Some readers of this blog may recall that, months and months ago, I related my determination to once again begin submitting stories for traditional publication, with an eye toward becoming one of that new breed of authors, the hybrid (trad and self-published). Partly, this is because SFWA membership is an item on my bucket list (and, yeah, I know SFWA will soon start accepting self-published authors, but I don’t meet the criteria for that option, either). While I was struggling with (or, depending on your point of view, despairing over) Princess of Fire, I didn’t feel as if I had the energy to launch this new effort. Now that I’m on the second draft, though, I feel I’m a little more at liberty to crank this puppy up and get it going.
So thinking, this past week I submitted three short pieces to an online venue (and, oh, brother, is that change from the days when the US Postal Service and I were on a first-name basis). I thought the pieces were pretty strong, although I admit that I am still shaky about my short, short fiction. These were basically my first over-the-transom submissions in perhaps ten years.
All three were rejected in less than forty-eight hours (another night-and-day change from the old days). Three neat little emails saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Rejections. Man, I’d kinda forgotten how much those little suckers sting. Makes a flu shot feel like a hickey.
Sigh. I’m okay. This is far, far from my first stroll down Rejection Lane. In fact, it’s more like numbers 102, 103 and 104, or thereabouts. I can’t be entirely accurate about those numbers, unfortunately– complete records are unavailable, partly because I didn’t keep some of my earliest rejections (the first of which date back to the 1970’s), and partly because some of my ‘rejections’ (particularly from agents) consist of resounding silences. The point is, however, that I will be all right.
And more than all right. I learned a long time ago how to take a rejection, shake it off (sometimes with the assistance of dark chocolate), and move on. This is, in fact, just the first step in what I anticipate will be a long campaign. And as someone once told me, persistence is one of the most important habits a writer can have. Too many novices get a rejection and wither away. If you can paper a wall with rejection slips and still keep going, you will succeed at some point. Or, to put it another way, if you quit, you will never know whether that next story would have hit the jackpot.
So, onward. I plan to review the SFWA qualifying markets list and pick another outlet for the stories. And longer stories are ready to go on the assembly line. I will keep everyone posted.