You poured your heart and soul into a piece. You muster up the courage to submit it. You get rejected. We get it! A rejection can be absolutely devastating, especially for new writers. But rejection rarely means that your writing was bad, or that your piece should be given up on. Most rejections are sent simply because the piece doesn’t match the theme and style of the magazine. As collections of literature, literary magazines tend to favor coherent bodies of work that compliment each other.
A rejection can sometimes suggest that you need revisions, but that doesn’t mean your writing isn’t good. Many magazines have acceptance rates lower than 10%, meaning that they have to reject plenty of strong pieces. Getting rejected always sucks, but try and remember to look at your writing from all perspectives in hopes to better understand why.
DON’t you dare self reject!
Do not! Under any circumstances! Tell yourself that your piece will be rejected! Or, even worse! NOT SUBMITTING AT ALL!! We will know! Your terrible, negative energy will seep into your submission and we will know!
Do not doubt your writing! if you are even considering submitting it, do it! We want to see your writing, you want to get published, this is a mutually beneficial relationship, don’t stop it pre-maturely!
Following the laws of Rejectomancy
Rejectomancy is the art of reading, looking, and hypnotizing the lines in a rejection letter. When you’re putting your writing into the world, it’s important to investigate the magazine you could potentially be published in and understand how they take submissions and rejections. Good magazines tend to have lots of rejections, since those magazines only publish the best of the best. Submitting your work to a magazine in a very lenient acceptance policy means your potential submitted work won’t be next to the best of the best.
Our submissions manager of choice, Duotrope, keeps track of rejection and acceptance stats as well as which kind of rejection letters go out- so if you’re a big fan of rejectomancy, try finding magazines that give out a decent amount of personalized rejection letters. More on rejectomancy here.
Revision and resubmission
Rejection does not mean the death of a piece. You may receive an invitation to revise and resubmit. R&R invitations can be for many different reasons. To change format, add detail, or fix grammar. Look over the feedback you’ve received and try to revise based on the feedback for your piece. An R&R invitation does not solidify an acceptance, but it also isn’t a rejection. It is an opportunity to improve your piece and refine your revision skills. So, take the opportunity to revise it because you never know! They could accept your R&R submission!
Submitting to other lit mags
Perhaps the most productive way to channel your rejection is submitting to another literary magazine. Lucky you – we’ve compiled a whole list of perfect candidates for you!