Lucky Number 101 Part 2: Rejections

Last time I posted about the number 101, I had just made my hundred and first submission of something I wrote to someplace I hoped would publish it. Today I’ve passed a different post: the (in)famous first hundred rejections (plus one, because I prefer palindromic numbers).

When I reached 101 submissions, I had amassed–in just under 2 years of increasingly determined submitting–76 rejections, 2 acceptances, 1 publication, and a third-place win in my university’s short fiction competition. I’d started to discover the fleeting boost of hold notes and personal rejections, and had stamped my foot a few times over the weirdly nasty rejection notes that some “literary” journals send if one dares to submit a story with any hint of speculative or genre elements. I’d learned that I handle rejection well–something I had worried about when I started submitting and didn’t know if my ego and anxiety would be able to handle the fact that most submissions are likely to be rejected–and I had learned that the joy of holding a print magazine in my hands and seeing my work in its pages was every bit as intense as I’d predicted.

25 rejections later, I don’t know if I’ve learned much–if anything–new, but I have made another sale! Rejection #99 came within a few hours of an acceptance note for the same story. I’m happy about this sale for many reasons–it’s my first SFFH sale at SFWA-qualifying rates; it qualified me to join Codex; it’s going to appear in print, ebook, and audio editions; it’s a magazine I really like–but most especially because it’s a story that’s been rejected 8 times and I was starting to worry it wasn’t as good as I thought. This was one of the first stories I wrote that made me feel like I really had something interesting to offer readers, and I am thrilled that it’s found a publisher who feels the same way.

I’m not sure what my next aspirational milestone will be (101 publications seems pretty far off right now, but a writer can dream–maybe I’ll shoot for 666 rejections?), but at any rate I’m feeling more motivated than ever to keep writing, revising, and submitting.

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