Monday, June 18, 2012

Savor Successes

Writing for publication can come with a lot of rejection. Most beginning writers who are trying to sell their stories to paying markets will receive dozens of rejection letters for every acceptance they receive. I just did a quick scan through my submission tracking stats on Duotrope. There was a stretch of about three months where I had almost exactly 100 fiction submission responses and ONE sale. And, yes, I'm not going to lie -- it was somewhat miserable.

Since then, to steal a phrase from poker, the deck's been hitting me in the face. (Thinking about that phrase, it's not obvious that this is a good thing. Well, it is.) I counted 89 submission responses starting with the sale that broke that drought, which was also my first pro sale. I've had 13 acceptances in those responses. Which is phenomenal. (Now, realize, that also means I've had 76 rejections. Still, that's a ridiculously good rate for someone at this stage of a writing career.)

And there are two thoughts I have about this. One is that I really, really need to enjoy this now while I can. I think that where I really stand today as a writer is somewhere in-between the 1-in-100 acceptance ratio and the 13-in-89.

The other is that for people who haven't gotten there yet, who are still struggling with those huge piles of rejections relative to acceptances, or who maybe even haven't gotten their first acceptance yet... If you keep at it and keep working at your craft, acceptances are very likely to come in time. And when they do... Oh, my goodness! Be prepared to feel like a million bucks (even if the story payment might only be for $10). And treasure those early acceptances as much as you can, because no matter how great later sales feel, it's hard for them to compare to those first acceptances after so many rejections.

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