jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 12, 2012 - 4:52pm

I got a new rejection yesterday and like many before there's a bit about how they hope I'll submit again in the future or consider them again at a later date. Can I take this as a sign that the stories are at least fairly good (that is to say, good enough they might actually want to see more), or do they just say that to everybody? Should I focus on publications that have stated possible future interest? I'm already assuming that within these responses there's a mix of form letters and actual thoughts being expressed, but if anyone with more experience could affirm or deny that, I'd appreciate it.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 12, 2012 - 5:00pm

They usually say that in all form letters but just keep them in mind for later, the best advice is submit to everyone. In Richard's article I believe it was, he said he submitted a story to 50 places before it was accepted. Its just about persistance. Don't write someone off just because they reject you once but if they do year after year then fuck them and move on.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 18, 2012 - 7:58am

Most rejections encourage future submissions.  I wouldn't read into it too much.

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day January 12, 2012 - 6:29pm

I've gotten five or six rejections so far. Only one was personalized to the point that I knew they had read it and at least considered it.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 12, 2012 - 9:07pm

Most rejections encourage future submissions.  I wouldn't read into too much.

Heard. I haven't yet submitted more than once anywhere, just curious. But it leaves me wondering whether to re-edit / re-write all this stuff, keep shopping it around, compile the stories and self-publish, or just scrap it.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 12, 2012 - 9:11pm

That's why we have the workshop, you get the opinion of your peers for a rewrite and then you send it out again. People here give very thorough reviews and line by lines.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 12, 2012 - 9:19pm

I know, I should join. But I'm not really sure any rewrite will make my stuff more marketable. In other words, I think what I write is odd enough that, even if it turns out to be good, or made better, it would still be hard to place (I think. I don't read stuff like it very often, which makes it hard for me to compare it. That may sound narcissistic or pretentious.)

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 12, 2012 - 9:35pm

Honestly there is a market for everything.  If you have read bizarro fiction, that stuff is about baby jesus clones crawling up people's butts and haunted vaginas and shit. The only stuff that is hard to sell is stories about pedophilia or violence against women usually but I have stories about both of those in my anthology. I was looking for someone to write a story about necrophilia.  Is that something you might be interested in?  If you wanted me to, I could read some of your stuff.  I have a high threshold for odd. I can send you something I wrote and you can tell me if it's odd.  This is the opening paragraph of the last story I wrote, so you can see I like odd:

Behind my eyes it feels like there is an itch I can’t scratch, I haven’t slept in days and I imagine digging them from the socket with my bare hands. Four days have passed without sleep and the room is spinning in vertigo schisms. That terrible redness is crackling around inside my skull and I can almost feel the blood vessels moving and splintering into the whites of my eyes like little trees seeking nourishment. Unborn fetuses hang off the branches of the blood vessel trees in my eyes, growing and pulsating inside gelatinous sacks waiting for consumption. The milk of Mother Earth will feed them and make sure they grow up to be strong little tree people. Eighteen pictures so far and I’m working on number nineteen as the clock blinks 12:00 until I can feel it in my brain throbbing. My hands are gnarled and look like dried roots withering away, paint accumulating under my fingernails. Somewhere in the apartment complex there is a woman singing but it is far away like a tiny porcelain ballerina hiding in the walls.

 

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter January 12, 2012 - 11:30pm

@J. Y. Hopkins - Keep shopping those stories, but if after a while you feel that they could use some revising, then submit to the workshop and see what others think.  I had a story that I thought would get published last year, but after several rejections (some of which were personal and pretty uplifting), I've decided to workshop it again.  Then the Psychosis anthology took over, so I haven't bothered to post it yet.

Nevertheless, just keep plugging at submitting.  I know I had a rough time with myself when I first started.  It was frustrating and full of all kinds of self-deprecation and drunkenness and anger at the literary market, but I've found a few magazines that I've really grown to love and would love to submit to again.

 

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 12, 2012 - 11:59pm

We seriously need to create our own literary magazine called Psychotic Lullabies or the Necrophiliac's Guide to Cold Loving.  I would only publish weird shit and have theme issues like, "The upside down issue" or the Alice in Wonderland issue.

Rancecassady's picture
Rancecassady January 13, 2012 - 12:53am

You should have at least 100 submissions out at any given time. Just be sure in your heart that it's good. If you feel good about it, someone else will too. After you send out 100 stories, forget you did it.

JonnyGibbings's picture
JonnyGibbings January 13, 2012 - 3:37am

Not sure if this helps, but as most guess, you will get an auto-pilot rejection from someone who hasn't bothered to read your submission. I say this, as when I got my deal, and went for an indy rather than with Random, one agent came to me with loads of bullshit about how I should have sent it to him, it's his thing etc. He'd read it off the back of the pre-kindle and said 'It's unforgettable, fresh, yadda yadda' I asked him how unforgettable was it, as I'd sent him the manuscript and he rejected lol. He also said he could screw my agent and get a better deal for me. I asked him what ethics does that show me about him. This is they guy who I said had a neck like a vagina.

All I will say is I got lucky. That's all. Keep plugging, if when you send yours for every one they read they bin 4 - send five. The people on here are the most honest I've ever encountered. And helpful. If they like it - it's good enough for publication. You do have to target who you send to. If they are not into transgressive, dark fiction they won't be so keen. Also, the business folk at a publisher will lean on them to sign safe chick-lit, cookery, celeb books.

