7 TANIA CASSELLE
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Please don’t take rejection personally—it’s not about YOU. I your story is reused, there may be a hundred explanations. Perhaps this editor just accepted a story with a similar theme;maybe she needs a very short work to complete the next issue so she can’t take your 8,000-word piece; or perhaps she has a phobia about cats and your story is jam-packed with cats.You could drive yoursel crazy trying to fgure it out. Editors reject a lot o perectly goodstories. Tey might know your story is well craed, but it’s simply not to their taste. Or they like it a lot, but they have to cull submissions to a small proportion to publish, so somebody has to get a rejection. It’s all part and parcel o the creative lie, and any writer submittingwork or publication can wear his or her letters o rejection like badges o honor. So pat your-sel on the back or every rejection. It means you put your work out there; you are living awriter’s lie. Ten eat ice cream. Ten send to the next place on your list.
IT’S A NUMBERS GAME
It’s important to know that success in publishing is a numbers game. Publishers receive armore submissions than they can publish, and it’s normal or the majority to be rejected, in-cluding work rom stunningly accomplished writers. So you’re in good company. However,to maximize your chances, you must keep a steady ow o work in the mail. Tis doesn’tmean ooding every editor in this book. O course you’ll research suitable markets and en-sure your manuscript or query is polished to its shiny best beore letting it y. But there aremany publishers to submit to, and while one editor says no, another editor out there may love your work. Your job is to fnd that editor.I you’ve ever participated in a writing workshop, you’ve seen the ba ingly diverse re-sponses given to the same story, right? Some reviewers want a dierent ending to a story that another reviewer gets all lit up and glowy about. Editors are only human, too (that’stheir excuse, anyway), so you need to fnd the lit-up and glowy ones. Tat’s where marketresearch comes in, plus perseverance, and a sprinkling o luck . . . remembering that every rejection brings you one step closer to the person who’ll really “get” your work. I can guar-antee one thing: I it’s not on an editor’s desk, it doesn’t stand a chance. Tey aren’t going tocome knocking at your door asking i you have a masterpiece hidden away somewhere.
95 TIMES LUCKY
Clifford Garstang, author of the linked story collection
In an Uncharted Country
(Press 53,2009) and editor of
magazine, with ﬁction credits including
Baltimore Re-view, Tampa Review,
Los Angeles Review,
collected ninety-ﬁve rejections on one storybefore ﬁnding a good home. “
was one of his ﬁrst stories, and in 2003 he