Learning Your Audience: The Benefits of Submitting to Literary Journals, Grants, and Residencies (Even If You Don’t Get In!)

by Rachael Warecki

Two years ago, I decided I needed to focus my submission process. I’d received acceptances from some wonderful journals, but I’m ambitious as hell and I wanted to take my writing and submission goals to the next level. Around the same time, I also decided to apply for grants and residencies, so I started to target my submissions and applications more strategically.

As I’ve written previously, this approach has had some success, mostly in the form of personal rejections. But the editorial notes and feedback have given me more than just warm, fuzzy feelings of validation—they’ve given me a better sense of my most receptive audience. In the two years since I decided to submit more strategically, I’ve discovered that my writing seems to appeal mostly to editors and directors who are women. The judges and editors who’ve written me the warmest rejections have identified as women or represented women-centric organizations, or both.

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How and Why To Hang In There When Rejection Gets You Down

by Toni Ann Johnson

When Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo (WWS Cofounder and blog manager) posted on the private Women Who Submit Facebook page a couple of weeks ago asking if we wanted to do a monthly rejection brag, I shuddered. Boast about my failures? Uh, pass.

Well. Then I got an acceptance on a short story after 3 years and 56, yes 56 effin’ rejections. And I guess I did brag about it, though it’s not the rejections I was proud of; it was the fortitude.

So here I am, the oft rejected and ashamed (until I’m not) submitter, here to offer encouragement about why you should remain persistent, too.

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The Rejection Game

by Loren Rhoads

In January 2012, I read a blog post that set me on fire. Business coach, Tiffany Han was aiming to get 100 rejection letters that year. Her goal was not really the rejections themselves, but to stretch, force herself out of her comfort zone, take some risks, and see where she could land. I was inspired by the thinking behind the project, which made collecting rejections a game as opposed to wallowing in the sting of them.

I’ve been on both sides of the editor’s desk, so I understand that things get rejected for a lot of different reasons: too long, too short, not to the editor’s taste, they just published something similar, they’re overstocked, they’re changing direction, you’ve hit one of the editor’s pet peeves… As much as I know that I am not my work and I as a person am (probably) not being personally rejected, it still hurts. Continue reading