Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I sent another story back out today. This now makes two rejections for my short story "The Hit". On one side of the brain, I hear a voice high in the stratosphere, wailing out the old Queen lyrics: "And another one gone, and another one gone, and another one bites the dust." Then, there's a second voice coming from the opposite side, and this one sounds strangely like John Kerry: "Bring. It. On!"

As writers, we know that rejection is a way of life. Sure it's painful. Sure I would like to feel like the planets are aligned, that we've found a cure for cancer, and that may "God bless us every one!" (Say it again, Tiny Tim. Just one more time.) But like everything else in the world--whether it's the long, drawn-out wait in the doctor's reception area, or watching a loved-one experience a slow, agonizing trial--my mind always comes back to the same mantra: This, too, shall pass. So, out the story goes like a grown up child, with a gentle boot in the rear by her parent. "Carry on, my loved one. Grow wings and fly."

It's hard to face rejection, but I am determined to accept it for what it is--just another part of the business.

And business it is. Part of what I do for my stories--to follow their rejections and acceptances--is to track them with a spreadsheet. Okay, I'll pause for a brief moment to allow those of you out there to cackle and laugh at the CPA who has found another use for spreadsheets...

[Tune from Jeopardy plays softly in the background]

I have set up columns for Titles, Publisher, Date Sent, Date of Response, Accept/Reject, Compensation. And for each story, I have a row for each Publisher submitted. This makes it easy to see how many times I have received a rejection. Once a story garners five rejections, then I stop and consider whether I need to really revise. And now that we're into the first quarter of the year, with my last column I can easily see how much money I made for tax purposes.

How about you? How do you keep track of things?


  1. I rely on Duotrope's tracking tool. I've tried other things: spreadsheets. index cards, chalkboard, wildly unreliable memory... Duotrope's tool is the only thing that really clicked in my brain. Plus it's accessible anywhere I have internet access. I'm sure that will come in handy someday when I'm out on my 60 city book tour :)

  2. I didn't even know that Duotrope had a tracking tool. It shows how much I pay attention to all of the features Duotrope has to offer. I'll have to check that out.

    Thanks for the info.