The publishing world is harsh. It’s cold and full of rejection.
You write a story, get excited and send it off with hope in your heart. Pick me! Pick me!
And more often than not they don’t.
And then they don’t some more.
Recently I’ve had a good run, six acceptances in a cluster! I cheered: Hooray! They picked me! But once all the celebration sushi had been eaten I started wondering: where did all this acceptance come from?
I’ve been actively trying to get work published for over a year and a half now with some publications and contest wins here and there, but nothing like my recent successes. So what have I been doing differently?
The one major change I’ve made is finding my place. I write magic realism and because I often have speculative elements in my stories I was sure I would find success in the world of sci-fi/fantasy, but that just hasn’t been the case. So as I’ve stumbled along I’ve refined my searches, sought out literary magazines with a subtle (or obvious) surreal/magic realism slant and really aimed as opposed to shooting in the dark. I’ve learned from my rejections.
I spent a lot of time trying to slot myself into the speculative fiction world because I thought it was the most appropriate place for me, but I’ve learned that’s not the case and it’s a good thing to know, because now I can really focus and hopefully hit the mark more often.
When I was an actor years ago I got the best piece of advice about rejection I’ve ever heard: they aren’t (necessarily) rejecting you because you’re bad, they’re rejecting you because you’re not right for the part. Don’t take it personally.
I’ve tried to keep that same advice in mind as I go through the process of becoming a published writer. I need to find the places that are right for me and that takes work, but it’s worth while when you start hitting the right note with the right places, because it can lead to amazing connections and great publications!
The moral? Buck up and focus on getting your work into the right hands. Just because you get a rejection doesn’t mean your story is bad, it just means you haven’t found your place just yet.