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The 100 Rejections Project: The Reckoning! - couchspudprotem
January 5th, 2012
09:12 pm

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The 100 Rejections Project: The Reckoning!
Well here we are; it's 2012 and the rejection from Interzone (the only magazine that has, so far, tempted me to submit on paper instead of electronically) serendipitously arrived on my doormat this morning. So it's time to look back on the just-over twelve months of sending out stories and see what happened.

First of all, there were only 14 stories that were part of this project. While its been a remarkable wake up call for me in the "getting over yourself" category, it hasn't been a great project in terms of "write more! write faster!" That's this year's problem. I see I sent the first batch of, er, two stories out on the second of December 2010, another on 12th and another on 17th. These four plates were spinning pretty much on their own till February 2011 when I added a fifth, and then I seem to have had a panic attack in April and put the other nine out for their first times over about a week, one or two a day as I took them down, dusted them off, and sent them on their way.

The longest time any of the stories was out was 193 days and this seems to have been merely Writers of the Future neglecting to send me a rejection and me neglecting to notice that 193 days is considerably longer than their quarter year consideration cycle.

The shortest consideration period was when stories were rejected on the same day they were sent (three of those) or after just one or two days but those were rare; more often the rhythm of slush reading takes longer and, having done it myself, I sympathise.  We will draw a veil over the occasional glitch where I sent out the same story twice, once while it was still being considered (oops) and once where it has already been rejected! (Would still be waking up in a cold sweat over that one if the editor in question hadn't been so nice about it!)

Of the fourteen stories, I have now decided to retire two; one because it's rapidly becoming obsolete and one because I've never been happy with it and can't see how to make it better. Four are ready to go out again, five are still out and three have been published.

The three that are published are "Mrs Jai", which was the first sale but the second publication. I wrote it partly as a technical exercise in writing dialogue in three voices without ever putting in any identifiers, just to see if I could. So it worked out perfectly for the podcast magazine, Cast of Wonders.

The second story I sold was the first one to be published.  It's called "The Old Man and the Stars" and it's here (although behind a paywall, sorry) at Mixer Publishing  

And finally I have a story called "Stones" at the magazine Scissors and Spackle.  A big thank you to all three editors.

So what was the final total, I hear you ask?

Well... as well as the fourteen stories I also sent out a novel query to an agent (which was rejected) and co-wrote a children's script for the BBC Ceebeebies channel which passed the first round but was then, sigh, also rejected.  I think I can legitimately count those two.

So, drumroll, I have achieved... 67 rejections against a target of 100. Not bad, I think you'll agree so...

what's that?

There's more?

Subject: Re: Submission: Daniel and the Scatterlites
From: Wendy Bradley <wendy.bradley.42@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, January 05, 2012 20:46 pm
To: "submissions@rampantloonmedia.com"


Sorry to be a pain, but I'm about to put my arse-kicker, "sponsor me for the number of rejections I can collect in 2011" project to bed and ask for donations. Not to rush you, but if a decision WERE pending, a rejection would be actively useful now, whereas next week it'll just be, you know, life. 
An acceptance is good any time :-)
No hurry,  unless you've already decided but only send out emails on Fridays or something <g>
Wendy Bradley

and lo!  The response came a mere twnty minutes later (reproduced by kind permission)

Wendy,
Still trying to track it down. Your story made it through the first two rounds with "hold for another reading" recs, but then seems to have gotten buried in the Great Story Blizzard of 2011. (We received more than 500 new submissions between mid-November and New Year's Eve!)
If you're really trying to rack up the numbers, you may consider it rejected right now. However, I reserve the right to contact you next week and beg you to let us reconsider it. Or something like that.
Kind regards,
Bruce Bethke
Editor, Stupefying Stories

So actually, counting this, I actually achieved 

68 rejections against a target of 100

The moral of this story, oh writers out there, is that editors are people too.  Damned nice ones, many of them, and I'm grateful to every one of them who has rejected, accepted or otherwise dealt with me during this year.  Take a round of applause.

And now... the reckoning.  

Yes, you, I'm looking at you if you sponsored me (or even if you didn't sponsor me!!!) per rejection towards the Archer Project, the homelessness charity in Sheffield which was dear to the heart of my father, who was one of its directors from its inception until just before his death (when he resigned so they wouldn't have the bother of dealing with the death of a director in office)

I have a just giving page here where you can conveniently make your donation via paypal.  Or you are welcome to thrust cash into my hot little hand next time you see me.  I was originally aiming to raise £1000 but since I only made it 68% of the way towards my target I'd be happy and grateful to raise 68% of that.  Or anything at all, in fact - but it's a worthy cause, so please think about making a small donation.

Thanks to everyone who has given me encouragement and cheerleading, and particularly arse-kicking, over this project for just over a year.  It's been an education!

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