I can’t say I was disappointed to receive my first rejection email five weeks after submission. Five weeks is pretty fast turnaround, especially considering I haven’t heard back from the other magazine about the story I submitted in November. Letting me know quickly is better, because it means I can submit elsewhere. Even if nobody pays for it, I can throw it up on my blog.
I was actually excited to get the letter. Every writer I’ve read about has at penned at least one article about receiving a rejection letter. Getting mine, I actually felt like everything’s official now. I submitted something to someone else, they read it, but ultimately my story wasn’t right for them.
That’s okay. Publications are buying the work, and they have to worry about making their money later. No matter the reason, they have to decide what they are most comfortable with selling. The reasons can be arbitrary – if my rejection email wasn’t just a form letter, I got rejected because my story didn’t fit the magazine’s theme for the month. Personally, I’d rather not get published than have my story sticking out in a bad way.
One other thing helps the rejection process for me. I’ve got my list of publications to submit to listed in ascending order of payment. Right now I’m submitting to the publications that pay less to writers. When I get to a new one on the list, that one offers more. So, if I get accepted later, I would have been holding out for a better offer.
Even if nobody takes my story, I will be fine. I’ve got other places to put it. It will find a home somewhere, in a place where others can hopefully enjoy it.