Handling Rejection & Acceptance Letters: Part 2

Getting an acceptance letter for a short story is rare. I wish it happened as often as getting a rejection slip, but that’s just life.

It’s especially exciting when the story that gets accepted is the story you least expect to sell. That’s what happened a few days ago. But before we get into that, we need to look to the past.

Let’s rewind to 2, almost 3 years ago. It was summer. On a hot July day, I sat in front of my computer, and had a story in mind to write. I plugged away on my onscreen keyboard, typing one letter literally one at a time.

It took awhile, and I was able to finish it that day. I thought it had tons of potential. I went through it once, and everything looked crisp and clean. Sent it off to Teen Ink, to see what would happen. They rejected it, and said it had potential, but my writing needed more work.

I moped around.

Then in early 2011, I edited it again, changed the title to “Demon Stone”, and then sent it off to another magazine. I got rejected. The editor said they thought about publishing it, but changed their minds. I didn’t know what was so wrong about it. I let the story sit in my external hard drive.

Then in early January in 2012, I read the story again. I noticed all sorts of big problems with the plot, characters, details, and all sorts of other problems. I took my time, and edited it through multiple times.

I wasn’t going to send off the story until it was the best it could be. Then I did some research on what magazines accepted stories written in the fantasy subgenre of Sword & Sorcery. I sent it off to Fantasy Short Stories:The New Magazine of Fantasy.

Then it was time to wait. I only had to wait 2-3 weeks, and I was expecting like 2-3 months. When I saw the editor’s message in my email inbox, I thought either he hated my piece of writing, or he wanted it for the magazine.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was an acceptance letter. My first one ever.

One might say now that I’m going to be published, that I don’t have anything to watch out for. Wrong. I still have some things I need to do now.

  1. Keep Writing. Even though my work was accepted, it doesn’t mean I should stop writing. If anything, I need to keep writing. I know I will get more rejections, but that will only make me better. And besides, I don’t want to be forgotten in the sea of one hit wonders. I want to grow an audience.
  2. Stay Humble. I am not the best writer on the planet. There are tons of writers better than me. I have more things I have yet to learn as a writer. I am going to keep writing because I love the craft.
  3. Keep Reading. If I want to keep writing, I need to keep reading. I was inspired to be a writer, because of all the great stories I read. There are more good books I need to read yet, and get inspired by.

That concludes this series of posts. If you didn’t read Part 1, I recommend reading it. Happy writing! 🙂

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