Sunday 9 June 2024

Submissions and perseverance

On Facebook recently, Judy Birkbeck wrote "Yay! Another of my short stories has been shortlisted by the Bournemouth Writing Prize. Made my day. ... It's encouraged me to keep going. I've submitted this story 61 times! Perseverance is key."

I can't match 61, though a few of my pieces are approaching 20 rejections. I think some of my best stories have been repeatedly rejected. I send them out to the best places first, so they're going to be rejected often even if they're reasonable. And they might be bad - I may be attached to them for non-literary reasons.

I've 2 poems out that have been rejected 14 and 17 times. I'll keep trying, because sometimes perseverance works. Sam Gardiner, who won the National Poetry Competition long ago, told me that the poem had previously been rejected by many magazines.

Earlier this month I got £50 for a 250-word piece that's been rejected 15 times (mostly in a longer form). It was a competition where the pieces were read out and judged by the audience on the night, with Zoom participation.

I recently had a short story accepted at the 17th attempt. I've a story (neurodivergent female 1st-person PoV) that's been rejected 19 times. I'm about to send it out again. I'm giving up on another piece of prose that's been rejected 12 times - it's dawned on me that it's not very good though I can see why I like it.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly enough I've never kept track of my rejections and never been particularly good at tracking my submissions until recently when I created an Access database which I wish I'd done years ago when I was using them at work constantly. What I have now does the job but polished it is not. I'm not sure it would be a good thing to tote up my rejections. My heart sinks every time I get one but having lived with an editor for many years I know rejecting poems, especially decent poems, can be hard too. At least with online sites space is less of a factor but still the no thank yous come. I remember looking at the last issue of Poetry Scotland and being impressed by how they'd squeezed everything in.