One of the markets I submitted to was the “Women Destroy Fantasy” issue of Fantasy Magazine. I sent in a story I completely redrafted (simply because I couldn’t find my original copy and I was going to expand on it anyway) that ended up a whopping 6300 words. (FYI this is a bit longer than most markets prefer for a short story.)
Tuesday I received a lovely personal rejection from Cat Rambo:
Lovely to see something from you in the slush. This came close, but not quite. Thank you for letting me read it.
I took a few of Cat’s online writing classes last year and to have a rejection like this from her, well even though I was slightly disappointed, I let out a tiny squee.
I knew from the beginning this special issue of Fantasy Magazine was going to have some stiff competition. Only a few spots are open and the submission window was very short (only 2 weeks). I did start writing early, that gave me an opportunity to let the story sit for at least a few days before I did some editing and rewriting. I think i changed the ending about 3 times.
I also know I had stiff competition to contend with. While this issue was only open to women writers, don’t be fooled that they are a bunch of cream puffs. While women writers tend to be overlooked, they aren’t afraid to write about any subject including science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Some of my favorite writers are women and I’ve found they’ve been exploring issues such as racism, homosexuality, and abuse that affect our world for far longer than many of the opposite gender.
So no, I’m not upset at all with the rejection. In fact, I’m pleased that Cat sent me a personal note with it. The “close, but not quite.” lets me know that I’ve improved a great deal since her class. I’ve been getting more personal rejections, of which pleases me to no end. I’m so much closer to really feeling like an author than I was three years ago.
What did I do next? I researched another market, and sent that story back off. It’s another market I’m not sure I’m ready for, however, I do think that because my stories are improving, they deserve at least a shot at the top markets first. Some I’ll wait on as I’d have to cut portions of the story to fit the word count. I don’t want to do that just yet.
I can say I’m happy with this story. I hope an editor will give it a chance very soon, but I’ll have to wait and see. It might be one of those that is a difficult fit as it is fantasy/literary and sometimes it’s a bit difficult to fit that into some publications. But I’m going to keep sending it out and let the rejections pile up.
In the mean time, I’m going to write something even better. 😉