Just Keep Knocking
May 14, 2015 § 16 Comments
Once or twice a year, I take a month and send out a submission to a journal, literary website, or a radio show every day. Thirty or thirty-one submissions (choosing February seems like cheating), formatted and cover-lettered and sent, click, click, click. I’m all about the scattershot approach — rejections drift in slowly over the next six months or so, and by the time my next submission blitz rolls around, I don’t even remember what got turned down where (God bless spreadsheets!).
But what about the persistent, single-minded submission process? At The Missouri Review, Michael Nye writes about seeing stories come in from the same authors, over and over, and hearing an intern ask,
How does someone keep sending work to a magazine that keeps rejecting the work?
Assistant editor Evelyn Somers spoke up at this point, explaining that getting rejected by a magazine repeatedly and then, finally, getting work accepted is, actually, fairly normal. It’s a little frustrating for an editor, she said, when a writer submits to us five times and then just stops and we never hear get the chance to read the writer’s work again. To emphasis this point, she noted that TMR has published several writers who sent manuscripts to us for over a decade before we published their work.
It’s a fascinating article, with some great behind-the-scenes information about the submissions process. But it doesn’t end with, “And this is the time we finally published them!”
Which makes me think, it takes more than ordinary persistence to keep sending out work in the face of form rejections and silence. It’s hard for a writer to know if they’re just missing the mark, or not playing in the same league.
How can you tell? How do you figure out where to submit your work more than once?
Check out Michael Nye’s article at The Missouri Review.
Allison Williams is Brevity’s Social Media Editor.