I was minding my own business this morning, doing my usual Saturday routine of updating my rejections in my submission log (I use Submission Grinder now which I highly recommend) and sending stories back out to new markets when I realized I’d crossed the 100 submission mark. I stared at my numbers for a few minutes because I couldn’t really believe it.
Now, these numbers are not 100% accurate. I had sent out a handful of submissions before I went off to Viable Paradise in October of 2013, but the stories were just awful and really should never have been submitted, so I gave myself a mulligan on those and started over at zero post-VP.
I’m pretty proud of my 5% acceptance rate, but I’m even more proud that I haven’t let myself give up just because it’s difficult. Staying on the submission carousel is hard. The push of centrifugal force wants to send me flying and every rejection convinces me I should just let go to give myself a break.
Lots of folks say it gets easier, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I think it’s more like being afraid to leave the carousel while it’s in motion for fear I’ll never get back on. Rejections still hurt, some more than others. I get more personals than I did, and many more stories passed into the second round. The near misses really burn, and somehow feel good at the same time. Someone liked my story (Hooray!) but not quite enough (Boo!).
As usual, I try to use the numbers to make myself feel better. Meta Sagas, who is currently holding one of my stories, received 650 stories for an open call! Of that, they are going to choose 12-15 for publication. Assuming the number is 15, that’s only a 2% acceptance rate. To be chosen, you have to be better than 98% of the other stories! Wow. I would love to believe that I’m going to be in that 2%, but I know several of the other writers who also submitted and are in the same hold pile. They are amazing. I don’t have any illusions. That may seem disheartening, but I actually find it comforting. Every story I write gets a little better, and slowly but surely, I squeak my way up into that 2%. I may not be there now, but it’s something to aspire to, and I love a goal.
In other exciting writing news, I’m now officially a member of SFWA! This was one of the big goals I came out of VP with, and I’m so thrilled I’ve finally made it. Look, there I am! Right now I’m only an associate member, but two more sales will qualify me for the active ranks. Time to speed up the carousel again.
Hearts and puppies,
PS – If I ever self-publish a short story collection I’m totally calling it Tales of the Submission Carousel.
“Casa de Carousel 1” by BrokenSphere – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Casa_de_Carousel_1.JPG#/media/File:Casa_de_Carousel_1.JPG