A Good Rejection

In my last post, I mentioned that August was not the greatest month in terms of my writing. Well, since then, I received three more rejections, bringing my grand total for August up to 11. This is a case where turning it up to 11 is not a good thing.

Yes, rejections sting. No matter how many times you get published, that email saying “we’re going to pass” or that red “Declined” next to your submission in Submittable is always painful.

Yet, believe it or not, there was one rejection I received last month that later turned into an acceptance. And no, it wasn’t a case of an editor changing his or her mind or the result of some kind of black magic.

I simply submitted some poems to a new journal, which we’ll call Journal A. This new pub specializes in poetry that is weird and unusual. At the time, Journal A only had one poem posted, so they didn’t have many examples of what they were looking for. Even though I was unsure whether my poems were a good fit for them, I decided to give it a shot anyway.

In a little over an hour, I received an email from the editors. It was one of these “we enjoyed the poems but they’re not for us” type of emails. (I’m not going to post the whole letter because there are parts of it that may give away the publication.) I’ve received these before, but this one had something different:

We highly recommend sending your poems to [Journal B] they publish poems that are brilliantly executed but slightly off normal, We are confident they would find a place for your excellent poems.

Of course, I sent my poems to Journal B right away. Three hours and twelve minutes later, they accepted one of my poems, which will be published in November.

Now, for those new to submitting work for publication, this doesn’t happen too often. Editors may wish you the best of luck in trying to find another home for your story or poem, but they usually don’t recommend which pub you should try next. In fact, this was my first time I had received such an email, and it may be the last.

Still, this is a good reminder that sometimes we get rejected not because our work is bad but because it may not fit a publication’s aesthetic. And we shouldn’t give up on a piece (at least not right away) if it gets rejected a few times. Of course, there are times when you’ll have to revisit a piece and determine whether it needs to be revised, but if you feel the piece is the best it could be, stick with it.

When it eventually gets accepted and you want to celebrate, then you can turn it up to 11.

Until next time,