Saturday, March 24, 2007

Close vs. Not Close at All

I just got a rejection for a story, and apparently it was a close thing. The previous rejection for the same story was also close, really close.

Of course it feels better to come close than otherwise. Or does it? Mostly, it does, and yet there's the frustration of thinking that if you had done something ever so slightly differently, the story would have been accepted. (Leaving aside the question of whether you know what that something is - and whether you would want to change the story, even if you did know.)

I was wondering how other people feel. Which do you feel is worse/better: coming close but not making it, or not coming close at all?


John A. Karr said...

My opinion ... not sure one is better than the other. A "no" is a "no" every time, despite the dicing and what-if's. Sometimes it's Reason A, then Reason B, depending on who is doing the rejecting.

In the past I've made changes based on a couple rejections, only to have another rejection come in, praising some aspect of the story somebody else disliked.

Now, if some editor wrote, "we'll buy it if you do A,B,C ..." that's different.

Chris said...

I think that, in the long term, the close-call is reassuring, in that it assuages your fears that your stuff was truly bottom-of-the-barrel. Hell, there are plenty of fantastic stories out there that are just not my cup of tea, and they deserve to be held seperate from the just-plain-bad.

But I will say this: Rarely has a nowhere-close rejection gotten under my skin. A near-thing, though, particularly for my novel, ALWAYS hurts. Some of them hurt like hell. The way I figure it, they ought to. If they don't, you either don't have enough invested in the work, or you're submitting to the wrong markets.

David said...

Interesting. Thanks for giving your opinions.

With close rejections, in my early days I used to be tempted to write back, objecting strongly and explaining why the editor was wrong, wrong, wrong. Fortunately, I never gave in to that temptation.

No, that's not true. I did do that once, for a non-fiction opinion piece, and the editor, somewhat grumpily, wrote back accepting it. But I never had the courage to try that again.

Lahdeedah said...

I think 'close' is meaningless unless they tell you what it was that made it close but not a sell.

Otherwise you'll spend your days wondering what it is that needs to be changed....