The Rejection File
In my date book I note: “Like a Girl” back from [a favorite speculative fiction magazine]. Back from, as though it’s been for a visit.
I rarely use the word rejected. For years I noted “declined.” Now “back from” does it. I’ll send the stories on holiday, and if the fit is good and the timing is right, they’ll stay for a bit. I hope to send many of them abroad in time.
My first sale was to The Pan Book of Horror: Dark Voices series. I called the bank to find out what the pounds came to in dollars. I hadn’t sent the story anywhere else. Many volumes from the series’ various incarnations kept me company, and in some burst of spirit I took a shot when I saw the submission call. I kept the letter from the editors, David Sutton and Stephen Jones, notifying me they’d short-listed my story.
The R word marks the old folder that holds my rejection slip collection. Most of them went out in recycling long ago, yet a few paper relics accompanied me through uncounted moves. When I looked through them for the first time in years, a compliment from a long-ago Weird Tales editor inspired me to resurrect a vampire story.
In a sense, I’m what’s come back from the dead. It seems fitting to give this story another shot.
“Like a Girl” went off to the next possible market after a spiffing up. I sent it out the first time without the final formatting–so out of practice, and not yet used to my latest software tools. I’m happy I got the story off for its next visit within 24 hours, staying on track with keeping at least five stories out with editors.
Inspiration for dealing with rejection: