Don't Stop Believing

Do you ever feel like quitting? As writers, we face rejection on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis, and with some projects, it feels like they'll never find a place to call home.

Take my short story "Beneath the Surface," for example. It started out as a chapter from my unpublished novel When the Skies Fell (145K, post-apocalyptic fantasy) in 2008, but by the summer of '09, it had morphed into a stand-alone short story. Some of you may remember that was the fateful summer when I started subbing my work for publication...

On July 13, "Beneath the Surface" was ready to go out into cyberspace, and I chose Strange Horizons as the lucky recipient. Yep, I was aiming high, shooting for a pro-paying, SFWA-qualifying market right out of the gate. But then again, I didn't really know any better.

Two months later, I received one of my only warm rejections from Strange Horizons to date: they liked the world-building in this piece, but they weren't fans of the horror-type ending. Taking that feedback in stride, I proceeded to sub "Beneath the Surface" to 24 other markets over the next three years. Allegory gave it an honorable mention. Apex Magazine, Albedo One, Abyss & Apex, Triangulation, and New Myths all responded with warm rejections, but it wasn't the right story for them.

Then just this week, I signed my contract with Nathan Shumate: "Beneath the Surface" will appear in the next Arcane anthology. It took 3 years and 25 submissions, but the first short story I ever submitted for publication has finally been accepted, and it's better than ever now, thanks to Mr. Shumate's editorial suggestions.

Never give up on your work. No matter what, never quit. Somewhere out there is an editor who will love your story/novella/novel as much as you do. Trust me. 
All Content © 2009 - 2023 Milo James Fowler