This happens to me a lot, and I’m sure to you as well sometimes. I’d walk into a store, either my favorites Dress Barn or Loft. Or a store I’ve never shopped at before. Because something in their window display caught my eye.
Anyways, I go in and try on some clothes. Going back and forth from the clothes rack to the dressing room. Only to come out empty handed. Feeling heart broken I couldn’t take home the blue and white, color blocked dress. Why? Well there are a lot of reasons. For example, it was over my budget. The store didn’t have it in a larger size. It looked great on the mannequin but not on me, etc…
Anyways, I was checking my submission tracker when this thought just floated into my head. The submission process is a lot like shopping. You have a journal or press or zine you’ve always loved. You adore the poems, shorts and or nonfiction they publish. You’re a fan of one of the editors. Or the cover design of their issues piqued your interest to read what’s inside.
You felt some camaraderie. And thought a beautiful publishing relationship could be born between you. After all, you’re a writer too. You’re sure that you’d be a perfect fit for them. Then you get declined. Hurts doesn’t it?
By no means it’s because you yourself are no good. It’s just that the editors are also shopping around too. The submission process is a two way street. They’re also looking for that perfect outfit, a piece of writing that’s a great fit for their publication.
You may think you’re piece is perfect for them. Yet the editor(s) feels that what you’ve submitted isn’t quite right for them. Sometimes, they’ll even reach out to you. Offering explanation(s) why your creation was declined. Or what they did like about it.
So don’t give up hope. Hone your craft, keep submitting to that particular publication. Submit to new places as well. Keep shopping around. And you never know, you may come out with an ‘accepted.’