit again, do you mention this in your cover letter?

:e2coffee:
 

Liz_V

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Lakey - Well, I did ask for it; that market gives you the option of requesting the slushers' feedback or not, and they do warn you it's not filtered or diplomatic. And the feedback's not wrong, exactly; the science is unbelievable (it's not meant to be taken seriously), and the solution to the dilemma actually is kind of "horrible" as one reader described it; it's meant to be the sort of thing you laugh at but kind of feel bad for laughing at. ;) Mostly, it's pretty clearly not the right story for this audience.

Also, the last time I requested the feedback, what I got was super helpful and pinpointed why the story wasn't selling, which was something that never would have occurred to me otherwise. So, I'll take my lumps for that.

Congrats on getting into the workshop! That is indeed nice. And on the encouraging R.

I've only ever mentioned the "please submit again" thing if it's a special situation, like getting a second shot at a one-sub-per-author window. But I'm over here in genre-land, where a lot of editors really want cover letters kept to a minimum; my impression is that in litfic, it's more customary to mention it?
 

zmethos

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I don't usually mention the "please submit again" thing because I'm never sure if that was just a form courtesy rather than an actual invitation. (But that might just be me doubting my abilities, since I've often been told agents and editors won't just say that to everyone.)

Another rejection came in last night. I have a couple agents reading the manuscript and I'm still waiting to hear from most of the ones I've queried. My guess is they are catching up from the holidays. I know I should work on my new WIP but I'm feeling too jittery to focus.
 

angeliz2k

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Ooh, a shiny new thread! Thanks, Calla Lily!


Got another short story rejection, and wow, they hated that story. I mean *really* hated it. (This is a market where you can request to see the slush readers' feedback, so I literally asked for it.) It's a humorous mad-scientist piece, and of course the thing about humor is that it either lands or it really, really doesn't. I think it's also clear they didn't realize they were reading a mad-scientist story.

Well, at least I know not to try any more of my quirky humor on this market. Maybe I'll send them the creepy thing instead.

In other news, I sent another query! Yeah, that's like two in the past month! Hey, it's a start (again).

*This Liz*, that is, *I*, am in the same spot. I just sent out the first query I've sent in a month and a half. I might send one or two more today or this weekend.

Sorry about that short story feedback. It sounds like they really weren't picking up what you were putting down, so to speak, and that's too bad. They probably couldn't see past that disconnect to the quality of the story itself.
 

Liz_V

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Other Liz :), yep, that's it exactly.

Go you on getting that query out!

I've been trying lately to write in the morning and spend the afternoon querying or submitting. It's been hit or miss, but today no querying happened because I spent all day writing, so I'll take that.

/* flings R cookies at zmethos and anyone else who needs 'em */
 

Lakey

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I don't usually mention the "please submit again" thing because I'm never sure if that was just a form courtesy rather than an actual invitation. (But that might just be me doubting my abilities, since I've often been told agents and editors won't just say that to everyone.)

I am generally pretty skeptical of the idea of tiered rejections. But having received both kinds from the same journal, I start to believe in them. Also, this recent one was full of words like “the editors had a lively discussion” and “we really want more of your voice.” So I think I’m not deluding myself to take it as real encouragement. I think they will like the next story I have to send them. I don’t know that they will publish it, but I think they will like it.

.... and, the next day, I finally got an acceptance on that story! It’s not an impressive journal or anything, but it’s a lit mag with a quarterly online issue and a yearly print compendium, and I’ll take it. I’ve been trying to place this story for two years, with a lot of ups and downs, some really delightful near misses (being one of three finalists in Columbia Journal’s annual competition was one of them), and about 25 rejections all told. Moral of the story: Don’t give up, especially on work that has had encouraging rejections.

Best beginning-of-year juju to everyone.

:e2coffee:
 

Belle_91

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Congrats, Lakey! Hopefully, this will lead to more stories being placed! I'm glad this story found a home. And you can add it your writing credentials. Your story gives me hope. Thank you.


I hope everyone else hasn't been too stressed out by the start of this year (you had one job 2021! One job!) Anyways, I'm in a little bit of a pickle. I swear I'm really good about checking, but I accidently queried an agent while she was closed to queries. I swear there was nothing that said she was closed on her agency profile page, just twitter and apparently querytracker (that's where I saw she had been closed). I feel like the biggest idiot. I submitted to her on the 5th and she opened on the 8th. Should I just re-query her? Should I mentioned that I didn't see she was closed on Twitter? I didn't see anything saying that queries submitted while she was closed would be deleted unread. UGH! I hope I haven't just shot myself in the foot.
 
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zmethos

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Lakey, that definitely sounds like true encouragement rather than canned! In which case, you might be right to mention that, though the last story wasn't the right fit, you hope this one will be (or something to that effect). Congrats on the acceptance, too!

Belle, I'm sure the agent will understand your mistake. If it were me, I'd probably re-query and add a note so that, if it appears to be a double query, she knows why. Something like, "I queried you on the 5th then saw you were closed to queries until the 8th, so I am resubmitting my query now. I apologize if you received it twice." Something like that?
 

