by Lillian Csernica on November 7, 2013
(of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.
“a dynamic economy”
I got three rejections in today’s e-mail. No comments, no feedback, just the usual impersonal wish for good luck in finding a place for the story somewhere else. How depressing, right? Sure it is. On the other hand, it’s a really good sign
. It’s a sign that I’m out there hustling, keeping my work in circulation, not letting anything marketable turn into the dreaded “trunk story.”
A long time ago when I was still in high school, I went to a seminar at the local junior college aimed at people who wanted to break into publishing. That was where I learned one of the single best Rules for Success:
KEEP AT LEAST SIX PROJECTS OUT TO MARKET AT ALL TIMES.
Why six? Why not two or eight or twenty-three? The important phrase there is “AT LEAST
.” When the typical online magazine accepts maybe five to eight percent of the submissions it receives, that means we writers had better do everything we can to stack the odds in our favor, and that means generating salable stories and getting them out to market
. This or that story gets rejected? Fine. We hit the next market on our target list. And again. And again. And AGAIN! We do it and keep doing it until we make the sale. In the meantime, having plenty of stories out to market means we always have reason to hope. I cannot stress enough how important this is for getting you through the rough days when the words won’t come and your morale is in the basement. We’ve got to keep the possibility of success ahead of us.
Mind you, there is room for listening to feedback and tuning up the story. If it’s not selling, and you’ve been through a dozen markets, step back and give some thought to what you’re doing. Does the story need work? Are you targeting the right markets? Put in the time to make sure you’re not just cranking it out as fast as you can and throwing it against the wall to see what sticks. That’s not the smart way to build a career.
Yes, rejection is no fun. Yes, it can get discouraging. And yet it’s still validation! You are keeping your writing dynamic, pushing for “constant change, activity, and progress.” Today I had three rejection slips come in. Guess what? I sent SIX submissions OUT! That’s how you keep up your game. That’s how you refuse to surrender to defeat. That’s how you do your best to become a professional.