Writing is a field where you can do everything right and still (most likely) get rejected. Even having a well written character, setting, and plot is not always enough.
Many writers are aware of why bad stories get rejected: grammatical errors, boring, cliche, weak passive language, confusing plot, too much or too little description.
But why does a good story get rejected?
The Sci-fi magazine, Fusion Fragment, has a really helpful twitter thread on this topic.
I’ll summarize their reasons here:
- Not a good fit for the particular publication: This is the “It’s not you, it’s me,” of publishing. But it is true. Someone can submit a really well written story that just doesn’t fit in to a particular publication, whether due to style, tone, humor, or other reasons. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the style of a particular publication before you submit your work.
- Controversial Content: There are certain topics that some publishers are hesitant to handle. This can include suicide, bigotry, sexual assault, etc. If you are writing about a touchy subject, proceed with caution. Certain publishers are edgier than others. So if you want to be edgy, do your research.
- Topic Frequency: You may have written an excellent story about alien abduction, for example. But the problem is that the magazine may have already accepted a bunch of stories on this topic and is looking for something else. This is why it’s a good idea to study what particular publishers are looking for, or what they would like more of. Also be aware of what topics have been done so much that editors are sick of reading about them. As far as I am aware, zombies, vampires, and young adult dystopia can be a hard sell for this reason.
Aside from the reasons Fusion Fragment gave, I’ll also add a few of my own.
- Luck: Luck unfortunately is a component of publishing. It’s not everything, but it is a factor. And this factor is out of your control (unless you have a magical lamp somewhere).
- Timing: Your submission may have arrived at a time when perhaps the editor wasn’t in the best mood, or doesn’t like your topic because of something else they recently read that left a sour taste in their mouth. Who knows? But much like luck, you can’t control this.
I hope this was helpful for you. Remember. You can’t control the outcome of who publishes your work. But you can commit to the process. If you commit to getting better and submitting content on a regular basis, you will increase your chances of success.
If you have any comments on this topic, feel free to leave them here.
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