There's a certain type of stinkin' thinkin' I've tried to shove off to the sidelines during my writing journey. But every now and then, whenever I receive a rejection, this unhealthy knee-jerk reaction will resurface: "Oh well. Guess it wasn't good enough."
It wasn't right for that magazine or publisher. Granted, submissions have to be written at a good enough level to make it into a pro-paying publication or to grab the attention of a high-profile agent. But the story itself can be great, the writing may be superb, and it still might not be a good fit.
I don't write what sells. Never have, probably never will. I write whatever the heck I want to. And that often happens to be pulpy speculative fiction: space opera parodies, weird westerns missing a fourth wall, crime noir with futuristic elements. I create characters that I enjoy writing about. And lucky for me, there have been editors over the past five years who've liked them, too.
Most don't. I receive more rejections than acceptance letters. If it seems like every week I have some cool publication news to share, keep this in mind: each of my stories has averaged a dozen rejections before finding a good home. Does that mean they aren't any good? I wouldn't submit them if they were crappy. The truth is, there are scads of editors out there, but only those who think my work is right for them will publish it.
Case in point: "So How Can It Be a Faux Pas If Everybody Does It?" survived 16 rejections over two years before being published in the latest issue of Plasma Frequency Magazine. Is it a bad story? Nope. Was it right for every publication I sent it to? Equally nope.
Uncle Milo's advice: Keep sending your stuff out into the world. An acceptance isn't validation that your work is good. It's proof that you never gave up on it, and you eventually found an editor who liked it as much as you did all along. "Never give up, never surrender!" - Galaxy Quest