What Really Happened

I’m unbelievably stoked to have sold a story. Like, over not just the moon, but the entire damn galaxy. I wouldn’t be here if Literally Stories or trampset hadn’t given my start. Literally Stories has been amazing, and their first acceptance came when I stood on the brink with that little voice of doubt screaming just give up, you’re not good enough. Which was after enough rejections to fill a dump truck. They are an amazing online site, which you should check out as soon as you’re done reading this.

And Metaphorosis-their editor Morris Allen said in his first response I won’t take it as is, but if you’re interested in revising and rewriting, shoot me an email and we’ll talk.

I did, rewrote, and he emailed me back he was afraid the story had gotten a bit muddled. Which I think was a really nice way of saying- man, you really fucked that up. But he still gave me another chance to rewrite again. His third response was that I had done substantially better. The fourth version turned into a sale.

My first story ‘Family Traditions’ appeared online February 21st. I’ve had 8 stories released since then, with ‘Memory Drive’ coming out late May at Literally Stories and ‘Nobody’s Daughter and the Tree of Life’ in June by Metaphorosis.

The successes are the highest of highs. But what I fail to mention is that I average about 10 rejections for every story. So, ten stories accepted? ONE HUNDRED REJECTIONS IN FOUR MONTHS. That’s a lot of rejection. Everyone says it’s not personal-and it’s not. Just like when you interview for a job and aren’t selected. Imagine one hundred interviews. Ninety people telling you that yes you’re good! You’re qualified! But not right for us. It’s the same as our taste in reading material. You might be the greatest writer of all time but if your cover has a bodice being ripped open, I’ll never know that. The writing can be good, the story great, but it’s not for me.

How do I deal with rejection?

Get sad, get over it. Google the magazine and their rejection letters. Attempt to dissect whether this is a tiered rejection if it’s a form rejection. Personal rejection? Even better. I’ve been so lucky to have personal rejections that tell me what worked and what didn’t. The same editor who bought this story once sent me a rejection that said the story idea was good, but portions were overwritten and overly dramatic. Guess what? I wrote cleaner, better prose and tried again.

My first rejection today was in my inbox when I woke up. CC Finlay and the Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction have rejected me 6 times. Today, he said ‘but there’s some good writing here.’ That means, to me, try again. Do better. Write clearer. Edit more.

What happened was not that I sat down, wrote a story, and sold it.

What happened was I wrote a bunch of crap stories, then some better ones, then finally started sending them out. A hundred times.

I’m very lucky to be gifted with a stubborn streak. As most of you know.

5 thoughts on “What Really Happened”

  1. You show the correct patience. I believe that a person could earn a Phd if she were able to explain the rejection process. The first hundred or so suck, then soon after you find yourself scanning the real ones (as opposed to the form rejections) for the nuances in the editor’s personality (Cats or dogs? Gay or straight? Absinthe or morphine?). After you have done that long enough you realize that the editor is a writer, thus every bit as fucked in the head as you are. This is a good thing to know. I have great sympathy for the editor; OUR genius notwithstanding, this is a person who must delve through more shit than a sewer worker and yet retain her love for the written word. One more thing: I absolutely detest this new thing that popped up recently: The Form Acceptance Letter.Talk about a kiss on the forehead. Good job with your writing, and of almost equal importance, your persistence. As said before, you’ve got the goods; but without keeping at it and not falling to pieces when you are rejected, and actually not being so egotistical as to fight over the smallest points with an editor (as I have finally stopped doing), you may very well go far.
    Leila Allison

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s luck. My second favorite story I’ve ever written is Memory Drive-available 5-25 on Literally Stories-but got one of the harshest rejections. I wasn’t as big fan of some of the more well received stories. My favorite ever no one else loves! It’s lucking into an editor who loves the story.


  3. Congratulations on getting through the rewrite process and getting published. Your experience with Morris sounds like mine. He’s very patient, meticulous, and usually right.


  4. You’re a very welcome addition to LS and your perseverance is impressive. I’m hoping to get back to more writing this year if life, LS and other duties allow and I hope I’ll show the same fortitude. Leila is accurate in her editorial assessment in my opinion – there have been times my love of the written word has been sorely tested but neither you nor Leila bring me such misery…

    Hope there will be many more successes to come – selfishly on LS but as a fellow writer I hope the circle is much wider!

    Liked by 1 person

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