Belle_91

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zmethos--thanks. I'll try that. I hope it works.
 

litdawg

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Happy New Year, all! I'm revisiting this thread because I finally have some work to submit places. In the fall, I wrote a piece of flash fiction and a short story. I've submitted them in hopes of building the fiction side of my publication background. And as with all of my publishing attempts, I have a list of fifteen to twenty venues where I will send the pieces subsequent to each rejection. I'm hopeful that short stories are reviewed more expeditiously than poetry. I had one clutch of poems under exclusive submission to a lit journal for eighteen months before the form rejection finally came. Well, the po-biz has been a decent apprenticeship in waiting for rejection, but I hope short fiction isn't quite so sluggish.

Congratulations to you, Lakey, for persisting to publication! Such a great way to start the year :partyguy:
 

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Just jumping in to say Happy New Year to you all, and fingers crossed this new year brings good things to you!

Also, Belle - I see a lot of agents posting about how, if they are closed to queries, they simply delete anything sent in that time. So I think you are absolutely fine to query again now that the agent is open. Perhaps include an explanatory line towards the end of the query, just in case, but I don't think you need to, necessarily.
 

zmethos

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:gaah: I just realized I didn't follow the guidelines on a query I submitted. I thought the site said to just send a query and they would ask for chapters if they were interested. Somehow I completely missed the part where they did also say to paste the first three pages below the query. So per QT this agent has responded to everyone in my immediate submission vicinity, but not to me, probably because my query got dumped for not following the rules. :cry: I feel so stupid and mad at myself right now. What a wasted opportunity.
 
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Liz_V

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Lakey, congrats on the acceptance! :hooray: That's the way to do it!

Belle, re-querying with brief explanation was definitely the way to go. Any reasonable agent understands that these things happen -- and who wants an unreasonable agent?

:hi: litdawg, Raggy, & everybody

zmethos - What a fine opportunity to take your own advice! A requery, with a brief explanation and those three pages, sounds like a good plan.

In local news, I've fallen off the querying wagon again, but at least the writing's going well.
 

angeliz2k

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Belle, I agree, it was a simple mistake, and I would simply query again. Maybe a quick PS at the end would be in order, but it's probably not even necessary. Similar thing goes for you, zmethos. Simple mistakes happen, and you can't beat yourself up over it. I could go on a little rant about how we writers are treated like contestants in a beauty pageant, but I'll stop here.

As for me, I sent out two more queries, so I now have 3 outstanding, not counting some older ones that are probably NRMN at this point (NRMN is a rant for another day!).
 

zmethos

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Well, before I could send an amended query with an apology/explanation, the agent went ahead and sent a form rejection, so... My own damn fault, but sigh. Feeling frustrated about the lack of response on requested pages, too. Trying to stay patient, but my hopes are pretty far down in the pits these days.
 

Belle_91

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Thanks, guys. I hope it all works out.

Good luck to everyone else. Godspeed.
 

Liz_V

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angeliz2k - Yay for sending out more queries!

zmethos, have an R cookie and a nice, comfy seat in the pits. All the best people are down here anyway. :)

Writing's been going nowhere the past few days; I've got some distracting personal stuff going on at the same time that the scene I'm working on has hit a snag, so focus is out the window right when I need to rethink the whole thing. Shockingly, watching writing vids on YouTube for hours on end hasn't been helping. :Wha: So I tried to get a short story sent out so I'd have done something productive; got halfway through the submission form for one place before I realized I already have a story in the slush pile there; the second place I tried (which never closes) is closed to submissions because they're moving to a different publisher. I'm ready to give up, eat Twizzlers for dinner, and go to bed... except we're out of Twizzlers.
:flag:
 

Belle_91

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zmethos, I don't hand out cookies, I hand out margaritas. Strawberry? Lime? Peach? Don't beat yourself up about your mistake. Last week I submitted to an agent who was closed and yesterday morning I submitted to an agent who had already rejected me on this piece. Talk about embarrassing. I was really mad at myself, too, for not having thoroughly checked, but we are only human after all. Agents are, too. I think. ;) The agent in question might not have even seen the pages if they were pasted beneath the query letter. Don't beat yourself up. If you slip up once or twice on the query guidelines because of an honest mistake, that's okay. This is from the queen of Catholic guilt.
:D

Liv, I think it's understandable with the state of the country/world if you have a few non-productive writing days. Give yourself some slack and congratulate yourself for not throwing in the towel completely. And buy more Twizzlers!
 
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angeliz2k

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Liz_V, some days, things just don't work out no matter how hard you try and how good your intentions.Well, I guess it's to be expected: send out queries, get back (a) rejection(s). I got one overnight (I guess the agent was up late). It was a form, but it was longer than the usual one-sentence brush-off, which I appreciate. And it came within a week of my sending the query, so I appreciate that, too. (See, it doesn't take much to satisfy me--just a relatively prompt response that isn't condescending!) Of course, I'm bummed about the rejection, but at this point my expectation is always to be rejected.Sigh. I'm gonna go buy buy some fabric now and dream about what I'm gonna sew with it. Bye.
 

Belle_91

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I got a full request from the agent I had queried when she was closed. I don't think she had gotten to my apology query because she had mentioned that she had flagged my query while she was closed but didn't think I had required and was really keen to read my MS. I wanted to share for the people who had also made blunders that not all is lost!

I'm so excited I don't even mind that my coffee I got from Starbucks is burnt.
 

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