My Christmas story was rejected. With a form rejection e-mail. Which can only mean one thing – I’m back in the game! (And I know that in this case the editor received almost three times the number of stories she needed to fill the anthology. So there’s that.)
The plan is the same one I had before I stopped submitting fiction for publication: submit the best pieces I can write to the best markets I can find; if they’re rejected, send them back out the same day. And I would’ve done that, except that my computer decided to glitch the heck out of the end of my week.
Thursday disappeared while I backed up everything and my own personal tech support installed a new OS, and most of Friday went to MS Office 2010 installation & the miscellaneous junk settling into a new system entails. I’d recommend to everyone to grow their own techie. Kiddo has a knack.
But back to the rejection. I’m new to the Erotic Romance genre but not to writing, subbing, and most of what comes next (no novel-length publishing credits yet). Over the years I developed a few strategies so I wouldn’t get bogged-down by rejection and I’m going to dust them off and share.
- I keep a spreadsheet of all submissions, and another for deadlines I’m hoping to meet. The trick with the submission spreadsheet is the column at the far right. It’s so far over there that I have to scroll to see it, and it lists more markets where the story could fit. It’s especially helpful to do this before the first submission of a piece, when optimism is at its peak. Right now the most I have listed is four, but as I get to know the market better I’m sure that column will grow.
- Always re-submit within 24 hours, to the next market on the list. [The caveat being that nothing big pops up after #3.]
- Make a quick editing pass before re-subbing, even if the formatting doesn’t have to change. Even with spellcheck and careful editing before the initial submission, things slip by. A sentence that read just fine before may clang a little, or closing quotes could be on the wrong side of sentence punctuation. [This becomes a stopping point, though, if I have any WTF moments. Plot holes or anything more serious than overuse of a word mean the story goes back into the normal editing flow. More on that another time.]
- Don’t work on anything immediately following the receipt of a rejection. This sounds counterintuitive – of course a rejection should be inspiration to make the writing better, which is always the goal anyway. I’ve found that I don’t do well if I try to get any work done with a rejection ringing in my subconscious. Maybe it’s a confidence thing, or maybe that part of my brain is too busy trying to figure out why the piece was rejected, no way to know. Depending on the rejection the wait can be a few hours or a couple of days, but for me this wait is as important as letting a draft sit between editing passes.
- Get some exercise and eat a little chocolate. It’s been medically proven that eating chocolate chemically stimulates the human body in such a way that it feels as though it has just fallen in love. The exercise is because nobody has invented a calorie-free chocolate that’s worth eating. I’m sure increasing oxygen to the brain also has its benefits.
The Christmas story is now in the Inbox of another editor (since last night, but who’s counting?). Again, I’m optimistic about the story’s chances of finding a home, and my rectangular baking dish has been washed and stashed back in the cupboard. Now it’s time to work on something new.