This isn’t my first rejection.
In fact, this isn’t even my first rejection from Glimmer Train. And that’s why it still hurts. My log here, the Submission Tracker, shows that my last attempt to get into Glimmer Train was 2013. Three years of improving my craft, and I can’t even get on the list of honorable mentions for their New Writers contest. What a waste.
The editors of Glimmer Train did email me to tell me that The College Station All-Male Feminist Union was a good read. Smacks of a form letter, I know, but I sent they a thank you and they responded by saying they look forward to my next story, so maybe their rejection isn’t as harsh as I make it out to be.
Going forward, I have two things to do before I try to get The College Station All-Male Feminist Union published again.
First off: I’ll try somewhere other than Glimmer Train. GT is still a good magazine, and I still hope to publish something there soon. But the satirical, tense, and (dare I say it?) rooted-in-American-experience nature of TCSAMFU doesn’t fit with a magazine that wants literary, introspective slices-of-life from a life outside of mainstream U.S. culture. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from the stories I’ve read in their magazines so far. The next story will have to match their interests.
The next step will be to take my story to other readers. That’s where websites like Scribophile and Critique Circle come in. What are they? They’re actually the successful versions of an idea I had independently, but an idea that I never had the resources to pull off. Writers post their work on Critique Circle or Scribophile for others to critique. You critique someone’s work, you get points based on how many words you use in commenting. When you get enough points, you spend them on publishing your own work. People review your work for points, and then the cycle begins again.
I used to use Scribophile, but I will now be posting my story on Critique Circle for reasons that are too embarrassing to post here. The main problem with Scribophile is that it’s popular to the point where you have to wait a month to get feedback. That’s why, a long time ago, I created a group called ‘The Line Is Too Damn Long,’ where I limit the pool of writers to about 50 or so. Check it out.
There will be more rejections in the coming months. But I imagine they’ll hurt less and less as I go on. In the meantime, I’ll leave all you aspiring writers with the song you need…
(Ok, fine, I’ll tell you why I’m not part of Scribophile anymore. I knew I needed a lot of karma, so I thought I was being clever. I gave a 500 word critique to a story yesterday— not as long as my usual ones, but still in-depth and answering the author’s questions regarding their work. I thought I’d pad out my review by typing “STOP READING HERE” at the end and then posting a few chapters from “My Immortal.” The reader gets a good critique, I get extra points, it all works out pretty well.
I log in today to find out that I’ve been permanently banned from Scribophile. I cannot create a new account, and all my work there has been deleted. No warning, no inquiry, just one slip-up and I’m gone. Looking back, I think there may have been a bot that detected plagiarism on the site, though I have no idea why it’s programed to remember one of the worst fanfics of all time. I sent an apology email to the man behind the website, but… yeah, I screwed up. I fought the law and you know the rest.)