Submission Bonanza!: Racking up Rejections, or 30 LitMags in 31 Days


I found this thought-provoking post the other day about The 100 Best Ways to Becoming a Better Writer on thecopybot.com.  Some of them are interesting ways to meet characters, such as “74. Sell insurance, cars or newspapers face-to-face for two months.”  A lot of them are imaginative and funny.  Some of them are just things you know you need to do, like “3. Write over a thousand words a day.”

But the one that really stood out to me and inspired me most was Number 66.

Rack up Rejections.

I haven’t been doing a lot of this.  I haven’t really been doing any of it.  In the past 10 years, I’ve maybe submitted work to 5 literary magazines.  At this rate, all my writing will sit quietly on my computer and collect digital dust until I die or my computer dies, and either way it will be lost forever. (Note to self: remember to back up hard drive.)

That’s not really how I’d like it to go.

I write because I care about inspiring people, about connecting with people in a more meaningful way than normal day-to-day conversation allows.  That’s not gonna happen if everything I write remains for-my-eyes-only-on-my-measly-little-laptop.

So, I’m challenging myself to rack up rejections this month.

So, self:

Put yourself out there, knowing that you will get lots of rejections.  Not everyone likes to read what you like to write and that’s ok.  Think of each rejection as a battle scar, a symbol that you’re fighting the good fight, getting closer to being who you want to be.

So here’s the plan:  I’ll be submitting work to 30 LitMags this month, one for each day (with one day off, just to make the number round!).  To try to keep myself honest, I’ll be posting them here as I go.  Feel free to join me!

Aaaaaaaand, we’re off!

1: Fourteen Hills

2: Flash Frontier

3: The Round

4: Bat City Review

5. Swine Magazine

6. The Minetta Review

7. Camroc Press Review

8. Black Warrior Review

9. smoking glue gun

10. The Journal

11. The McNeese Review

12. Mid-American Review

13. Front Porch Journal

14. Exegesis

15. Columbia

16. Yemassee

17. Clarion

18. The Southeast Review

19. Silk Road

20. The Portland Review

21. Reed Magazine

22. The Louisville Review

23. The Coachella Review

24. Rio Grande Review

25. Saw Palm

26. Switchback

27. Camera Obscura

28. Northwind Magazine

29. Slice Magazine

30. Post Road Magazine

119 thoughts on “Submission Bonanza!: Racking up Rejections, or 30 LitMags in 31 Days

  1. This sounds like a great idea. I equally have a lot of writing gathering digital dust so I may just join you. Thanks for this post and hope you keep it up!

  2. I never feel more alive than when I get rejected! :) The world of submitting is another dynamic and helps contribute creatively too to growing as a writer. It allows you the distance to really look at who and what you’re doing. :) Have fun!

  3. I love the spirit of this. I don’t mind rejections. they’re proof I am getting out there. Lately I have been discouraged that I just don’t have enough finished work to be sending many subs out. Hoping to turn that around this month. I am going to keep this idea in mind. Also thanks for stopping by my site : )

  4. I have one traditionally published novel and enough rejection slips to make a doorstop. LOL!

    There is definitely a sense of ”self-worth ” when a publisher accepts an MS, albeit this feeling wears off,because in the end, it’s all about marketing.
    If you are able to sell thousands of copies irrespective of the medium would you worry that much?
    Not me, for sure!

    Long as it remains fun…..
    Thanks for stopping over. Appreciate the visit and the Like.

    • Yeah, for me I am not so concerned with the medium, which is why I started blogging before I started submitting. But it’s nice also to use different forms of publication and be part of the literary conversation in as many ways as possible. It’s not an either/or decision for me, certainly (:

  5. Good luck! I hope you get something picked up. I’m working on finishing a big thing at the minute (aiming to have it done by the end of July), but once that’s done I’m going to be brave and start submitting things too. Fingers crossed for you. Let us know how you go. :)

  6. In the old days when one got paper rejections, I had a friend who papered his hallway with those letters. It was a continual reminder of having tried. – Thank you so much for liking my post “Reputation – 1” on writingiam.wordpress. – Aloha – pjs.

  7. While imaging what “digital dust” might look like :-), I’m liking the idea of looking at rejections as a positive thing as having showed that you at least tried. While I don’t personally have a talent for writing unless it’s technical writing (I’ve never been good at storytelling and am in awe of those who are), I will try to extrapolate this idea to the many job rejections for positions that I have, and will have, applied for. That makes the “thanks, but no thanks” a little easier to take, I hope. If it doesn’t make it easier…well, at least I tried!

  8. That’s the way to go!

    I’ve submitted about three things in my life, one a couple months ago. I know I need to send stuff everywhere and in volume but I’m finding the process a touch daunting, knowing what to say, who to send to, worrying about typos etc.

    I need to dedicate a day to sending stuff.

  9. Excellent! I’m going to try to follow in your footsteps. My biggest problem is getting over the anxiety of knowing which magazines to submit to… Apparently you’re supposed to read every one you’re going to submit to to make sure your work fits, and that just seems completely overwhelming to me. Soooo I’d love some advice, if you have any. How did you decide which to submit to?

    • I’m mostly looking at magazines that are sponsored or run by M.F.A. programs, just because I’m starting a program this fall and wanted to get into the feel of that kind of community.

      I’ve set aside an hour each day. A lot of magazines have samples and/or issues online. I spend the first 30-45 minutes reading the samples and then make my choices about what to submit based on that. We’ll see how it works.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  10. Super idea, and you are already way ahead of me – I have never submitted anything… Mostly I have never been sure how to target my submissions, not knowing enough about the different journals, etc. But I’m inspired to learn more and get to it! Thank you, be well~

  11. I applaude your courage in this exercise. As it’s said, ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’, and I’ll bet you’ll come out better for it. Good luck!

