I’m generally not one for self-laceration. But today, I have to share some important news. I have somehow survived a total of, count them, 100 literary rejections.
Whew! I just received the 100th rejection letter today from a magazine I submitted my latest story to. Here’s the text of the letter:
Dear Darius Jones,
Thank you for giving us the chance to consider “The Number Thief” for publication in XXXX. While we have decided against this one in the end, it did get a positive response from our staff and we wish you the best in placing this work.
Thank you to the “staff!” Hey, I would have loved them to publish it, but OK, I’ll take it.
So, why share this? Why let it be known so widely? Well, the point is not the rejections themselves, of course. The point is that this is part of the game. That despite 100 rejections, I have kept going. There is no way (all the way back in July 2012!), when I submitted my first story, that I thought I would have made it to 100 rejections without going crazy. But as I mentioned earlier, the first cut is the deepest. Once you get past that first rejection you realize it isn’t that bad. And after about 25 rejections, rejections lose their sting.
And now I’m beginning to realize something else: 100 rejections is just getting started. Why, there’s Aeryn Rudel who just got rejected 16 times, by the same publisher! Way to go, Aeryn!!! And then there’s Rahul Kanakia who just received his 1600th rejection. Well, played, Rahul!!! The point is when it comes to rejection, I’m a Newbie.
And the real point isn’t the rejections, of course. It’s the tenacity, the ability to keep going. And the acceptances. I’ve got five of those so far. (By the way that also yields a nice mathematical insight: a 5 percent acceptance rate. Not too shabby.) And two of my stories are out on submission with five different magazines. So, no, I haven’t given up. Not even close. I had a great writing session this weekend and I’m ready to keep submitting my finished stories to magazines as more rejections roll in–and they surely will.
So, that’s what it’s like being a Newbie to literary rejection. But 100 ain’t a bad start. I’ll take it and I’m ready for 101.
See you next time…Until then…
Keep reading, Keep writing.