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.

5 thoughts on “Ringing in the new year with a rejection-o-rama

  1. Nicolette Wong

    Good luck, man.

    There’re people who were so determined to get into A-Minor that every time I sent them a nice rejection – I only send form rejections if the story absolutely does nothing for me – they’d write back (or not) and promptly submit again. So I had to add this “Please wait one month” in the submission guidelines – which some have heeded to and others have not. I think a few of these people have read a fair bit of the magazine and decided they really liked it. The others might have read some posts and thought it was ‘cool’ and that my rejection emails were encouraging (with comments, etc.). And of course, the magazine has got ‘better’ than it used to be, in some ways.

    I have no problem with anyone trying A-Minor whenever they can/once a month coz it’s just biz. But I get cagey when a writer tells me, directly or indirectly, in their correspondences that they WILL crack my market. This writer, who’s actually good, went as far as saying that ‘it makes it all the sweeter to be published in a journal after one’s been rejected…” something like that, after I’d rejected them twice (the works were not good enough – and I gave very detailed comments on why/how because they’d put in so much efforts). This writer was some kind of submission maniac and was just being honest, but…let’s say I really cringed at the thought of hearing from them again for a while.

  2. Fiercely Yours

    I like the honesty here and checked out your failure list, which was… impressive? Do they give you any feedback ever on your pieces, do you have a revising process after a piece gets so many rejections and do you get the same rejection letter from the duplicated magazines?

    The whole process is very intriguing and I can appreciate the value of your journey. Thanks for approving Nicolette’s comment too because it was also very insightful.

  3. Court Merrigan Post author

    Hey Nicolette, we have a similar response pattern at PANK, although it goes out to nearly everyone, asking that you wait another month before replying. Very few personal rejections, though; there’s just too many. As for Needle, I hadn’t thought of my ALL CAPPED desire to get in there from the editor’s perspective, so it’s interesting to hear that side of it. It’s not a subbing vendetta, though; Needle is one of the few print magazines I actually buy and read and like damn nearly everything in every issue, so in this case, I just want to get into the firmament, myself.

    Hello Fiercely, thanks for stopping by. Nicolette’s an old friend and her comments are always welcome here. In fact, Nicolette has rejected a piece of mine at A-Minor and yet we’re still buddies. :)

    Feedback comes not very often, in terms of an editor/reader actually outlining what they didn’t like about a piece. Sometimes there is a personalized rejection, e.g., we liked this piece but it didn’t quite work for us. Which is nice to hear but not very helpful. On the other hand, it doesn’t really matter because they’re not taking the piece, so the why is sort of irrelevant, most of the time (as long as I’ve done my due diligence and am not subbing, say, a SF piece to a poetry mag). The next story is likely to be very different, read by different editors, in a different season, etc. There’s no logic to the process. You just have to stay persistent.

  4. Chris Rhatigan

    Hey Court,

    Always appreciate your honesty here, man. It’s a tough world out there for writers. I’d like to crack Needle one day too. When they reopen for subs I’ve got something to send them.


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