  12. Sounds like a great idea, the worst that can happen is no reply or just a no. More people should do this…glad to see you leading the way!

  13. So very glad you are going to give this a whirl. Good for you. There are those who say it’s a numbers game, although the quality writing still has to be there, too, and we serious writers know this. But I can’t encourage you enough to become absolutey fearless–and send out, send out, and send out some more. Don’t assume you know where it will lead, or even if. Just do it and then forget about it while you move on to writing the next new work. Best of luck! (and yes, I really did use an exclamation point inspite of my own post today…. :-)

  14. “It’s not called ‘catching,’ it’s called ‘fishing,’ my father used to say. He also said: you don’t paint a picture and stick in under your bed. Actually, Kafka kinda did that with his writing and they found it after he died, but do you really want to end up like that? At the very least, get a printer so your work will at least be leaving a carbon foot-print on the world!

  15. 100. Try to reduce everything you want to write [whether it’s 100 or 100,000 words] into one simple sentence. Think high-concept. Then write.
    I liked this one best. I write simple. I read other work with lofty descriptions that go on for paragraphs sometimes, and it is not that I don’t enjoy those. Like Jane Eyre. I just choose to say more with less. It is how I think. Great luck with the lit mag project! You have balls :)

  16. This is exactly what I told a few friends last night: I’m starting to pile up the rejections, and I don’t feel as badly about them as I thought I would. The first one was the hardest, as was the first manuscript submission. After that, it’s just practice, practice, practice. Best of luck to you!

  17. I love this!! I remember getting my first rejection email (from a major agent) and with the encouragement of friends, getting to think: Wow, at least I’m now officially an aspiring writer with my publication : ) Referencing this on my blog…

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  19. Glad you liked “River Congo – Chapter 1” on papermudandme.wordpress.com. Your plan here sounds interesting. Let us know how it goes. – Aloha – pjs.

  20. Putting yourself out there by submitting is a giant step. I know so many people who are absolutely beautiful writers but haven’t been able to make the leap to actually submitting. It takes nerve! It takes swallowing back pride. It takes self-confidence. I can’t wait to hear about your acceptances as well as your rejections, stay with it!

  21. Great point. If you are not being rejected, you are not submitting. Thanks for dropping by my site and reading She said, He said.

    Erica Jong wrote Fear of Flying, a treatise on the female perspective of daring to do. The precipice of doing is rather intimidating, I think.

    Years ago I visited a challenge course in NC that had a 70 foot repelling tower. One side was planked and not until you ascended the tower did your mind begin to play with your courage. Once set up and hooked in, you were to grab the repelling rope and lean over the edge of the platform backwards. Not so easy the first time out. A bit easier the next, and more so on following attempts.

    I heard someone say in a writing group, “If it’s worth writing, it’s worth sharing.”

    And I agree — to an extent.

    Thanks for challenging the rest of us.

    • I like idea behind that “If it’s worth writing, it’s worth sharing.” Of course, I write tons that probably isn’t actually worth sharing, but I think sometimes we need to be reminded that communication is valuable and goes both ways, which is why it’s important to share.

      Thanks so much for the comment. I found it really motivating.

      • Analagous to taking photos. If you take enough shots, you’re bound to get a really good — even great — picture. I’ll bet Ansel Adams took a few in his day.

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  23. Fantastic! I’ve only just started writing creatively again during the past year after a couple of decades off (kids, blah, blah), but before that accumulated an envious amount of -what we called back then before the cyber world- rejection slips! I still have them. I have always thought of making some kind of bizarre artwork with them. I guess these days though you’d be getting email rejection slips? Keep them (don’t delete them in moments of despair), because they are great to look back on :-) Good Luck!

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  25. I’m going to be following this right along with you…and as soon as I get back from my book tour I’m going to join you on this quest! I’m submitting twice before I leave as they are contests with deadlines. You’ve emboldened me….you won’t be alone!

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  27. Getting comfortable with rejection is such an important skill on the road to success. Here’s hoping you’ll be a grade A reject soon! ;)

  28. Good for you! I find that having a quantifiable goal (i.e.: submit X times) REALLY helps me keep my writing moving. Getting rejections is HARD and sometimes I have to take a break from submitting to nurse my wounds. But most of the time, I try to look at it the way you do — as proof that I’m fighting the good fight. And despite the rejections, your writing has a MUCH better chance of being published when you actually submit it. :) Good luck to you!

    • Yeah, I think this is one of the first really realistic but also very challenging goals I’ve set for myself. I am so excited about how it’s going! You’re totally right — if you never send it, it will definitely not be published (:

  29. If inspiration and hard work are the formula for success, then you certainly deserve it! I wish you all the best of luck and thanks for the ‘like’ for my new novel “Where A Life Begins”. My blog is a bore compared to yours.

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  31. Reblogged this on eileengriffin and commented:
    I love this! It echoes so much of my own fears about sharing my writing and makes me want to push myself to put more of my writing out there. Love it!

  32. Camera Obscura is a good one. I almost got something accepted by them in February. The problem was that they thought it was too long for what they could fit in the magazine. I’m waiting to hear back from them about two submissions. But yeah, I really love that magazine and what they publish and hopefully someday my work will end up there.

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  34. Great intitiative! Maybe, if you’re looking that much for rejections, you should add in a footnote to your work that this is specifically what you’re asking of them. Otherwise, and judging by the quality of your work, you may well be disappointed when multiple approvals will start rolling in.

    Best of luck to you!

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