Tag Archives: rejection


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.

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.

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.


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.

Rejections #180, 181, 182 – Vestal Review, Mixer, Comets & Criminals

Vestal Review says, “Good writing, well told, just not quite right for us. Sorry to say no.”  Nice of them to say so.

Mixer appreciates the chance &c.

Comets & Criminals thanks me but unfortunately &c.

Rejections #177, 178, 179 – TriQuarterly, Clarkesworld, Shotgun Honey

Some day.  All these arrived in my inbox today (and there’s still a good two and a half hours of day to go):

Clarkesworld thanks me but the story isn’t quite &c.

TriQuarterly thanks me, but the story doesn’t &c.

Shotgun Honey thanks me for taking the time but &c.

Rejections #173, 174, 175, 176 – Weird Tales, Flashquake, The Reprint, Apex

The rejection from The Reprint felt a little weird because, as the mag name suggests, the story I sent in has been previously published.  So, you know, it’s already gone through the approval process.  Felt like it ought to be rubber-stamped.  Obviously this is not the case; different editors, different magazines, &c &c &c.  Just goes to show you arbitrary the whole publication process really is.

Flashquake thought my piece would work better as part of a novella or even a novel.  Which is good in one sense because that’s just what it is – an excerpt from a novel manuscript.  What it shows is that I didn’t strip it down enough to be a stand-alone piece in its own right.  So the critique is appreciated.

Weird Tales thanks me but unfortunately will have to pass &c.

My story does not currently meet the needs of Apex.



Rejection #169 – Fantasy

Fantasy thanks me, but the piece didn’t quite work.

Someday I’ll crack that place.

Props to editor John Joseph Adams, though; he runs Fantasy and Lightspeed, and plows through subs at fantastic speed.  Takes 48 hours or less to hear back from him.  As compared to a few mags which as yet shall go unnamed that have had pieces of mine for 200+ days.

Rejections #153 & 154 – Allegory and Post Road

Got a nice personal note from the assistant editor at Allegory, J.E. Taylor.  He felt it was a good story overall, but too much telling, not enough showing.

Post Road appreciates the opportunity &tc, but overall the submission was not a right fit.