A few weeks ago I submitted a story to a super impressive magazine. I knew the guest editor CC Finlay personally, which is how I heard about his call for submissions. It was only a two week window, but he received over seven hundred submissions. (WOW!)
Modus operandi from the author's side of the fence, we submit a story to an editor, we wait anywhere from 48 hours to 48 weeks before we hear back. Then, one day, when we're least expecting it, we get an email.
Goes something like this:
Thank you for your submission to Super Impressive Magazine. I'm afraid your story is not suitable to our needs at this time, alas.
Doesn't say much, does it?
Authors dream that editors would give a bit more info as to why the story was rejected. Was it simply not thematically suitable to the je ne sais quois vibe of that issue, or did the story completely suck?
Thus, is born the fine art of Rejectomancy.
When you've collected a few hundreds or thousands of rejections, sometimes you imagine patterns in their replies that might hint at why the story was rejected.
Then CC Finlay posted Nectar for Rejectomancers. It's like handing us a personal grimoire.
I love how he shared his experiences as an editor. We don't get to hear about what happens on the other side of the fence too often, especially not in this much detail.
It was good for me. I've been getting a little frustrated lately with all the rejections I've been getting on stories of mine, stories I and various editors think are publishable. (How do I know this? Basic Rejectomancy.)
Editors rarely send back personal notes on stories. They simply don't have the time (especially if they're getting over seven hundred stories in a two-week period). So when they do, it's a big deal.
Also, when they say, "We loved this story," that's kind of hard to mis-interpret. I especially like when they couple it with "Please send more." They wouldn't ask if they didn't think I could write publishable stuff.
It was good to hear what CC Finlay thought about all his submissions. He even included what his rejections emails mean. Much appreciated.
Sometimes the odds do get you down. One often forgets just how long the odds are. CC Finlay listed the stats in his post. He had so many good stories, he had to be Very Selective. Extremely Selective. He even had one story that it broke his heart to turn down. (I want to read that story, whose rejection broke two hearts.)
So, from seven hundred-odd stories, he probably selected, maybe ten-ish? So, 0.01% got sold.
I offer my most sincere congratulations to those dozen-odd authors who were lucky enough to hit this editor at the right time, in the right way, with their i's dotted proper and their eyes crossed right and the stars in auspcious alignment, and the absolutely bestest written story evahr! I wish I was in your ranks.
Ah well. There's still dozens of other magazines out there. Maybe some day I'll get my chance.
Her Grace is wondering how to improve the odds in her favour.