Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

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Davian Aw
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Davian Aw » Tue May 30, 2017 6:25 pm

This one almost broke my heart; from Liminal:

"The story is excellent, but it's not quite right for us. Thanks for the read -- I loved the emotional depth and complexity of this piece, and the multi-layered protagonists felt rounded and real."

wotf017

This story has been getting a lot of similar rejections where editors say they loved it, but no. wotf014

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue May 30, 2017 8:53 pm

Davian Aw wrote:This one almost broke my heart; from Liminal:

"The story is excellent, but it's not quite right for us. Thanks for the read -- I loved the emotional depth and complexity of this piece, and the multi-layered protagonists felt rounded and real."

wotf017

This story has been getting a lot of similar rejections where editors say they loved it, but no. wotf014


wotf030 I get it, Davian. Those are always rough. wotf005
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Davian Aw
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Davian Aw » Tue May 30, 2017 11:20 pm

aww, thanks. XD

At least when rejections tell me about the things they didn't like, I have something to work on before resubmitting. But with these, there's nothing to go on. This and another story keep getting really close - including being shortlisted two or three times - so I know they're good, but they're proving near-impossible to sell.

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby amoskalik » Wed May 31, 2017 6:45 am

Davian Aw wrote:aww, thanks. XD

At least when rejections tell me about the things they didn't like, I have something to work on before resubmitting. But with these, there's nothing to go on. This and another story keep getting really close - including being shortlisted two or three times - so I know they're good, but they're proving near-impossible to sell.


Just keep sending it out until it sells. When you get rejections like that it just means you haven't found the right market at the right time. In fact the more places you send a quality story like that before it sells, the better, because you are making a good impression in multiple markets and therefore they are more likely to take a closer look at your next offering.
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Bartleby
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Bartleby » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:55 am

Davian Aw wrote:This one almost broke my heart; from Liminal:

"The story is excellent, but it's not quite right for us. Thanks for the read -- I loved the emotional depth and complexity of this piece, and the multi-layered protagonists felt rounded and real."

wotf017

This story has been getting a lot of similar rejections where editors say they loved it, but no. wotf014


Geez.

I half-expect someone to post a letter saying, "This is the greatest story I've ever read. You are probably the reincarnation of Shakespeare. But unfortunately this wasn't quite right for us."

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby morganb » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:18 am

I've sent several stories out to Flash Fiction Online this year. None have been accepted yet, but I've received personal feedback on two of them. In my last one, Suzanne Vincent emailed to say my story made it into the final round of reviews, wasn't selected, but if I was interested, she'd be happy to send me staff comments about the story during their discussions. I was totally THRILLED! It took about a week for her to gather them together, edit them for anonymity, etc. and get them over to me. I'll use them to revise the story before sending it on to the next market, but not until AFTER I've turned in my WOTF story this week! lol


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RSchibler
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby RSchibler » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:10 am

morganb wrote:I've sent several stories out to Flash Fiction Online this year. None have been accepted yet, but I've received personal feedback on two of them. In my last one, Suzanne Vincent emailed to say my story made it into the final round of reviews, wasn't selected, but if I was interested, she'd be happy to send me staff comments about the story during their discussions. I was totally THRILLED! It took about a week for her to gather them together, edit them for anonymity, etc. and get them over to me. I'll use them to revise the story before sending it on to the next market, but not until AFTER I've turned in my WOTF story this week! lol


~Morgan


I had the same experience with FFO and was just delighted.
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:54 am

For those of you getting final rounds, "so close!", etc., this Twitter thread from Apex's Lesley Connor is important reading.

Once you're at that level, it's not a lack of skill or competence; it's just taste and magazine style. You are good enough: the magazines aren't big enough. You're almost there, so keep pushing.
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morganb
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby morganb » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:11 am

MattDovey wrote:For those of you getting final rounds, "so close!", etc., this Twitter thread from Apex's Lesley Connor is important reading.

Once you're at that level, it's not a lack of skill or competence; it's just taste and magazine style. You are good enough: the magazines aren't big enough. You're almost there, so keep pushing.


