Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer

Tag: rejection

On Rejection

For anyone who writes and seeks to publish their work, rejection is just a fact of life. Many times I’ve started entries like this one decrying how hard it is to get anything published, from a short short story to a novel. Thankfully, I’ve deleted most of them.

Being in a sunnier mood at the moment, I thought I’d offer some more positive thoughts on rejection, trying to put it into perspective.

A reality check, though: being “positive” really just means better coming to grips with what is a very grim reality. Two object lessons that will quantify that grimness:

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.06.26 AM

This is a screen shot from my Duotrope account, which (among other things) tracks submissions. It indicates that of the 31 submissions I’ve sent out over the past 12 months, I have a 4.2% acceptance rate.

Terrible, right? My work must be pretty bad, right? Actually, if you check out the note at the very bottom of this image, you will see that that pathetic 4.2% represents a better than average response rate (from the journals to which I submitted). So much so, Duotrope is congratulating me!

Read the rest of this entry »

On the angry post-rejection e-mail

I’ve never done it. Roxane Gay, editor of PANK, makes me glad I’ve resisted. Great piece that helps to put things in perspective. I’m simultaneously surprised to hear so many writers do this, and also not at all surprised. I recently strongly considered writing back to a journal, “Are you sure?” But that came more from a spirit of joking and wanting to see what, if anything, the editor would say, than from anger. Tucked within the piece is a lot of great, necessary advice for writers on how to deal with rejection. At one point, Gay cites her own rejection rate in Duotrope as being up around 78%. She makes her own point about it, but my first reaction was something like jealousy: surely mine is somewhere in the nineties. Point being, you’re succeeding as a writer if only eight out of ten submissions are rejected. As Gay notes, that’s just the nature of the game. The sooner you acclimate yourself to that, and make rejection the expected outcome of submitting, the better off you will be.

Update: Probably could have seen this coming, but the comments section under the above-referenced blog post has turned into something of a shit show, as they say. The person whose angry post-rejection e-mail to Roxane inspired the post has stepped forward in comments—though not really, as he’s writing under the name “Donny”—to reiterate his points. Which as you might guess, are pretty insipid. Read it if you like car wrecks and that sort of thing. I haven’t seen the comparison show up yet in the comments section, but the whole thing reminds me of this authorial flip-out, which I pontificated on here.