My second literary publication of 2019 came in just under the wire, on Dec. 23rd: a short story with gorgeous original art by David Humphrey. To have the lead-off piece in Dale Peck’s Evergreen Review is coup for me. I can only hope an agent or two loves the piece as much as Dale and John over at Evergreen say they did. Again, the art is out-of-this-world. I never would have thought to use the colors and images David employs, but how perfectly he captures Carlie’s journey!
“The Great Ultimate” was the most recent of the four short stories adapted from chapters of my as-of-yet-unpublished (grumble) novel, and in October of 2018, I was eager to start sending it out.
I submitted “The Great Ultimate” to fourteen magazines before Evergreen said yes. For me, fourteen is an extraordinarily small number of submissions prior to acceptance.
Getting into Evergreen took some gumshoe. Finding no formal submission process on their website, I first sent a different story, I Wanted Ten, to the “info” address—just an attachment to an email. Heard nothing. For months. When “I Wanted Ten” was accepted by Blue Lake Review, I did what The Big They say you are supposed to do in such a situation: I contacted Evergreen—again, by simple email—describing the situation and offering instead “The Great Ultimate.” I’ll let Dale take the story, from here. (Link: dale-peck-announces-alles-short-story-the-great-ultimate.)
In a red-letter day for rejections – five – I went beyond my wildest rejection dreams. I received two rejections for short pieces and three rejections from literary agents for my novel.
I’m of the philosophy that writers who aim for 100 rejections a year get rejected more because we send out more. But we also get published more – because we send out more.
In other news, my short story that was accepted by Dale Peck for Evergreen Review is supposed to run any day/week. The story, “The Great Ultimate,” is an adaptation of one chapter from the novel I am currently trying to place. My hope is that agents read this respected magazine and will call me, for once.
Although I am 32 REJECTIONS shy of my goal of 100 for the year, I have somehow SUBMITTED 100 short pieces. As those pieces are reviewed, I expect to hit my goal of 100 rejections. 😀
As of this moment, I have 52 submissions out–short pieces, that is. I submitted my novel, As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back, to seven different agents. I received a single form rejections. One. The rest: crickets. Even from the agents I knew or had a personal connection to; and those who had asked to review the complete novel as well. Chirp chirp.
Taking a critical look at my submission pages (usually, the first 30-50), I realized that in revising, I had opened the book at a chapter that was, mmmm, well, dull as a opener.
I am re-working on the opening. And the rest of the book. I found a new editor, to give it a fresh eye. Do eyes other than my own refresh a manuscript! I expect to be approaching agents by mid- to late month.
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.