Thursday, 28 September 2017

Rejection reaction

I've just had a rejection from The People's Friend. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised as so far that's the result of all my submissions to this particular market, but this one made it as far as Shirley (the big boss) so I was more optimistic than usual.

Naturally I'm disappointed - no one wants a rejection - but I'm already thinking about suitable ideas for another story to send to The Friend. This is the only one of the magazines which I submit to that hasn't accepted anything of mine and I'm determined to complete the set!

What do you do after a story is rejected (I'm rashly assuming that you do, at least occasionally, have work rejected). Does it make you want to give up with that piece, or that market, or are you spurred on to try again?


carrie said...

Commiserations Patsy :( I can't get on PF wavelength either, but keep trying. Every time I think I've got a friend story, it comes back :( Like you I'm determined, as to my mind, what one person dislikes, another will. Even reading their mags I can't get it....yet! Hope springs eternal or something, eh! Carrie

Sharon Noothroyd said...

Hi Patsy
With PF, it got to the point where I'd just had enough. I too, had feedback from Shirley. I saw this as really encouraging.
I thought I was an 'almost there' PF writer.
So I kept on trying - and getting nowhere.
Yes, they encourage new writers, but the story must be the required length or they won't bother with it.
You are waiting a long time for a decision on stories that aren't their required length.
As I find it hard to write longer fiction (and especially tailor it to a certain mag's style and tone) it put the tin hat on it.
I don't know how womag writers starting out are supposed to grapple with this. For me, it's simply a hurdle I can't jump over.

Bea Charles said...

After the initial knock-back, I do look to see if I can work out why it didn't fit that particular market. If you heard back from Shirley then hopefully she'll have given you some reasons, rather than one of the pro-forma rejections. Sometimes I think I maybe try too hard to 'match' a style. You know the sort of thing: sisters, tick; cats, tick; descriptive passage, tick. But by so doing we stifle our creativity and the story doesn't zing.

Lindsay said...

I've never cracked the WoMag market at all. Tried several different mags including PF. Still, today I did get a couple of fabulous things said about my story in Stories for Homes 2 anthology which I originally wrote for a woman's mag and was rejected by at least two. It was a bit reshuffled for the new publication.

So I guess, the message is keep trying - if not this magazine, maybe another?

Anonymous said...

Someone (possibly on here) once said that all rejections are just remarking opportunities. I try to keep that in mind. I always remarket, rewrite and sometimes resubmit. I've had previously rejected stories accepted by the same editor. I've sold lots of my rejections. As for the PF market and Shirley's feedback, Shirley takes so much time to explain why a story doesn't work, it's a great part of the learning process for me. She must work very hard. I've often taken her advice and after a rewrite have sold the story to a different market - sometimes a much higher paying one! Good wishes Kate Hogan.

Patsy said...

@ Carrie, PF do have a distinct style which some people find easier to crack than others. Hopefully we'll get there.

@ Sharon, it's true PF have requirements for certain word lengths and the tone must be right for them - but the same is true of the other mags too. These requirements do vary of course, so it's totally understandable and sensible for you to concentrate your efforts on markets which want stories of the lengths and style you prefer to write.

@ Bea. Yes, I was given a reason for the rejection from Shirley, plus feedback from another editor. That helps a little.

@ Lindsay, that's a good reminder that a rejection doesn't automatically mean a story isn't publishable - just that one particular magazine is unable to use it. Well done on finding a home for one of your previously rejected pieces.

@ Kate, I always give stories another chance too - and if I've been fortunate enough to get feedback from an editor I take that into account. Often it's a case of second or third time lucky.

Linda Lewis said...

It took me ten years. Just don't give up and you will succeed. I spent a whole weekend doing nothing but reading and analysing PF stories. I had thought that because I wasn't a typical PF reader, i.e. No family, etc, I would never crack that market but after my intensive weekend, thinking about the emotional reaction the stories are designed to evoke, I sold the next story I sent them. Also, you can rewrite and resubmit, especial when you almost got there this time. Hope this helps.

Unknown said...

Hi Patsy,

Like you, I've never been successful with the People's Friend before but recently I found two of my submissions being sent on to the 'senior team' after some feedback from one of the editors and some subsequent minor tweaking. It's the furthest I've ever got with PF and I haven't heard back yet so keeping my fingers crossed that Shirley will like them.

It is really hard after a rejection especially when there's no feedback or indication where you've gone wrong (which is the great thing about PF, at least you get a couple of lines feedback about why it wasn't suitable). I always feel dejected at the time but then if I re-read one of my favourite stories that WAS accepted and remind myself that I can write a good story, it boosts my confidence.

It's a tough market though. Especially now PF are the only mag accepting unsolicited material.


ados123 said...

Being rejected is never nice but at least People's Friend do offer some feedback.
For information Shirley has just written a blog on word lengths for People's Friend. I've had stories rejected by them because they were the wrong length.


Clare Cooper said...

On WW, we never outright rejected stories we liked just because they were the wrong length. We asked the writer to either cut it back or extend it (if the plot could take it). On occasion, we even did this bit ourselves. I was surprised to read this!

Cathy Cade said...

I feel SO much better after reading all these. I've just had another story (my third) rejected by PF. Sadly there aren't any other womags who will read it now, since I haven't been published by them either - the market seems to have contracted alarmingly since I gained enough confidence to submit stories :(. (Just call me Mrs. Jonah.) This story's being re-edited (again) for a competition (although I don't usually see a womag-targeted story as competition material - this one comes with feedback).
But lately I've had one flash fiction accepted for an anthology and have been shortlisted in a local press's short story comp, so... small steps.

Julia Thorley said...

I haven't cracked PF either. I'm tempted to give up since the last time they rejected my story as being far-fetched but it was based on something that had actually happened! I try not to brood and send stuff out again asap.

Penny A said...

Interesting comments! I'm actually more successful with PF than elsewhere... but it took a long while. Editorial comment is always kindly given and can be helpful, so I never take a rejection at face-value. [Unless someone says outright 'Sorry Not This One!' of course :-) then I retire that story as gracefully as possible. Or maybe recycle the theme with a different background!] I love writing historical stories, and while PF isn't the only magazine that accepts them, it is the one I think of first. Even then, such a tale usually needs some modern relevance to be acceptable. The usual reason I get asked to rewrite stuff? That the tale doesn't contain enough heartfelt emotion... so, think Human Relationships in all their glory and just keep going, I'd say!

Patsy said...

@ Linda - I'm not going to check how long I've been trying with PF in case it's longer than ten years!

@ Lisa - we're getting closer! (There are other mags who accept unsolicited fiction - perhaps I need to do a post on that?)

@ Alyson - yes, there's often useful feedback from PF. Thanks for the link - I'd missed that post.

@ Clare - this does seem to be a fairly new issue. With the decrease in the number of places taking unsolicited work, I fear editors will be forced to get stricter about such things.

@ Catherine, It helps to know it's not just us getting rejections, doesn't it? btw There aren't as many other mags to try as there used to be, but there are some (I think ithere are eight which consider unsolicited work.)

@ Julia - I've come across the 'too far fetched' for something that really happened before. Oddly making a true event sound convincing is really difficult!

@ Penny - Your higher success rate with them shows that they have their own particular requirements. Well done for meeting them!