Story Submission Struggles


I have spent many years studying and learning about the publishing world.  I believe this has gone on for somewhere around ten to fifteen years.  I’ve studied the self-publishing process and the traditional publishing process. Self-publishing is easy, but you have to put in all the work for marketing and selling your book. Traditional publishing is difficult to get into, but once you’re in, you’re good to go.  In attempting to get something published in the traditional fashion, I have learned what writing mistakes I use to make, and I’ve been correcting them.  Writing is a skill that one must develop over time.  Nothing happens overnight.

I have sent many stories and poems in for consideration to many online magazines, and a few that still print magazines.  And with the continued rejection, I persevere.  I want to make something clear.  I am not angry about these rejections and hold no animosity towards these magazines.  Sadly, I will never know what caused the rejection.  I assume it’s because my writing isn’t up to par, but for all I know, they may not have liked the subject matter or the story overall. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone in the publishing world who can critique my work.

Every one of these rejection letters sounds the same.  “Thank you for the opportunity to read your work, but we will not be considering it for publication.”  Or something like that.  They always say thank you for the submission and ask you to submit again.  Part of me wonders if they have to reject new authors X number of times before they will publish something.  It doesn’t matter because it causes me to continue growing and improving as a writer.  Eventually, I’ll write something they want to publish.

I now want to share a list of the many stories I’ve written and the publishers that rejected them. This is not a dig on the publishers. I want other writers to see who I’ve submitted to and maybe they’ll feel less discouraged after receiving a rejection letter.  Rejection is part of writing and I’m proud to have these rejections.  The purpose of this post is to help other writers.  I also want to note, I am not including word count or any guidelines to these submissions.  Look it up on your own if you’re interested.  I’m including the progress on unfinished short stories as well just for fun.

      • The Demon’s Favor
        • Rejected by – Clarkesworld Magazine, Underbelly Magazine, Apex Magazine
      • Where the Bullfrogs Gather
        • Rejected by – Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Flash Fiction Online, Stupefying Stories
        • Currently submitted to Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
      • Insanity Kills
        • Rejected by – Clarkesworld Magazine, Apex Magazine
      • The Puppet Maker
        • Rejected by – Apex Magazine, Clarkesworld Magazine
      • Vexed Ventriloquist
        • Rejected by – Flash Fiction Online
      • Ceres
        • Rejected by – Clarkesworld Magazine, Apex Magazine, Unnerving Magazine, Shimmer Magazine (Ending All Publications in Fall 2018)
        • Currently submitted to Strange Horizons
    • The Sapphire Cat – 12.5%
    • Gladiators – 12.5%
    • The Dragon Sanction – 12.5%
    • Escape from Century – 62.5%
    • NPIA (National Paranormal Investigative Agency) – 62.5%

This is not a list of all the short story publishers out there and it is a little different from the novel publishing world.  I found these online magazines from the lists on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association.  These are basically writing unions and one day when I actually have money, I will pay and signup to become a member of these associations.  Perhaps that will help me improve my writing.  I am including link to all these other magazines, so you may submit to them if you wish.  And no matter how many rejections you get, never stop writing.  Never give up; never surrender.

Apex Magazine

Clarkesworld Magazine

Flash Fiction Online

Strange Horizons

Stupefying Stories

Unnerving Magazine

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Time Heals

time-heals-all-wounds-1087105_1920

It is time for a long overdue update. This update is filled with rejections, realizations, and reservations. Let us begin with the rejections. Several short stories I’ve written have been rejected for publication. I’m sure some of you were concerned as to what kind of rejections I referred to, so I hope I have calmed your worries. I continue submitting stories for publications, but it is difficult as some publishers have strict dates when they accept submissions so there is still a lot of waiting. My time will come. Other rejections have included job applications with which I never received a call or interview. Some I have made it to the first interview but never any further. Once again, my time will come.

The realizations I have had recently are not pleasant. I believe they might be considered repressed memories, but with my sister’s help, some things I have remembered and my path to healing will be much longer than I expected. Childhood trauma has resurfaced and not to sound cliché but its turned my world askew. In a way, I feel I don’t know who I am anymore. I supposed I’m on a path to rediscover myself. One thing I recall, when I was in grade school I had a counselor who helped me make a kind of survival kit. When my parents would argue or fight (sometimes it was a physical fight), I would bring out this kit and live in my own little world ignoring what was happening. Perhaps this is why I don’t remember most of it.

This survival kit was just a coffee can wrapped in construction paper with my name and other things written all over it. Inside the can were some choice items; toys mostly. I recently discovered that, as an adult, if something is really troubling me I’ll write. Either poetry or fiction; maybe a screenplay. This is my survival kit as an adult. I create my own little world ignoring what is happening in my life. It’s just a brief escape but just as helpful. I take a little break from me and then return to deal with my problems and overcome the obstacles. I guess I haven’t changed much since childhood. I’m still that 4-year-old boy watching his drunken father beat his mother.

The reservations I’m having are how I should deal with everything. How should I handle this new (but not new) information? What is the first step in healing? Do I share these things with the world or keep them bottled up inside? Well I’m writing this blog post, so I’m sharing a little. Technically I’m writing and that’s how I cope with everything. That’s how I express myself because I don’t express myself in the normal ways like everyone else. I need to see a professional to deal with my past trauma and begin to heal but that requires money I don’t have. I’ll get that kind of help one day but for now all I can do is try to remain positive. That’s what cognitive behavioral therapy does. Stay positive and keep the negative thoughts away.

Until I receive a professional diagnosis, I can say I definitely have anxiety, but I think that is just a symptom of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). I look at the symptoms and I feel like it describes me perfectly. I look at the symptoms of anxiety and it fits mostly but not completely. This is a whole new journey for me. I’ll need a lot of support that I’ve never had before and I’m not sure how I’ll deal with everything. Right now, though, I need a descent paying job with health benefits. My time will come!