That was a good read, Matt. Thanks for posting. "Three strikes and you're out" seems like a pretty lame attitude for any writer to have. I mean, why would anyone limit himself like that? Anyone who understands the markets should understand how competitive they are -- tons of submissions with very limited space for the issues. That's just basic supply and demand.

I was so ecstatic when I started getting personal rejections and notes from the editors and slush readers, especially when they started offering specific advice on how to strengthen my stories. And that little comment at the end that says, "Please keep sending us your stories." Priceless encouragement right there.

If your stories keep showing up during final reviews again and again, an editor's going to look at them and say, "This guy's consistently good enough and he's got more than one story in him. Let's publish him." At least, in my own mind that's how it's going to happen; I'm not published anywhere yet. lol


~Morgan
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MattDovey
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby MattDovey » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:23 am

morganb wrote:If your stories keep showing up during final reviews again and again, an editor's going to look at them and say, "This guy's consistently good enough and he's got more than one story in him. Let's publish him." At least, in my own mind that's how it's going to happen; I'm not published anywhere yet. lol


I'm going to disagree here, but with good reason. Editors will never, ever publish you out of pity: they will only publish you when the story is good enough and right for them. And the reason it's important I disagree is that one day soon the brain weasels will start to whisper "they only published you because they felt sorry for you... you're not really good enough..." and these are VICIOUS LIES, as with all brain weasel whisperings. Once you're published, it's because that story was so awesome they couldn't let it go, and they were compelled to give you money for the right to be the ones to show it off to the world. Ain't no pity involved.

But if your stories keep showing up during final reviews again and again, you're increasing your odds that one of them will be the right story for a market. Once you're writing at a pro-level (which it sounds like you are), submitting becomes a lottery--have they just accepted something similar or not*? Has it caught them in the right mood? Has it just been squeezed out by a sudden influx of incredible stories?--and all you can do is keep entering, over and over. Keep writing stories, because every one of them is a ticket.

*funny story: I once had two rejections in a row from Shimmer (for two different stories, obvs) that said "Yeah, we liked it, but we're about to publish/just published this other similar story..." and pointed at the same story both times. Like, goddamn. But in happier news, author of said story is a friend and particularly awesome, so it's hard to feel a grudge. And in even happier news, one of the said rejected stories just got accepted at Arsenika, so y'know. Keep entering that lottery :)
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Jeremyteg
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Jeremyteg » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:13 pm

MattDovey wrote:
I'm going to disagree here, but with good reason. Editors will never, ever publish you out of pity: they will only publish you when the story is good enough and right for them. And the reason it's important I disagree is that one day soon the brain weasels will start to whisper "they only published you because they felt sorry for you... you're not really good enough..." and these are VICIOUS LIES, as with all brain weasel whisperings. Once you're published, it's because that story was so awesome they couldn't let it go, and they were compelled to give you money for the right to be the ones to show it off to the world. Ain't no pity involved.


I'd like to second Matt on this. Editors don't buy stuff that they don't love. They get a heaping pile of submissions, especially at the major magazines, and they only--ONLY--publish the very best and most fitting. I have let myself indulge in "you're not really good enough" brain weaselery, and it is entirely destructive to the creative process. If you're getting close-but-no-cigar personal rejections, that's awesome, and means that your story is probably good enough, but hasn't found the right editor yet. When it does finally sell, it will be because the story aligned with an editor's taste at just the right time and in just the right way.

Moral of the story: submit, submit, submit!

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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby RSchibler » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:23 am

Got a personal rejection from F&SF last night. That’s pretty delightful, for me. I got a form rejection from them a few months ago on a different story. I still want that first sale, of course, but like you guys said, this means I’m on the right track. Just keep writing, finishing, and submitting!
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby morganb » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:34 am

RSchibler wrote:Got a personal rejection from F&SF last night. That’s pretty delightful, for me. I got a form rejection from them a few months ago on a different story. I still want that first sale, of course, but like you guys said, this means I’m on the right track. Just keep writing, finishing, and submitting!


