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All Things Rejection! (1 Viewer)

luckyscars

WF Veterans
I encourage either prolific submitting or highly targeted submitting. Editors have taste, vision. They are artists, just like us, and their mag is their artistic product. Even if what you have is really good, it often isn't going to fit into their vision of what the magazine is supposed to be. I'm more of a prolific submitter. It's worked decently for me. My sister does targeted submitting. Reading a mag, figuring out whether she likes it, whether or not the editors have similar tastes/vision to her own and then submitting. I prefer scatter-shot submitting because I've yet to find a magazine besides Strange Horizons that fits inside my own tastes. Unfortunately, Strange Horizons are very liberal, and I'm not. And the more experimental my writing (aka, the closer it gets to what SH publishes), the less ​liberal it becomes.

I discourage highly-targeted submission. Not because it's a bad idea, but because it's time consuming, potentially costs money, and ultimately rests on trying to intuit editors, which is something I don't actually think most writers are very good at. Looking at the kind of material a magazine has targeted in the past can be helpful, but editors can be fickle and their tastes may evolve over time and, ultimately, if they are after something 'different' then all that research may actually work against you. Additionally, I do not believe that targeted research is more efficient in terms of time or more likely to yield success than simply submitting to everybody as expeditiously as possible. But I don't know. How many stories has your sister published, out of curiosity?

Also, what do you mean about Strange Horizons being liberal? What does 'liberal' mean in this context? It's such an abused term these days.
 

BornForBurning

Senior Member
Also, what do you mean about Strange Horizons being liberal?
Yeah, I meant generally left-wing (in the American sense) with a bent towards CRT / neo-Marxism. Not necessarily ideologically Liberal, though they are related. Yes, I know I am using a colloquialism. I figure most people here are probably familiar enough with SH's content to contextualize what I meant by 'liberal.' But I appreciate the request for clarity.

I think my sister has published 3 - 4 short stories. But she writes significantly less short fiction than I do, so the percentage is more significant. From my perspective, it seems to work. But she's also not submitting to one publisher. She submits to about five per story. In comparison, I probably submit to twelve, on average.
 
It makes me wonder what kind of story one has to submit to be rejected on the basis of "critical race theory."

Here's a possibility (mere speculation, based on my reading of a few CRT-based writing blogs and conversations with people based in the worldview): "We Who Died in Glory," which I posted in the Workshop and I know you read. First count against it is that American patriotism figures in the story, for the most part "unexamined." That's not to say that neo-Marxism inherently excludes American patriotism, but there's often an ideological clash in our current context because of the colonialism question. Second count against it is the Christian God is presented as the true God. This is often seen, from a CRT perspective, as imposing "western" or "white" religion on everyone. Now, I STRONGLY disagree with this, as Christianity is neither "white" nor "western," BUT that can be the perspective the CRT worldview takes. Third count (may not be noticeable, but I thought of it) is the MC is suggested to be Ojibwe by his last name, and I am a white author -- I've noticed that some people deeply entrenched in CRT are highly suspicious of non-ownvoices Native American characters. Now again, this is all speculation. I am not thinking of any specific mags, just speaking from my understanding of the CRT worldview. Because it IS an at least embryonic ideology, and not just a way of talking about race.

One thing that isn't speculation: magazines like Strange Horizons prioritize stories with LGBTQ+ characters. Of course, they're not going to reject a story for not having them, but like any magazine, they have their priorities. And those priorities are ideologically motivated (of course). And there's nothing wrong with that, inherently. If I were an editor of a literary magazine, I would also have ideologically motivated priorities. But thinking that it doesn't influence acceptance/rejection would be silly. Of course it does. Just recently in this thread we had an example of a magazine that rejected a story largely because they disagreed with the author's perspective on war.

ETA: Do correct me where I am incorrect in my assessment. I am limited by my experience.
 
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Monaque

Senior Member
...One thing that isn't speculation: magazines like Strange Horizons prioritize stories with LGBTQ+ characters. Of course, they're not going to reject a story for not having them, but like any magazine, they have their priorities. And those priorities are ideologically motivated (of course). And there's nothing wrong with that, inherently. If I were an editor of a literary magazine, I would also have ideologically motivated priorities. But thinking that it doesn't influence acceptance/rejection would be silly. Of course it does. Just recently in this thread we had an example of a magazine that rejected a story largely because they disagreed with the author's perspective on war.

Now that is interesting, never got that vibe when I was reading up on their guidelines, what I can remember of it. Is this something that happens a lot then, magazines prioritizing according to their particular perspectives?
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Life’s too short to get entangled on that wire.

Sure, given half an hour on Twitter, one might truly believe only gay, and female-identifying, and between the ages of 14 and 12 (sic), limbless, cancer-riddled Antarctic tribespeople’s domesticated pets ever even got a single haiku published online et cetera...

..anyway, enough of my scene.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Just received a rejection email this morning, and found a silver lining in it. The publisher stated that after careful and lengthy deliberations
(over a span of the last two weeks), they ultimately decided to not to purchase my story. This leads me to believe that said story might be
better than I thought it was, as this publisher accepts or rejects by committee.

A rejection such as this where you can read between the lines is most preferable. It didn't leave me with a sense of loss, but rather has
made me think about said story and give me hope that it will be picked up and published by someone out there.

-JJB
 

Monaque

Senior Member
Just received a rejection email this morning, and found a silver lining in it. The publisher stated that after careful and lengthy deliberations
(over a span of the last two weeks), they ultimately decided to not to purchase my story. This leads me to believe that said story might be
better than I thought it was, as this publisher accepts or rejects by committee.

A rejection such as this where you can read between the lines is most preferable. It didn't leave me with a sense of loss, but rather has
made me think about said story and give me hope that it will be picked up and published by someone out there.

-JJB

At least it does give you a little something to work with.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
A rejection such as this where you can read between the lines is most preferable. It didn't leave me with a sense of loss, but rather has made me think about said story and give me hope that it will be picked up and published by someone out there.

That's a great type of rejection. They almost purchased your story. You can never know exactly why it was almost purchased. About all you can know is that the story is good (perceived as such by you and by this committee) and that others will likely want to publish it.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Whenever I get another inauthentic form rejection, that's an excuse to write "REJECTION" in my notebook in huge letters. So that's satisfying.
 

Tiamat

Patron
Whenever I get another inauthentic form rejection, that's an excuse to write "REJECTION" in my notebook in huge letters. So that's satisfying.
I track my subs in an Excel file, and I have a conditional formatting rule set up that turns the word "Reject" bright red with a dull, darker red background. It's really heartening to see a mostly-unbroken column of that in my file. :lol:
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
I actually use "DECLINED" instead of "REJECTED", when keeping track of my submissions.

I find the D word a bit gentler on my psyche than the R word. Lol. :distracted:
 

Tiamat

Patron
I decided to pay the fee to get feedback upon rejection from Mud Season Review. For the low, low price of $35, you're guaranteed at least two pages of honest feedback from the editors. It's for a story that's been rejected a number of times, so call it morbid curiosity. I actually found it rather helpful though. I wouldn't recommend doing it for every piece, but if you have a story that you feel is a solid piece, but you can't seem to find a home for it, I think the level of feedback I got from professionals in the industry was worth the $35 I paid for it.
 

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