We had around 500 submissions between poetry and fiction. All of them were good. We wanted most of them. We can only take a few.
This is why rejections should never be taken personally. While sometimes it’s a hint that you need to work on something, often it comes down to factors you can’t control.
An example is genre. This submissions period most of what came in was fantasy. Last period it seems like there was an overabundance of sci-fi. No one can predict this, but here’s some tips on how to boost your chances.
- Mash-ups for the money. My job is to create a nice balance of speculative fiction. If I have 100 fantasy stories, I look closer at the other genres that come in. If you can give me a solid horror, sci-fi and/or fantasy blend, your chances just went up because it fits multiple genre. It’s more flexible.
- Stand out by looking pro. It does amaze me when we get a submission with typos and poor formatting. I’m not judging—I’ve submitted plenty of poor looking manuscripts in my past. When I finally learned to submit with Shunn Formatting, my acceptance rates went way up. Click here to see what your manuscript should look like. I’ll get more into why in a later post.
- Fat word count is not a bonus. I am a firm believer in not writing for word count. If the story can be told in 300 words, use 300 words. If it needs 30,000, use 30,000. For a publication like Space and Time, shorter (within reason) is better. We are here to publish authors, the more the better. If I have a choice between two well-written 3,000 word stories or one well-written 6,000 word story, I’ll take the two 3k every time. My sweet spot seems to be 2-5k.
Writing is an art, submitting is a competition and publishing is a business. Keeping these things in perspective will increase your chances of getting a publisher’s yes. Most important, do not get discouraged when you get a rejection. It’s not a judgement on you, or even your writing most of the time. Very often it is simply too much of one thing and not enough of the other.
Whatever the outcome, every time you submit a piece you are a winner. You are way ahead of the masses of want-to-be writers that find reasons to never submit. You are the brave soul that extracted a piece of your secret self, pinned it on paper and tried to sell it. That takes guts, and I applaud you, whatever the result.
Now, do it again in mid-September when we open for #135 submissions.