I've had a bad week as far as submissions go. Since last weekend I've received five rejections to short stories I've submitted. One story even got two rejections in the same weekend. To add insult to injury, I just received another rejection this morning.
What's frustrating is that for the story that was rejected twice, both were personal rejections. One publisher said he almost passed it on for further consideration. The other publisher said he almost passed it on for further consideration for the entertainment value alone. I consider that encouraging since this was intended as a humor story without any serious implications.
I find even more discouraging the experiences of a 950 word piece of dark horror I submitted. I thought I found the perfect publication for it. A week later they e-mailed me back saying they passed it onto stage two. The next week they said it was going on to stage three. I thought for sure the piece would sell, but got a personal rejection with comments from two people.
One person said she didn't understand the relationship between two of the characters. The other said he had seen five or six similar stories in the last two years. One thing I need to say about this story is it is about a man who makes a deal with the Devil to save his sick daughter. I've heard a lot of editors frown on this plot but everyone in my crit group who read this story liked it a lot.
So what, do I put a nametag on my character saying HI! MY NAME IS SATAN ? Do I change the character of the Devil to the Medicine Fairy? Or maybe I should take it on faith that if this story can almost make it to publication for one magazine, there’s another that will accept it.
Just for grins, I looked at the recent feed on Duotrope for the publishers that rejected my stories. They all had a string of sometimes twenty or more rejections before the occasional acceptance came up. I guess I should feel fortunate to have my three acceptances. The problem is, three acceptances in minor publications are not enough. I’ like the alcoholic who can’t stop at one drink. I want that forth sale, and then I’m sure I will want that fifth and so on.
I guess there’s nothing to do but try again. I already have the 950 word story submitted to yet another publication. I am scouting markets for the other. Write more stories, better stories, and hope.