What, with me being in Asia and the 20-something submissions still circulating from 2018, this years’ submissions are off to a bit of a molasses-pour of a start. The good news, however, is that my submissions-to-acceptances-to-publications rate is dead even: 1:1:1.
Almost as good is my Good Rejection-to-Rejection (Dear Writer: NO) rate: 1:3.
Wouldn’t it be swell if the averages held steady. A-hahahahahahaha.
On Friday, I will submit my first pitch of three for travel articles that came out of my recent Asia trip. To The New York Times’ Travel section. Petrified. I know that the worse that can happen is that they can say, “No.” I probably won’t even be crushed because I am already crushing myself merely thinking about submitting. And I know that there are many other outlets for these exciting pieces. Still … nerves like I haven’t had in years.
In other news: this week, I sent out my first query for As Far As You Can Go Before You Have To Come Back. Now there is THAT whole ferris wheel to think about. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. I’m going to go watch Colbert.
I was going to post this YTD yesterday. I am glad that I decided to let the draft sit for its customary 24-hour bake period BECAUSE I received a shockingly good rejection from World Literature Today:
Thanks for sending us “Goddess of Mercy.” Though we did not select this piece for publication, we really do appreciate your interest in publishing in our pages. I found your writing vivid and engaging and would welcome another submission, particularly something shorter.
Between their reputation for intellectualism and their flat-out luminosity, I came close to not even submitting to World Literature Today. I said the following aloud as I pressed Send: it’s my job to send the stuff. Let the editors make their decisions.
Finally: since sending out my three new pieces, I received two rejections of the short story The Great Ultimate. The remaining are still under consideration — including the magazine I have my hear set on for Hong Kong, My Twenties.
My word, a crazy month in the submission/rejection department. My submissions jumped from 115 to 142. My rejections, up to 98 from 79—almost to that goal of 100!
A bit of backstory. In the past week, I finished three new pieces: one essay (Mouthy, Ugly Genius); one short story (The Great Ultimate); and one flash non-fiction (Hong Kong, My Twenties) that I can submit as flash fiction if I use an edited version.
I sent Mouthy, Ugly Genius to seven places.
I sent The Great Ultimate to five.
I sent Hong Kong, My Twenties to two. I have my heart set on a specific magazine. I slaved to get the submission to 250 words—that’s their limit. I want to give them two months before I submit Hong Kong widely. The second place I sent to; well, they state that their turn-around time is four months.
Lordy, I haven’t published a YTD since June. I suppose that’s good; too busy writing, submitting, editing at jmww, and recording rejections. As well as recording my acceptances. So many this year, I can only be grateful. I know it sounds sappy, but I do believe in gratitude.
My submissions total took a huge jump since mid-August. Mid-August through October or December is submission season for a great many university-based magazines, with a second subs period opening in the spring. Every time I hear editors speak about submitting, they say, “Get your work to us at the beginning of our submissions cycle.”
Thru mid-June, submissions lagged. Certain pieces submitted at certain places meant I didn’t want to send that piece to too many other places until I heard back; combined with the fact that many places I wanted to submit didn’t open for submissions until July.
Now, July. Subbed the ones I could (6 places) on July 1st. August is another month that magazines opening for summer reading. I wager I’ll have 20 more pieces in rotation by the end of August. More pieces out, more rejections in. And you thought it was all glamour and awards.
I went for a grant. Artist Trust’s Grants for Artist Programs (GAP). I have another due at the end of August. I never win grants, so I might as well apply. They say that the people who win grants are always applying for them.
Many thanks to those on Facebook who made generous comments regarding my finalist position in the Creative Nonfiction Magazine “Intoxication” contest. The same magazine has another contest coming up; theme: Sex.
I’m gonna skip that one. I swear, in the era of #Me,Too, I have nothing to say about sex. Someone figure that out for me.
Missed posting for March. Sorry! I am still letting JMWW take precedence over my own publishing. So much to do for JMWW, so very exciting. I have to say, rejecting writers is no fun. Clearly, they work so hard and want so much to be published.
Submitting their fiction rather than their nonfiction. Seriously!
Unprofessional cover letters: too cutesy; describing their lives or describing the story rather than simply stating the title and that the attached is an essay (rather than fiction); not listing their publishing history. And the biggest goof:
Not stating the word count of their pieces on their cover letter. I want to know the length of reading commitment I am getting myself into.
Aside from these three items, over which the writer has control, there is very little a writer can do vis-a-vis acceptance. Most of their pieces I receive are simply not good enough. Most are not as good in comparison to the pieces we accept. Others seem like too much work to bring up to excellence. And some are simply not good. But most are good. Just not good enough.
I hate to say such a thing, as I think about my submissions, and my rejection letters–which I examine in minutia for signs of “Dear Writer: NO” vs. genuine interest in my work.
In the end, all I can determine is that I must continue to submit, leaving the decision to the magazine.
We appreciate your 22 submissions so far this year. Do not be discouraged that your submission to rejection ratio is–we cannot do the math; we are a writer. Simply put: you have seven fewer submissions than you do rejections.
You don’t suck. You took over as Senior Nonfiction Editor at jmww journal. Thus you should expect to see a dip in your personal work.
However, don’t be a total dip. Keep it up on the home front. You are down to 18 pieces in rotation. Time to dedicate some writing time to Self.