Category Archives: Failure

300 REJECTIONS

BOOM! 300 REJECTIONS. Didn’t even take two years.

But enough about that. There’s good news in town.

I’m still gathering my thoughts on how best to express how I feel about the end, in some respects, of a long, hard ride. (And the start of another, no doubt.) But the news is no secret. Have yourself a look at the new page up above (the one in ALL CAPS). And of course you already know the news if you  follow me on Twitter (@courtmerrigan), or we’re buddies on Facebook. Why aren’t you following me on Twitter? Why aren’t we buddies on Facebook?

I’m going to post on my upcoming short story collection in intelligible fashion in the very near future. Along with other good news, too.

I’d just like to note here that these 300 logged rejections don’t include the rejections that flowed from my first bout of short story-itis back around 2003-2006-ish. I wasn’t keeping track of things back then. I’d guesstimate the true number is around 500. Give or take.

But whatever. 300 rejections ain’t nothing, man, if it gets you where you want to go. Neither is 500. For the last week I’ve truly, finally felt that I’m on the way.

Head on over to the Failure page to see the damage, though.

March Maudlin – Rejection tally nearing 300

297 rejections. Count ’em. Redstone Science Fiction says, “This was a well-done post-apocalyptic piece, and while it isn’t quite what we’d like, we definitely hope that you’ll submit other work in the future.  We like what you did here.”

Oh, I’ll submit again, believe you me. Meanwhile I’m stuck in the literary friend zone.

The others in the newly updated Rejection list had nothing to say their auto-reject form couldn’t say better.

Rejection update: winter is still here

 Another month, another crop of rejections, and meanwhile, the groundhog, who deigns to share his birthday with me, said winter was still coming. Indeedy.

Plots With Guns professes an admiration of my prose, but considered the story I sent them to be, among other errors, too sketchy. Noted.

Included in my postal dead-tree rejection from Michigan Quarterly Review was a nice handwritten note, indicating that there were strengths in the story, but not enough of them, in a row.

(EDIT: In fact the first page of a story, edited, did not come from MQR, but from New Letters.) Also included was the first page of the story which included some editing marks which, I regret to say, indicated a certain intolerance for complicated literary syntax. Also, I am not sure why a story that was to be rejected, was edited. But hey, at least I know it got read, right?

And all the other rejections through 2/6/12 (I’ve gone 10 days without a rejection, and received an acceptance in between – hurrah) are on the Failure page.

Ringing in the new year with a rejection-o-rama

Since its last update, I’ve been rejected an additional 14 times. Most of them have involved that same long story that The New Yorker and Paris Review liked but didn’t take. That one has been rejected 30 (yep – thirty) times so far, and is awaiting dismissal at 8 other places as we speak. When some editor finally sees fit to grab hold of this story, it’ll rate its own post on its own long strange journey.

Not going to go relive all the rejections, except to say that the turn-downs from Needle (I WILL CRACK THAT MARKET SOMEDAY, GODDAMMIT) and Shimmer and The Pedestal and Unstuck and CutBank were encouraging. Not nearly as encouraging as an acceptance, but hey.

The Failure list has been updated.

So much rejection: #s 260 – 267: Harpur's Palate, Asimov's, Beat To A Pulp, Shotgun Honey, Connotation, Apex

David Cranmer at Beat To A Pulp rejected me, twice, kindly and personally. Beat To A Pulp – along with Needle – are pulp markets I WILL CRACK.  You heard it here first, people.

Mid-American Review reports that “there were quite a few favorable comments made, supporters of your work speaking up on its finer points.” I would like to hug those supporters. I wish there more of them. Enough to get this goddamn story published.

Shotgun Honey didn’t feel the story was right, but told me to keep ’em coming. All right.

Connotation Press fiction editor Meg Tuite and I have been corresponding on a few stories – she’s already taken one; it’s just that the other wasn’t right. We’ll work on it.

Apex regrets to inform me &c.

Asimov’s appreciates, but &c.

Harpur’s Palate thanks me but &c.

So much rejection: #s 260 – 267: Harpur’s Palate, Asimov’s, Beat To A Pulp, Shotgun Honey, Connotation, Apex

David Cranmer at Beat To A Pulp rejected me, twice, kindly and personally. Beat To A Pulp – along with Needle – are pulp markets I WILL CRACK.  You heard it here first, people.

Mid-American Review reports that “there were quite a few favorable comments made, supporters of your work speaking up on its finer points.” I would like to hug those supporters. I wish there more of them. Enough to get this goddamn story published.

Shotgun Honey didn’t feel the story was right, but told me to keep ’em coming. All right.

Connotation Press fiction editor Meg Tuite and I have been corresponding on a few stories – she’s already taken one; it’s just that the other wasn’t right. We’ll work on it.

Apex regrets to inform me &c.

Asimov’s appreciates, but &c.

Harpur’s Palate thanks me but &c.

Rejections # 258 & 259

I did a rewrite for Pulp Modern but it still didn’t make the cut.  AC over there digs the dealing with other cultures but not the narrative structure.  He did invite me to send him more, though. Frustrating with a dash of hopefulness.

Hot Metal Bridge regrets &c.

Rejections #249 – 257: formology

Form rejections every one:

Clarkesworld thanks me &c.

Quarterly West appreciates &c.

Fence took 318 days to appreciate &c.

Gettysburg’s Review mailed rejection failed to arrive, but the office manager confirmed it via email.

Lightspeed will pass.

Los Angeles Review enjoyed my writing but &c.

The Journal thanks me &c.

It took Iron Horse 334 days to discover my story didn’t meet their current needs.

 

The Paris Review: so close, so close

I was looking forward to having my very own slice of dead tree upon which my Paris Review rejection would be printed.  I waited and waited but the thing never arrived.  So I emailed the editors; they had this to say:

our reply must have gotten lost in the mail, as we did send you a note back to thank you for your submission and to say that we were unable to accept it for publication but remain interested in your work and would like to see more of it.

Jesus Christ.  So close, so close.

If this story were a hand grenade, whole battalions of the enemy would be lying bleeding on the battlefield.  It has now been rejected 20 times, by every top-tier mag I can think of; meanwhile, it awaits imminent rejection at 5 more.

Negative progress.

Onwards.

Rejections #246 – 248 – A-Minor puts honesty above palhood, A Public Space pushes me to some negative progress, Fiddleblack form rejects

You’ve probably heard the old saw that you need friends to get published.  I’m here today to disprove that theory.  My pal Nicolette Wong, who often comments around here and is the new editor over at A-Minor, summarily rejected an experimental piece of mine, which I thought would be perfect for her, which I sent to her for that reason, especially after it had been rejected numerous time elsewhere.

Here’s what Nicolette had to say: “I appreciate the chance to read this piece. Unfortunately it’s not a snug fit for the zine. The story is there, but right now it’s not very sharp – it seems somewhat clogged by the writing.”

Nicolette put her aesthetic judgement above our netfriendship, and I am much appreciative.  Even if it meant another rejection on the pile.  Honesty’s the main fuel most lit mags run on.

The Literary Rejection Wiki informs me that I got a higher-tiered rejection for a piece, one that runs thusly: “Thank you for thinking of A Public Space for your writing. We aren’t the right magazine for this work, but we read it with care and interest, and we encourage you to send new work later this year.”

This is the same piece that’s been higher-tiered rejected at the New Yorker & the Boston Review and a couple others, and got a nice personal rejection from Shenandoah.  Negative progress, people.

Fiddleblack enjoyed reading my work &c.