and while I'm not 'down' as such, I felt a little 'downer' this morning when Flash Fiction Online decided not to go with my story after all (I wrote a few posts ago that 'How much breath?' had got to the second round of their selection process).
The rejection smarted like all rejections do at first. Any writers out there who have been subbing for years and don't feel that smart at all? Just curious.
I've been thinking lately about the difference between entering writing competitions and submitting your work to a publication, and the rejections that often follow.
Competitions don't formally reject you, they just don't contact you. You usually have an idea from the website or rules when they'll be contacting the winners, so at some point between sending your entry and not hearing anything back, you peacefully accept that you haven't won/been shortlisted.
But when you send a thing to a publication, you (usually) get a direct 'yes' or a 'no'. The time it takes varies, but most places will contact you to let you know the outcome of your submission. This is useful as far as getting a 'NO' goes, because you know for sure, and can dust yourself off and get the story sent elsewhere.
I've been sending work out to competitions and publications for quite some time, but this difference in the way you're rejected only recently came to mind.
It's part of the process of writing, of putting yourself out there to be judged in some way, and it's necessary if you want to be published. (Unless you're one of those people whose best friend's cousin is going out with the brother of an editor of a massive publishing house and somehow he stumbled upon your MS and he just bloody well loves it. Not you? Me neither. But that's ok. I like that saying about how you can wait for your ship to come in, or you can go out and meet it.)
The Guardian have contacted the winners of their short story comp, so knowing I'm not in that number I have sent that story to Tonto Books. I did this very quickly. Without editing, or refining (much). Tonto Books are running a competition, but they are also a publication. Will this result in a direct reject/accept email? Only time will tell (did I actually just type that?)
I have also sent another thing to Six Sentences, because I love that place. They published my story 'Velcro' a few weeks ago, and I felt like trying my luck with them again.
Tell me your acceptance/rejection stories and feelings. Not that we should dwell, but I'm interested.