Works of Richard Marsden

The Works of Richard Marsden. Writing and Historical European Martial Arts.

Writing Hints Blog

Rejection - Short Stories 1

Posted by rmarsden on August 18, 2010 at 6:44 PM

So, you want to be published? : Short Stories!


Today's Topic - The Big R! -

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Richard Marsden and I'm an aspiring author.


Today's topic: REJECTION! If you've ever fancied getting published by Black Library it might help to know what the market is like!


Disclaimer - I'm small-time. Professional authors have made far more money than I have at this, and have probably been at the game longer. So they trump me, take this as a beginner's thoughts!


There is a vast market out there for you to peddle fiction to and the internet makes it easier than ever. Unfortunately, that means everyone can and are writing and submitting and the competition is downright ridiculous!


This means the first thing you need to do is prepare for rejection. Of the fifty or stories I've written and submitted from March 2009 to July 2010, around twenty-five or so were accepted and of those, most had to be sent to over three publishers before being picked up. I have literally hundreds of rejections and roughly 30 acceptances (including reprints) to show for it in about a year's time of writing.


What were the reasons for being shot down over editorial land? Usually none were given, though if an editor really likes (or really feels sorry) for your work they will give personal feedback. Beneath Ceaseless Skies Magazine for instance has accepted none of my work, but have commented on all of it, giving me the chance to tweak my submission and get it accepted elsewhere. I've had some editors accept my work, only for their magazine to shut down. I've had rejections given to me after making it through a 3 round process due to issues of 'space' and not the quality of my work. I've even had editors swap mid-way through and the replacement reject my work where as the former seemed interested. It is a very arbitrary world.


However, once you understand it is a hard racket, everything gets much easier. Rejection rolls off me now and I only get angry if an editor has held my story more than the standard amount of time (3 months), and I often submit to the hardest markets to break into, partially because they reply 'NO' within two weeks! This is far superior to submitting to a weak market and waiting months for the same response.

So, if you're interested in getting published grapple in advance with the fact you will get rejected, and probably numerous times, for numerous reasons. Even the 'best' author with the 'best' story in the world might find their piece side-lined because its 4000 words and the magazine has only 3999 to spare.


I started on the topic of rejection before anything else for a reason. To mentally prepare you for Thunderdome. I hope my advice helps!


Next Topic = Elements of a short story and length.

Categories: Short Story Advice

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