Pins and Needles can sting

This is one of those typical bad news, good news posts.

I have been waiting on pins and needles for well over a month now to hear back from an editor about the status of one of my stories. The story had survived the slush pile, and all the subsequent readings and opinions by the editorial staff until it reached the managing editor. The bad news it that it was rejected.

But then there is the good news. The magazine was a professional market that is recognized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). To have a story get past initial slush was an accomplishment; to have it survive the winnowing process until it was rejected by the editor that makes the final decisions was remarkable; to receive personal feedback by the magazine’s editorial team was unexpected, and I am grateful for the experience.

Understand that the rejection stings. The longer the story survived the selection process, the more hopeful I became. I was really wanting an acceptance. Who wouldn’t?

But as the disappointment wanes I am already thinking of the editors’ (yes, plural) insightful comments. I have already decided that two small tweaks can make the story stronger. I have also decided which market to send it to next.

The magazine? Flash Fiction Online.

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2 Responses

  1. Lately I’ve been finding my own stories hanging around a lot longer at various markets before getting rejected. I know this is a good thing, but it still stings.

    In fact, I think it stings more after waiting the extra time, because I get my hopes up. A recent story was ASIM for several months. It made it past the first two levels of slush and into the “Editors Pool”, where it sat for three months. After three months they automatically release it back to the author.

    And so after three months I got the “sorry” e-mail, which assured me the story was good and would undoubtedly find a place elsewhere. Trouble is, it’s a fantasy/humor piece and there are really only a small few markets for such work. It has now been to each of those and I pretty much have to wait until something else opens up for it.

    But you’re right…the personal feedback IS really nice. We’re all striving to be better writers.

  2. Good to hear from you, David!

    When a story falls into a niche like that, it is hard to place it with a perfectly suited market. I have a story that falls into a niche, but I am sending it out to markets that it doesn’t quite fit; unless they specify in the guidelines that they don’t want or like an aspect of the story. Let the editors’ decide if it fits their ‘zine, or not.

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