Monday, March 9, 2009

A Nice but Sobering Rejection

I got a rejection from a print mag last night. Something is making me want to avoid naming it. Why I don't know. Naming it would be easier. It's not old school (Ploughshares, Missouri Review). It's not new guard (Hobart, NY Tyrant). It's not elite (ASF, Tin House). It's not any of those things, exactly, though it is newer. Anyway they rejected one of my longer stories very nicely. The ed. took the time to say that the story had been on their shortlist. But here's the thing: the ed. also mentioned the number of stories submitted during this sub period: over 1200!

Is that normal? I mean, do all somewhat-established print mags that accept email subs get over 1200?

Damn. You get a story accepted in that context, that's like winning the lottery.....

4 comments:

Erin said...

From what I've been told, yep, that's normal. I've heard bigger numbers in some cases that fit your description, too.

Print is definitely dead.

Scott Garson said...

just nuts.... something i've been wondering: if the e-sub print mags are getting 12-1500 subs every sub period, are the more singular stories, formally, going to start standing out? Like, I might have a really good story, but if it begins, "Rachael Thomas looked down the hill to the water...." You know, forget it....

bergman said...

I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt a magazine open to traditional length short stories reads them all through. More and more it's the opening paragraph which I think is fair and not. Some people are slow starters, yes? I think it's a crapshoot. I mean I was reading about Richard Yates and the rejections Roger Angell sent him from the New Yorker. 'Almost there...' 'We hope you'll try again...' Yates was heartbroken. It's a subjective business--there was no secret that Angell thought Yates' characters were too repellent.

BTW, your print publications are quite impressive. Cheers!

And what about that Satie stuff? I'm fascinated.

-Greg Gerke

Scott Garson said...

hey Greg! i just heard about yr forthcoming collection --congrats!

i think you're probably right about that first par. thing. some places -- like Redivider -- make it explicit: you get to paste in 200 words and if they're interested they open the doc. it's always a crapshoot, however it works, but i can imagine that if i was reading for one of these places I'd settle into a 'no' mentality, and i'd be reading, going, No, no, no, no, no, and then i'd start to get sick of myself. That'd be the best time for a story get opened -- when the reader starts to loathe his own no-saying....

re: the gymnos: there's one coming in SmokeLong, supposed to post tomorrow. will send you a ficitonaut invite --there's more on there.