Rejection is a doggedly unattractive fact of life for all writers, no matter how brilliant the scribe. To add salt to the proverbial wound, many writers are introverted and sensitive, making the inevitable rejection that much worse. The Fiction Flurry writers would like everyone to know that yes, we too have been rejected, and we use our rejections as a tool to help each other avoid mistakes. Thursdays are our day to share our rejections with you.
Here's my rejection story:
I took an online course on writing magazine articles through the Writers Digest website. It was helpful, and when the class was over I had a fairly polished article about Abraham Lincoln's three trips to the Ohio Statehouse. The problem was that I had written the article as a timely piece for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, which was in 2009. I completed the article in March 2009 and began to market it right away, knowing time was short. Lincoln's first visit to the Ohio Statehouse was in September 1859, so I thought it might be attractive for some Ohio based magazine's September 2009 issue.
There are only so many magazines for and about Ohio. There are even fewer that focus on Ohio history, so I had a very narrow market with which to work. I did send out multiple submissions, feeling it was necessary with the limits of the article's relevancy. My first choice was Timeline, a magazine published by the Ohio Historical Society. Some publications will specify the required lead time in their guidelines, but Timeline's website did not indicate the average span from submission to publication. I took a shot anyway. What could it hurt? I submitted my MS in March 2009 with the hopes of a September publication.
A YEAR LATER, I received a form letter rejection from Timeline. I was obviously too late for Timeline's timeline. My lesson? For unsolicited manuscripts, evergreen is key. I could re-work the article to make it relevant now, but 2009 was a big year for Lincoln, and I may have missed my opportunity.
If you'd like to read the doomed (yet informative) article, here's a link: