I started submitting short stories and poetry for publication in Jan 2008. That means I’ve been submitting for five years. I’ve been accepted a couple times and rejected a whole bunch.
Some things I’ve learned?
- Never reject yourself. It is so easy to read guidelines and think “yeah that kinda sounds like my story!” then read some of the published stories and go “oh woe, these stories are great and mine is horrible, they’d never accept me here, I won’t even bother.” But you lose nothing by trying, whereas you definitely lose when you reject yourself. Let the badgers do that, that’s what they’re there for.
- Read guidelines carefully. Do exactly what they say. Seriously, not rocket science.
- Always read agreements/contracts carefully, even if you’re 99.99% sure it’s all peachy.
- Everything is subjective. And that’s fine, because otherwise the body of published work would be pretty damn boring.
- Rejections are no big deal. Sure, they’re not the best news. Sure, they’re disheartening when you’ve gotten a bunch of them in a row. But they’re not attacks, and the personal ones are usually super helpful. So sit and make Eeyore faces for a bit if you have to, then send out the stories again, and start writing better ones in the meantime.
Which pretty much boils down to: Don’t reject yourself. Read carefully. Deep breath, relax, and keep going no matter the setbacks.
And you know? Those have been pretty important lessons for me to learn, in all areas of my life, that I’m not sure I would have if I weren’t submitting and being rejected.