I have officially crossed a milestone in my writing career this week. My rejection folder now holds over 500 emails! It has taken me a little over three and a half years to collect that many rejections. As of today, I’ll no longer be keeping up with rejections beyond making sure that I don’t send the same story to a publisher a second time and revising if I received any useful feedback.
I figured out early not to publicly post my disappointment about the rejections I received. Sometimes they challenge your own confidence, and if you’re sharing that lose of fortitude with others, it won’t be long before your friends and family sympathize with you and suggest that you stick with your day job. Take my advice and keep it positive, celebrate your successes.
Since I have the data, let’s have some fun and do a little math. Don’t worry, I’ll crunch the numbers and give you the results. I’ve had 78 stories accepted to go along with the 500 rejections. This means that my average rejection rate is 84.4%. That was hard to write and more than a little depressing. Also, the math wasn’t as much fun as I expected.
If I calculated my rejection rate year after year, I could guarantee you that my odds of an acceptance have increased each year. There is no doubt that my writing has improved, but I’ve also learned what certain publishers/editors are looking to publish; this greatly increases the chances of receiving an acceptance. I’ll also send out short dribbles that are rarely rejected when I feel like I need a pat on the back.
There are several factors that lead to a rejection besides the author’s skill and voice. Timing and fit play a huge part in the editor’s decision and that part remains unseen by the author. Many form rejections simply say they cannot use the story at this time. I always want to reply, it’s okay, just let me know when you can; I’ll wait.
No publisher wants to see the same story twice. Once they reject a story, it’s time to move on to the next publisher. I’ve had a story or two that received 20 rejections before finding a home, and I’ve got several that have been sent out so many times that it’d be hard to find a place to send it. There are a few out there, but I rarely submit to any publisher that takes over 90 days to respond; ain’t nobody got time for that. So, I’m going to follow through with an idea I had in mind when I started sending out stories.
I’m going to compile my own small anthology to self-publish and call it Rejected. This is something that I’ve been telling myself and others that I was going to do for a long time. After a quick Amazon search, I just found out someone else stole my title and published an anthology of rejected stories by various authors a couple years ago. Oh well, I’ll just have to tweak the title a bit. Maybe, The Rejected, will still be available when the time comes.
I’ve got work to do, so keep your nose in the books my friends.