It has been an interesting week. By interesting, I mean shitty. Scads of rejections from very appreciative editors who just couldn't bring themselves to publish my stories. A couple of equally impressed but not quite impressed enough agents who look forward to reading more of my work.
This is also the week in which the Million Writers Award announces its 10 finalists. Read the stories and vote for your favorite. As I donated $300 to the award this year, please make sure you really pick your favorite and not just the most recognizable name on the list.
Today I received an email newsletter from the Kenyon Review. In it, an excerpt from a short story by Nancy Zafris. Here is a link to the full story. Read it.
After you have finished reading these stories, ask yourself why were they published? If you can answer that question, you are full of bull, because really nobody knows.
Therein lies the secret of publishing. Nobody knows why one story is published and another isn't. We (by we, I mean editors) like to pretend we know, but we don't. Our decision making process is as complex and fickle as the weather, affected by the beat of a butterfly's wings half a world away. A story rejected today might not have been rejected two weeks before, or two weeks from now.
Remember this when your story is rejected for the fourteenth time. Many stars and planets must first align before that magic moment can happen. All you can do is write it the best you can and keep sending it out. And if you entertain magical ideas and superstitions about how you submit your stories for publication, know that you are neither crazy nor alone.