You know what I got for Christmas? 3 rejection slips from major short fiction publishers: two paper, one electronic. Oh, and I also got the rest of the DVD sets to complete my collection of Star Trek: The Next Generation — major happy dance, that — but I wanted to point out those rejection slips, along with a statistic, to drive home the point that even when you’re professionally published, rejection never stops.
The 2010 statistic: 68 rejection slips, 4 sales.
I know, I don’t want to think about it either. I used to subscribe to the fiction that once you broke in — got your foot in the door of the publishing world — the contracts and sales would fall on your head. You’d be able to sell everything and anything. Sadly, ‘taint so. Yes, those rejection slips will become more detailed and more nicely worded, with specifics as to why a story didn’t work for a particular editor, and best wishes on the next try.
But a rejection is a rejection is a rejection, and they don’t stop coming just because you have a bit of success. I think that’s worth noting, all of you out there in Aspirant Land who are still working hard for your first professional fiction sales. Please gird your loins for the truth: even after that break-in sale, you’re going to have to keep working, keep expecting rejection, and you absolutely must not let rejection slow you down, stop you, or fool you into thinking the first sale was a fluke.
2011 approacheth. That is all, carry on.
Oh, and get your gottdamned manuscripts in for Writers of the Future. Deadline is this Friday! There are 12 empty seats waiting for you in Los Angeles. Volume #28 awaits. Get to it. Miss no opportunity.