How long does it take for a short story to be accepted for publication? It depends.“Hero for Hire” and “Suburban Legend” were both accepted by the first ezines I submitted them to. But with “Mo’s,” the journey has been much longer.
I wrote the original version of this story back in college and shared it with my freshman comp professor, who summarily bled it dry with her trusty red pen. I revised it, “trunked” it, forgot about it.
Last summer, having grown impatient waiting for responses from the slew of agents I’d queried regarding my novel-length manuscripts, I started revising old stories and sending them out to short fiction markets. “Mo’s,” originally set in the segregated South, became a tale of post-Roswell America in an alternate reality where the only racial tensions that exist are between humans and Greys (aliens). I thought the new, improved, sci-fi revision was ready for publication.
I shared “Mo’s” with Abyss and Apex (who liked it, but ultimately decided not to accept it) in August '09, The Pedestal in October '09, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show in November '09, SFZine (now defunct) in December '09, Fusion Fragment in April '10, Electric Spec in June '10, Daily Science Fiction in early July '10, and MindFlights (who apparently don’t send out rejection letters; you have to log-in to their website to see whether or not your story has been accepted/declined) at the end of July. Despite the rejections, I didn’t give up.
This past Saturday, I submitted “Mo’s” to Residential Aliens, and I received my acceptance letter the very next day. Should I have sent it to them in the first place? Maybe. Is the version they have better than the first one I sent out last year? Oh yes.
Endurance + revision wins the race.