If I can get lucky, anyone can.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

Thanks for the advice, but when I say my stuff is odd... My stuff isn't really transgressive. It's more structurally or thematically odd than substantively shocking. For instance, one is a story in the form of a radio broadcast about a crazy artist, complete with news lead-in and jokes from the announcers after the report has finished. Another is a three-part fragmented narrative / prose-poem themed around the stages of a courtroom trial. Some of it is quite unusual but not so much because of its actual content (things like baby jesus clones, etc.) I've tried a few experimental-type journals and a few others run by grad-students (neither of which tend to pay even if you do get published.) Not much action so far. 

So what percentage of stuff on Litreactor would you say is in the transgressive vein? Is there a fair amount of other stuff represented?

PopeyeDoyle's picture
PopeyeDoyle from Rio Grande Valley, TX is reading Chronology of Water January 13, 2012 - 12:56pm

For instance, one is a story in the form of a radio broadcast about a crazy artist, complete with news lead-in and jokes from the announcers after the report has finished. Another is a three-part fragmented narrative / prose-poem themed around the stages of a courtroom trial.

Sounds like it could be interesting, but I don't see why any of that would be so out of the mainstream that it's hard to market.  Maybe I'd have to see it in action.

So what percentage of stuff on Litreactor would you say is in the transgressive vein? Is there a fair amount of other stuff represented?

I'd say there's a very strong bias towards minimalism and a slightly lesser bias towards transgressive literature.  But there is other stuff represented - enough that you can probably benefit from the workshop.  You could always try it out for a month and see if you like it.  I don't want to sound like a salesman for it or anything, but the workshop really is pretty helpful.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 13, 2012 - 12:59pm

I don't write transgressive literature and I find the workshop to be very useful. 

Just my two cents.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day January 13, 2012 - 1:08pm

More important than assigning a label to your work, so long as you are bringing a unique voice to LitReactor, I think you'll fit in just fine!  At least that's been my experience so far.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 13, 2012 - 2:40pm

You haave to write like Chuck Palahniuk or be banned!!! Lol. Dude there is a variety of stuff on there. So are you the next Mark Danielewski? How about an story in essay form written by a serial killer complete with confessional footnotes or childhood memories and comments by a court appointed psychiatrist? I would read that. I am looking for something really offbeat for the anthology, I originally wanted one story in comic book format.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 14, 2012 - 1:03am

Popeye -

I don't see why any of that would be so out of the mainstream that it's hard to market.

Maybe I'm trying the wrong publications; maybe I should actually try more mainstream mags instead of the small presses. Or maybe what I'm doing is already old hat / just plain sucks. Perhaps answers to these questions and more will come if I join the workshop.

Alien -

So are you the next Mark Danielewski?

Haha! Yes, I'm the next him. Haven't actually read House of Leaves but what I've heard and read intrigues me.

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day January 20, 2012 - 4:29pm


Question to people who've been published:  When sending submissions, do you include a link to sites with your previously published work? 

Nighty Nite's picture
Nighty Nite from NJ is reading Grimscribe: His Lives and Works January 20, 2012 - 4:36pm

I'll tack another question on to this too: If a publisher/magazine wants a short bio with your previous published works, but you don't have any, should you mention that you don't or just leave those out? Will this hamper your chances of being published? 

I'm going to start seriously shopping a few stories around in February (After they've been workshopped a bit), and there's a few things I'm wondering about.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs January 20, 2012 - 6:20pm

Question to people who've been published:  When sending submissions, do you include a link to sites with your previously published work? 

No links except to my website.

 

I'll tack another question on to this too: If a publisher/magazine wants a short bio with your previous published works, but you don't have any, should you mention that you don't or just leave those out? Will this hamper your chances of being published?

Not sending a bio may not affect your chances of being published, but if the guidelines ask for a bio, you should give it to them. I'm not sure if I've ever seen guidelines that specifically asked for a list of previously published work rather than a bio in general. But if they do and you don't have anything previously published, mention it. It also won't hurt your chances of being published. Most editors probably love to publish a new author for the first time. If guidelines ask for a bio rather than a list of credits that you may not have, just include something like where you live and something about your pets in your bio. Just put anything.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 17, 2012 - 2:21pm

It does seem as though more editors are including the "keep submitting" tags on form rejections. Unless you can tell that somebody is writing you a personal message (e.g., Hey Richard, loved the story, just wasn't a good fit for this themed issue, but send us more, please) then don't give it too much weight. Besides, you should be sending to the places that YOU want to publish. Target those 10, or 20 or 50 places. 

If your work is a bit unusual, be it transgressive or experimental or bizarro, just find a market that is open to it. There's a place for everyone.

I tend to write dark, edgy, transgressive stories, but depending on what I've written, it might go to horror, SF, fantasy, crime or literary publications. Or all of the above.

This is probably too vague for you, but here's my long list of places I'm targeting:

http://whatdoesnotkillme.com/2009/07/28/richards-submissions/

And here's a shorter list of places I really like:

Annalemma
Apex
Barrelhouse
Big Lucks
Black Clock
Caketrain
Camera Obscura
Cemetery Dance
ChiZine
Clarkesworld
Collagist, The
Crime Factory
Dark Sky Magazine
GUD
Hobart
Juked
Keyhole
Monkeybicycle
PANK
Shimmer
Shock Totem
Shroud
Snubnose Press
Tin House
Unstuck
Vain
Weird Tales

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like February 17, 2012 - 11:32pm

Surprised to see this thread lit up again. Thanks for the tips, Richard. I've already been rejected by a couple of those. Planning to try Unstuck, submissions open in March.