Why the Submission Process is A Lot Like Shopping

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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.’


  1. This is true, Lidy. Sometimes the things we love just don’t doggone fit. I think it’s up to us as writers to hone our craft and surround ourselves with supportive people so that when the rejections come, we are able to handle them in stride and say, “Hey; just because they didn’t say yes doesn’t mean that someone else down the road won’t. I still believe in myself and know that I’m a good writer.” This was good. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome Quanie. And you’ve got it right. A writer should surround themselves with a support system. And have confidence. Don’t let the sting of rejection deter from submitting. Just like you said, it just wasn’t a doggone fit. For them.


  2. I love the analogy. Submission work is like shopping and it can take a while before you find the perfect piece, the one thing that matches you completely. But I think you gave the best advice you could when you said not to give up. That;s the most important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Olivia. It’s easy to give up when your work gets declined. But if you keep at it, sooner or later your writing will find the perfect home for it.


  3. There’s a sign on the wall at the gym my husband and I go to. It says, “You’re going to want to give up. DON’T!” I think the same thing could apply to the writing and submitting process. So, don’t give up, Lidy. It may take more time, but it will happen. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this metaphor. Submitting and getting rejected is HARD, no two ways about it, and the more I can think of it not as a rejection but more as a bad fit, the better I feel. Each story/poem/essay has a home, and I just need to find the right one. Like any good dress 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi,
    I saw you put my guest post on Flipboard. You are on WordPress.com like I am, and I see you don’t have a Flipboard share button. How did you do it? Thanks.


  6. Hi Lidy! This is encouraging, I just received my first manuscript rejection yesterday. And it was a bit of a blow to my ego. I never thought of it as shopping, though. I like that analogy…I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s not personal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry about the rejection. It hurts to have your manuscript, something that you pour so much of yourself into, get rejected. That’s why you shouldn’t let it discourage you. Just keep writing and honing your craft. And keep calm and ‘shop’ around. Good luck with your manuscript and thanks for stopping by.


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