I’ve been making some short stories lately. And it is tough getting a rejection letter. But one way that I’ve been compensating for rejection is by writing a great deal of work that I am proud of and then creating a pipeline. A pipeline is a significant body of work that is in manuscript format that is either ready to be sent out to a publisher/agent or is already sent out and in the submission rejection/approval process. Since I’ve been writing short stories, I am able to fine tune the stories in less time that it may take to do the same on a novel. Many publishers do not allow simultaneous submissions for short stories, so the best way to get around this is to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE! Right now I have 4 stories that are in manuscript format that are all in the submission phase. I keep track of them using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. On the spreadsheet I write down the name of the publisher, the date of my submission, the rejection/acceptance date, any important identification information for the submission (This is MEGA important and we’ll talk about this more in a second) as well as the URL for any automated submission tracking.
For periodicals that accept digital submissions, they sometimes send you a tracking number or email that has information. Make sure to keep this information in a safe, special place. I enter the tracking number in my spreadsheet because it is often used in seeing if a story has been approved or not.
Here’s a tip: Be very careful when deleting emails. I accidentally cleaned out my emails from my webserver and I didn’t know that my Thunderbird email system was synched. So what happened is that I accidentally deleted all the emails I had. This included even the emails that were on my hard drive. It was really bad and I had to get another Story ID code from a publisher in order to keep tracking it. So make sure to be super careful when deleting any emails…and if you can avoid it altogether, then all the better!
Duotrope’s Digest is my favorite resource for finding publishers. It is a type of search engine with many different parameters for finding the right periodical that you are looking for. I really recommend that you bookmark that site if you are a writer. You will find that there are a lot more publishers out there than you may have previously thought.
When I first searched on Duotrope’s Digest, I realized that if I had a big enough pipeline of outstanding original work, then I would eventually get some of my short stories published.
Rejection letters are quite normal, so I try and not take it personally. Every piece of work should be something that I am extremely proud of, so making more stories should be pleasurable. So I take a rejection letter as an excuse to just write more.
It is important that you have enough stories that you aren’t sending the same story to two or more different publishers at once. That is usually looked down upon and can possibly complicate or even thwart a possible acceptance. So make sure that you keep good track of all your stories so that you only send a story to one publisher at a time. And then if you get a rejection letter, then you can send it to someone else after making whatever changes you deem necessary (if any at all).