That's fantastic! They are such a hard nut to crack, so the fact that Charlie gave you a personal rejection is really saying something.


~Morgan
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Infrequent posts about this whole writing experience...http://mbroadhead.blogspot.com/

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RSchibler
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby RSchibler » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:15 am

Thank you! It took a lot of explaining for my husband to understand why I was so excited about this rejection! I’m trying to work on the story based on the feedback I got, and will submit elsewhere.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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Chris533
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Chris533 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:00 am

RSchibler wrote:Got a personal rejection from F&SF last night. That’s pretty delightful, for me. I got a form rejection from them a few months ago on a different story. I still want that first sale, of course, but like you guys said, this means I’m on the right track. Just keep writing, finishing, and submitting!


That's awesome. I got a personal rejection from them a couple years ago - for the story I got an HM in with WOTF. After the HM I started rewriting it - but then two other great story ideas have pushed it to the back burner - but someday I'll get to it! I figure I'm only getting better at this writing thing, so maybe I'll be good enough to salvage it eventually (I love the concept - and believe deeply in the underlying message - but it's a hard story to tell well)
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby reigheena » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:50 pm

Just met my goal of 25 rejections for the year. Still have 4 outstanding, and I'll probably send this one back out once I figure out the next place its going.
Out of that I got 6 personals, which is more than last year! Yay progress!
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:39 am

A certain writing saga of mine has been going on so long I can't remember what thread it was in. You may recall I mentioned decling publication of a story that had been, in my view, excessively re-written by a pro editor?

Well the editor asked me to take another shot at it myself, which I did, incorporating most of the editorial suggestions but in my own words, turning it into a cohesive whole that was probably better than we'd started with. I was pleased with it.

After lengthy to and fro, the editor said a contract would be on its way when one more person had looked at the story. After more delay I received another rewritten version, excising a lot of what I like to think of as my style and substituting expressions I'd never use. This story was apparently now ready.

But it wasn't. In fact it would have embarrassed me. So I replied 'Forget it,' more or less. Thanks but no thanks. Again.

In the final analysis I am the custodian of my own reputation, though I'm quite aware my literary profile is so low that to call it 'my reputation' is more than somewhat vainglorious. But I like to think of myself as a wordsmith, a craftsman, writing beautiful prose, creating art. My work needs editing, not ghost writing.

Of course I enjoy the luxury of not needing the money. Therefore I'm not sure whether I'd recommend similar behaviour to somone who did. But who knows? Maybe one of you, one day, will benefit from the stubbornness of an old fool.

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:58 am

Ishmael wrote:In the final analysis I am the custodian of my own reputation, though I'm quite aware my literary profile is so low that to call it 'my reputation' is more than somewhat vainglorious. But I like to think of myself as a wordsmith, a craftsman, writing beautiful prose, creating art. My work needs editing, not ghost writing.

Of course I enjoy the luxury of not needing the money. Therefore I'm not sure whether I'd recommend similar behaviour to somone who did. But who knows? Maybe one of you, one day, will benefit from the stubbornness of an old fool.


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Ishmael
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Ishmael » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:22 am

Thanks, Martin. That was pretty much my thinking.

I have to say that I've encountered a huge variety of editorial philosophies and degrees of intervention, even in my short career. The first time I encountered a strongly interventionist editor I was quite taken aback. "No, no," I said, "you've not understood the story at all." In the end I agreed to more changes than I was really happy with just because I was so desperate to be published.

The thing was, nobody had given me any idea of what to expect. I wonder if a thread discussing editorial licence would be useful, or whether they're all so different that no guidance is really possible?
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:09 am

Good on you, Ishmael. wotf007 wotf009 Getting published isn't worth it if the story gets ruined in the process.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:19 am

Ishmael wrote:The thing was, nobody had given me any idea of what to expect. I wonder if a thread discussing editorial licence would be useful, or whether they're all so different that no guidance is really possible?


Or maybe two. I'm launching them now.
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
NNiNN


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