Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rejection Ringer: Story behind Unrest


Most of the poems from Unrest went through the rejection-ringer before being accepted. While good writing should stand on its own, I sometimes feel as though a publication credit is as scientific as getting a speeding ticket: Maybe you were speeding, maybe you weren’t, but a certain amount of luck and subjective reasoning counts in the final decision. (Of course, this blog doesn’t encourage speeding.)

Here’s a summary of the poems’ history of those you can read online:

Cuban Customs Attempted to Confiscate her Mangoes: published in Narrative Magazine after 6 rejections; finalist for Narrative Magazine Poetry Contest and won $75.00 

Will You: Published in Storyscape after 10 rejections

Color of the Sea: published in Cortland Review after 1 rejection (learn more about this poem's story here.)

Salty: published in the Examiner after 4 rejections

Before the other poems in Unrest were accepted by Finishing Line Press for publication, some of them went through three to 14 rejections each. The collection as a whole was rejected 9 times before its acceptance by Finishing Line Press.

As I wrote recently in a post about managing your submissions in a spreadsheet, all of your finished work should be out for consideration. Of course, before you submit to them, do your research to find the best home for your piece. And, simultaneously, subscribe to a literary magazine or two. 

Yes, rejection letters take thick skin. Some might say I shouldn’t share these facts because they could be considered shameful. Instead, they are battle wounds and I’m proud of them. I know that I always appreciate the early story (underbelly?) of publications and I hope this information is helpful to you.

Be strong and keep writing, reading and revising. As the Italians shout, “forza!” (strength!)

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