Just a quick personal anecdote that might encourage some of you out there, particularly those who struggle with rejection (which as we have discussed, is just a fact of life for writers). It’s not just the quality of your writing that is a factor in publishing.
So, I wrote a story, which I quite liked. Normally whether or not you like a story doesn’t have much to do with its quality, but I’ve been around for a while, and I thought it was pretty good.
It was rejected a few times mostly for thematic fit, and then sat with an editor at a pretty prestigious magazine for about two months, who gushed about how great it was and moved it through the publishing process until it was ultimately rejected because they had several similar stories, or something like that. The detail isn’t important: what’s important is that it was one of the good rejections, one of those personal, ‘we love this, it’s great but unfortunately [phase of the moon/colour of the ink/ennui] etc.’
Them’s the breaks in writing, and personally a rejection like that feels like a win to me (aka validation).
Anyway, I sent the story elsewhere, to a less prestigious magazine, and it was rejected with a score this time (as this particular publication scored submissions, which I personally think is cool – any feedback is good feedback as far as I am concerned). The fun fact though, is that it scored significantly below the already low average for submissions.
Never to be upset by rejections (it’s a trained skill) I just thought I’d share how one story could both appeal to a Big Deal magazine and do several rounds of editorial reading with excellent feedback, yet score woefully at a different magazine.
Same manuscript! True story.
I hope this will make you sleep a little better. Also, I have this now, and I drink a shot every time I get a rejection. It’s great!