Monday I counted my 150th rejection of 2018.
I was so excited for the start of the new year. A clean slate! I can dedicate myself to achieving 100 rejections, both for short stories and queries! This will be the year I fling everything out into the world like so much spaghetti, and hope something sticks. Monday the 1st was even Submission Monday, the day I set aside an afternoon for submission updates, emails, queries and placement research.Babby’s First Query, Jan. 9 2018
Not only did I crush my 100 rejection goal, I got 4–count ’em, 4–acceptances this year, which is a 300% increase up from last year.
Oh, right, I forgot to mention: the day after I wrote last week’s blog about feeling like everything is an uphill slog, I got an acceptance for a flash piece I wrote in the summer.
The flash piece was written for a “punk-rock SF anthology”, the editor(s) of which liked the piece I sent to them originally but not enough to buy it; they asked me to ignore their ‘no multiple submissions’ rule and send them something else, preferably with lyrics. So I did. They immediately wrote back with: “We appreciate the second effort. So We’re going to hold your story, ” Ganymede Riots”. But you might not have a final decision from us until at least late August/September after the submission deadline.” (Meaning, of course, that they wanted to see if anything better came in. And then I got a form rejection from them ON MY BIRTHDAY.)
I could have just said: “oh well, never mind then” and left the piece in a drawer; after all it was a weird flash combo of hard SF but also The Clash-based puns. BUT I had this stretch goal I was trying to reach of 150 rejections before December, and so I thought WHAT THE HELL and sent it out to three different places before sending it to The Future Fire at the end of October and LO AND BEHOLD “hard SF/The Clash Puns” is entirely their jam (“it works on so many levels!” they said, ell oh ell). The best part? The original anthology was unpaid (theoretically I would get a portion of the profits) but The Future Fire pays $10USD for flashfic which makes Ganymede Riots officially my second semi-pro sale! (It’s early days yet so no idea when it will get published, but I’ve signed a contract so I feel comfortable announcing it.)
HOORAY there’s proof that the uphill slog is worth it!
I can still hear some people saying “goodness, Victoria, that is a lot of rejections why are you celebrating that” and that’s a good question, Theoretical Reader.
I am celebrating it because of HOW MUCH MOTHERFUCKIN’ WORK IT REPRESENTS. But don’t just take my word for it because: numbers.
BEHOLD, my submission stats for 2018! (If it is still hard for you to imagine how much work this represents, imagine that these are cold-calls I’ve made or resumes I’ve sent out, each one with the requisite research done beforehand.)
SOME MF-IN’ 2018 STATS
- 163 submissions:
- 53 standard short-fiction subs (i.e. to magazines and anthologies)
- 100 query packages (50 for Ashes, 50 for Creampuffs, consisting of personalised query letter, synopsis, sample pages)
- 10 contest submissions (including PitchWars)
- Outstanding (as of posting)
- 3 fiction subs
- 1 story not currently on submission
- 1 outstanding query for Ashes
- 3 outstanding queries for Creampuffs
- Ghost rejections (where the agent/editor specified a timeframe for acceptance without bothering to actually send a reply i.e. “if you don’t hear from us in X weeks, consider it a no”)
- Ashes: 21 ghosted responses (42% ghost rate)
- Creampuffs: 15 ghosted responses (30% ghost rate)
- short fiction: 2 (both involved magazines folding)
- Responses Before Acceptances
- Music of the Spheres: 11 rejections (since August 2011);
- Nights Over Ganymede: 7 rejections (all this year)
- Still Life: 4 rejections (ditto)
- Ganymede Riots: 4 rejections (ditto)
- Average number of rejections before acceptances (factoring in stories retired this year/still on sub): 7.6
- 2 stories have been accepted but not yet published or even have dates set
- 1 story is unpaid but with a theoretical share of the profits (so: unpaid; let’s be realistic here.)
- 2 stories have been semi-pro rates (“periodical markets that pay US 3¢/word to US 5.99¢/word for works of all lengths”)
- 1 story was reviewed (Still Life) which is also my first personal/non-anthology review
So you can see why I am feeling proud of myself.
And so wraps up another Gregorian year of *Insert Subplot Here. In January I’ll be back to share my 2019 Year Goal and my monthly goals and maybe some festive adventures (!). 2018 has been a garbage fire in so many ways but it’s almost over and you survived it, so go treat yourself!