Rejection letters are never fun to get. That said, you shouldn’t roll over and cry yourself to sleep because your latest short story hasn’t been received well by any of the journals you sent it to.
You shouldn’t feel bad about rejection letters, and here’s why:
Everyone gets them.
No one gets an acceptance letter the first submission out of the gate. A fellow writer mentioned that she tries to submit at least 1,000 times a year. Why? Because the more she submits the more chances she has of something getting accepted.
You may really admire the journal that you sent your piece to, and you may think that it’s the perfect fit, but it may not be the perfect fit at that time. Usually, journals will have a clause saying how long to wait before submitting to their journal again. If you like your piece, and you truly think that it is a decent fit, give it another shot.
The worst that could happen would be that you get another automated email that ends with something along the lines of “we regret that we’re unable to publish “Insert Title Here” at this time, but we appreciated getting to read it. Best of luck placing it elsewhere!”
You need a tough skin to be a writer. Those rejections might rankle you a bit, but if you’re heart broken over every one that shows up in your email you’ll need to find a way to build some armor.
I got a rejection letter yesterday. Honestly, I’d sent that particular story out to over 70 publishers so I have a hard time keeping track of which places have sent me a response, but since I sent it out over six months ago I wasn’t waiting with bated breath. Writers mostly run these magazines, so they probably hate sending out letters as they’ve no doubt had their own rejections in the past. You just take it in stride and keep going.
I also have the disadvantage of being new to the submission gig, so I’m sure that I’ve made some newbie mistakes along the way. I just try and make sure that whatever I send out is professional as possible and keep my fingers crossed. You’ll get better at it the more you try, and I’ve put all my eggs in the writing basket, so I’m in for the long haul.
The real question about rejections is when should you start looking at revising your piece based on said rejections? Should a certain number of rejections indicate that your piece maybe isn’t up to snuff?
I wish the answer was cut and dry, but it’s really up to you as the author. The piece that got rejected just yesterday? I’m sure that it could use some work, but I wasn’t passionate about that piece, and I was using it more as a way to get my feet wet than anything else.
Will I look at it now that I’ve had a chance to forget the little details about the story? Certainly. I figure that the only way to get published is to keep sending out your best work. That, and maybe be a little more bullheaded than the people who send out the rejection letters.
The thing about this writing business is that there is never an end. The work is never done, and there are always ways you can improve yourself and keep trying. One day you’ll surely get that acceptance letter.