Got a rejection yesterday. The story was called Lovestory, and I have mixed feelings about it. For one, it’s very much a straight horror story and it was originally titled The Beast, but I started feeling sympathy for the foil. Watch how much abuse you heap on your villains, they may garner your own sympathy. I will move it down my submission list and send it off again. Someone out there wants to love it.
The rejection was nice. It was not an auto rejection, which is always a good thing. There are tiers to e-rejections (and paper rejections, but that is a story for another day). The auto rejection is standard. They suck. They often come when the slush wrangler chokes down two pages of your story and then hits send or enjoys your story but has fifty more to read before lunch; problem with auto rejection is: you will never know. I get six auto rejects for every one non-auto rejection. The non-auto rejection is still just a rejection, but will also do things like use your name in the body and give and encouraging word (could be a complex auto, but if it is, it works). My rejection from Black Matrix Publishing yesterday was this type. And it went as follows:
Andrew, Close, but not quite. Sorry, it's a no to this one, but try again with something else. Guy Kenyon Editor/Black Matrix
So, looking at it right now this looks more auto reject than I thought, but maybe not. I shot them something else more in the science fiction field. I encourage you all to try this venue. They are an upstart, but having just gotten going the slush piles are small, so try try try.
The last type of rejection notice, and the one you most want to see, is the feedback rejection. This is a rejection where the Editor(s) like your story and want give you the benefit of their expertise by sharing the notes they generated upon reading it. I get one of these about one in twenty. Some magazines give these exclusively and they are generated by a reader-based reviewer process. Australian mag, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine is one such outlet. These can be handy ways of generating free comments on your work, but you don’t know anything about who is commenting. An editor will have a record of their taste by what gets published. It’s an issue.
Well now, here we go. The most important resource you will find for shopping your work, and I don’t just mean genre work, any work. Friends, welcome to Duotrope’s Digest! Duotrope provides excellent searches and customizable lists with full links to paying markets. More importantly these links are rarely out of date. If Duotrope says the market isn’t taking submissions, it isn’t. There are other helpful bits on the site as well. You will find breakdowns of how long the response times are, the rejection vs. the acceptance rate and the no-response stats. These are based on submitters responding so the accuracy is what it is, but I encourage you all to respond with your own experiences.
For many of us who began our writing prior to internet proliferation the resource that was the ‘go-to’ was the Writer’s Market. This tome was huge and cumbersome. It was also very often out of date. The best thing to do was to keep subscriptions to the markets you planned on submitting to, or at least buy the latest issue. Duotrope, and keeping a good list of outlets you submit to and like, make that dictionary sized epistle completely out of date.
Next time on The Science of Fiction, E-submissions and simultaneous submissions. Also, my thoughts on the Big Three.