Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Quick Response is a Good Response

Every writer gets rejections. Lots of them. I won't complain about that fact, right now. Every writers waits weeks and months for some of their rejections. I'm not talking about novels: even short story and flash fiction submissions can take months to get rejected.

We'd all like to get quick responses to our submissions. In his post memorial day miracle, fellow writer and blogger Milo James Fowler recently told of how he wrote, revised and submitted a story and then received an acceptance all in the same day. That doesn't happen often, and the story is truly inspirational.

Yes, we'd all like to get a quick response to our submissions. I have my own quick-response story to share. Last Saturday night I finished re-revising and editing a previously-rejected 400-word flash fiction piece. It's more of a scene, or a vignette, than a standard beginning-middle-end story, which was the stated reason for the first rejection. Using my head, and duotrope's digest, I identified the perfect market; one that loves short sketchy scenes and vignettes. I was a shoe-in. I e-mailed my submission, and like Milo, received a same-day response. Same hour response, actually. To be precise, the return e-mail came 13 minutes after my submission e-mail.

The response was not positive.

So no, a quick response is not always a good response. Sometimes it feel like a slap in the face with a wet towel. Sometimes you spend a week thinking, "Thirteen minutes? That's crazy! Thirteen minutes... how can...?"


Erin Cole said...

Ah, the wet towel, yup. I had a same day response this week, but I'm excited to say that it listed my story on their short list for the anthology.
However last week, I finally received a response from my editor, regarding my book that I sent to her...in December. If kids don't teach you patience, writing will.
Good luck, Bernard. I do enjoy your writing.

Milo James Fowler said...

13 minutes? That's got to be a record. My fastest took the slush reader an hour -- long enough to read my short story, check their blacklist and see that I was already on it, notify the senior editor, and generate the form letter rejection.

Thanks for the link. Far better luck in the future!

Bernard S. Jansen said...

Thanks guys for your support. I'm learning that developing tenacity and personal character is as important as developing writing skills. Encouraging comments like yours really help.

I'm not sure if 13 minutes is a record, but I'm claiming it for now.