My First Rejection Letter!

I hit a major milestone in my writing career today: I got my first rejection letter from a professional publication.

Last month I mentioned in a post that I’ve written four short stories that I think are at or near a publishable level. Well, over the past couple weeks I finally submitted three of them to professional magazines: A general fiction piece that went to Story Quarterly, another one that went to 42 Magazine, and a science fiction/sort-of-humor piece that went to Fantasy and Science Fiction. I’m aiming high, especially with the sci-fi piece.

To my surprise, one of the general fiction pieces, which I had submitted via e-mail, got a rejection letter back the following day. The editor said it had made her smile, but it wasn’t what they were looking for. Which is fair enough, although the fragile-ego’d, paranoid side of me wondered what in particular had gotten it rejected in just a day, whereas the normal turnaround time is months. Maybe it was just chance that it happened across her desk, or maybe it was that it was short– only 1000 words. I’ll take solace in the fact that it made her smile, even though that could just be part of a form letter. (See, there’s that paranoia again.)

My plan is to print it off and start a file of rejection letters. Some day when I’m published I’ll be able to look back on them and smile, although I have to admit, they do sting when you get them.