Last night, for the first time ever, I submitted a short story to a printed magazine for consideration.
I fully expect to be rejected.
Why? Well, it’s not because I think the story sucks. I actually like the story quite a bit (after all, I wrote it, and I selected it for this auspicious first). It’s because all I hear is how authors compile huge stacks of rejections, even if they’ve published many times before. And I haven’t.
Case in point: this blog post by author Joe Bunting, “You Will Be Rejected,” with over 50 author replies confirming the truth.
Or this post by writer Chuck Wendig, “25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection.” Some blunt language in that one. Suck it up, cupcake.
But you know what? I’m fine with being rejected. This time, the next time, the next several dozen times. And I don’t mean that in a ‘no really, I’m fine, just let me cry’ sort of way. I think this is the benefit of writing after having already done other things for 20 years post-college. I’ve been rejected many times before, for many types of work. I got over it a really long time ago.
Sure, I don’t want to be rejected, but the overwhelming evidence is that it will happen and will happen a lot. So let’s discuss my odds with this first submission:
- I’m a first-time submitter to this publication.
- I’m a first-time submitter to any publication.
- I have no experience except a self-published novel.
- My self-published novel was about zombies. Let’s make no bones about that, many editors are sick to death of zombies, and even though this short story is not about zombies in any way, it may be guilty by association.
- While I have positive reviews for my past work, I cannot point to any major outlet like the New York Times or Washington Post giving me praise.
- I’m not a member of any writer’s guild.
- No one has ever heard of me.
- Let’s be honest, I’m rather short.
- I actually submitted the story, meaning they have to at least read it (I think, haha!), and I wrote a friendly cover letter.
- I mean well.
My odds look to be about one in a million.