Yesterday I was informed that my short story “Fences” was being accepted for publication in Referential Magazine, which made me super excited. Of course, if you’re trying to get something published any type of acceptance is exciting. This one in particular was exceptionally exciting because it was a piece I really enjoyed. Not that I don’t enjoy everything I write, but there will always be those few pieces that I like more than others.
As a writer, one of the toughest things is sending out pieces for publication. Especially if it’s a piece you really like and are proud of because if a rejection letter comes back it’s one of the most devastating things.
There are several people I know who are writers, but who won’t send out their work because they fear rejection. They’d prefer for their work to be accepted, and do not want to risk being rejected. But honestly, rejection isn’t that big of a deal. Sure, it sucks. I know. I’ve had a few pieces rejected before. But it’s not the end of the world.
Here are 3 tips I like to follow that I’ve gathered over the years:
1) EDIT: Before sending out a piece, make sure you edit it. I usually write the piece, and then put it away until the next day where I read it over. Sometimes I’ll have a friend read it over after my first look over and get their opinion. Then I’ll edit it again. Then let it sit for a day or two. Then edit again. And on and on until I can’t stand to look at it anymore. The only time I don’t do this is when I like the piece the way it is. If after my first edit I’m really satisfied with it and feel that anything changed will only mess it up, I don’t touch it and just send it out. This is a pretty big risk, and the entire process is tedious, but it’s helpful. There will always be something to edit, even after it’s published.
2) FIND THE RIGHT PUBLICATION: There are thousands of publications out in the world. Don’t send your piece to the first one you find. Getting something published does include research. If you find a publication you really want to send something to, read over their submissions. Some places will put what they are looking for (whether it’s prose, poetry, genre fiction, nonfiction, etc.). If they seem pretty vague on what they want go through their archives and look at previously published works. Now with a lot of online journals its easy to do it because everything is published online, but there are still some print versions that you need to buy in order to look at. And if you really want to get published at one of these places I say go for it. Buy a publication and read through it. It will only help you in the end.
3) TRY AGAIN: If in the end you still get rejected, it really isn’t the end of the world. You may feel upset, and you may want to cry, so do it. Everyone needs their moping period. And you may not. Everyone is different when it comes to rejection. For example, I don’t mope. If they don’t want my piece then oh well. Someone will. So I let the piece sit for a day, then read it through see if there is anything I might want to change, I search for a new publication and send it out again. This process may take longer for some people than others. You may not want to look at the piece for a while, and that’s fine too. You’ll go back to it eventually, and hopefully with a clearer mind.
Here are two links that I know of that have an archive of publications as well as other cool gadgets to help any writer: