I got back a response on my submission of the story code-named “Story of K” this week. The response wasn’t too much of a surprise. The market in question was apparently flooded in submissions, and my story didn’t quite pass muster.
The rejection notice read mostly like boilerplate. I realize there’s no point in playing the “Rejectomancy” game. Seeing as there was nothing specific or personal in the rejection (a remark that the rejection does not reflect on the quality of the work, a comment on the volume of submissions versus number of acceptance slots, and an encouragement to continue submitting to said market), I can only conclude that the relevant market didn’t like the story. Did they hate it? Who knows? Was it high on the list of considerations? Impossible to say, but rather unlikely. Put off because the story was based on a flash-length work/draft first published on this blog? Possibly the tipping point on the rejection side of the accounts, or possibly entirely irrelevant if the story wasn’t good enough for that to make much of a difference.
Either way, I’m not hurt over it. While the rejection was boilerplate, it read as professional and considerate. While I thought my story was very good, and professional-quality prose, I’m not surprised over the rejection: I’d assume going in that it’s going to take me a long time, and a lot of submissions, for the dice come up in my favor. Because the way I figure it, once your work passes a certain quality threshold (and assuming this story did, in fact, pass that threshold), with the extremely large number of aspiring authors competing against the large number of established authors already out there, from the aspirant’s perspective it’s basically a game of chance as to which aspiring author makes the cut in any given submission.
I’m also not likely to be one to “celebrate” my rejections. I don’t view a rejection as being “one step closer to an acceptance”. All a rejection really means is that I submitted something, and it wasn’t accepted. Rejections aren’t milestones on the writing career path. They’re road blocks and detour signs. The celebration-worthy events, in my opinion, are the occasions of submissions and acceptances.
Next steps, besides finishing up my revision of “Story of V” as I find the time, is to research additional markets and see if there’s any possible alternate homes for “Story of K”. If nothing else, as I work my way down the lists, I’m relatively confident (hopeful?) I can eventually place this story at the very least at a semi-pro market.
In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on this market. I don’t have any immediate plans to submit again to it, but that’s because I don’t have anything submission-worthy that I feel fits with this market. Should that ever occur, it’s not at all unlikely that I’ll submit again.