Submitting Goal 2019: 60 Batches!
There’s a widely known challenge among writers to try to push for 100 rejections a year. Now, while no one *actually* likes rejections, what is true is that the more work you send out and the more often you submit, the more you increase your chances of having your work accepted. After all, it’s usually a numbers game anyway. Also, if you’re actually trying for 100 rejections, then each time you get one, it feels like an accomplishment rather than yet another micro-failure.
If you’re interested in learning more about the 100 Rejection Challenge, click here for an article about it in LitHub.
I applaud the 100 Rejection Challenge, and in January, I decided I wanted to try it. My submission game has steadily dwindled over the years, marred by PhD work and deadlines as well as just feeling completely let down by loads and loads of rejections. If you count rejections based on each submission batch being one (rather than each poem counting as one), then I only submitted 13 times total in all of 2018. I was bummed when I realized this.
So, I want to try to up my numbers. For one, I have some really good work I’ve been sitting on for months. Second, you miss out on 100% of what you don’t try, right? Only thing is — 100 rejections a year will stress me out way more than it would help, especially if you count each batch rather than each poem. So, I’m going to work my way up by shooting for 60 submissions this year, rather than 100 rejections. It’s a similar concept. The important thing for me is to submit more, and I don’t feel like I need to count rejections as much as I need to know that rejections will be a huge part of it and accepting that that’s very much okay. Furthermore, I’m breaking it up into five batches per month. This way, I’m not overburdened, and I can stagger submissions so as to not have too many out during each cycle (I don’t feel like writing to 30 journals to withdraw when a lucky orphan-poem finds a new home, if I can help it). Also, I’m going to blog about my process each month so as to hopefully hold myself (publicly) accountable.
Good luck to all writers sending your hard-work out into the publishing ethers. It’s cold out there in the void.
I know I’ve made the right choice when 4/5 January submissions were technically sent off in February. To be fair though, I only decided to start this challenge on January 24. One of the elements of publishing that takes the longest is to figure out what journals/magazines are publishing what you’re writing/who will be into your work. Since so much of my manuscript is based in Louisiana, I’m looking for Louisiana-based journals in addition to journals who will be interested in my aesthetic.
For January, I submitted to…
- Gulf Coast (online)
- New Orleans Review (online)
- New Delta Review
- Ninth Letter
(January Submissions finished February 5th).
The day after I finished my January submissions, I pushed myself to go ahead and finish February submissions, as well. It was NOT easy. I got really outdone really fast, and as I’m trying to finish up a manuscript, it felt like I was taking important time away from editing and writing. However, I knew it was important because February and March are about to get really busy for me, and now February is done. I likely won’t submit in March until the end of the month because of both other commitments and to give time for what I’ve submitted in January/February to cycle through. Side note: I spilled coffee all over my bed yesterday after I finished posting my update. Submitting is a messy business.
For February, I submitted to…
(February Submissions finished February 6th).
This challenge has really gotten away from me. I will say that since I’ve made such productive headway on a couple of projects (like finishing my manuscript and submitting it to several presses) I really shouldn’t feel too terrible. Also, I’m committed to seeing this challenge through, even if I get behind some months; for instance, it’s the end of April, and I’ve only just finished March submissions (insert grimace emoji). Based on some wonderful advice I got, I decided for March to concentrate on newer literary journals. This is of course contingent on which journals are accepting submissions at this time and which seemed to be a possible good fit for my poems. Overall, I found three new journals/magazines to send to poems to. For April submissions (which I’ll probably start on next weekend), I think I am going to submit only to British journals. Maybe British and Irish. Or, maybe only send to Irish magazines in May (insert thinking emoji). I do want to confess that already this challenge has proven to be… well… a challenge. I’ve almost hit the number I submitted to for the full year last year, and it’s only the third month of submissions.
For March, I submitted to…
- The Matador Review
- River Styx
- Lily Poetry Review
- The Middle House Review
(March submissions finished April 28th)
So, it’s June, and I’m just now finishing April submissions. Shame, shame, shame! I’ve made the decision to take a break for May, June, and July submission months instead of trying to rush to catch up. I’ve hit a period of stress, so I feel that I need to give myself time to improve and heal other areas of my life before I get back to submission stress. My goal may have been 60 submissions, but I need to tell the perfectionist who inhabits my body that goals can change and transform. Also, if I include manuscript submissions, I will hit 60 anyway. The point of this challenge has been to up my submission game. Where that’s concerned, I’ve already submitted more this year than I have any year previous. So, that’s already a mega-win. Anyway, I’ll be back in August. Hope anyone who is out there reading this is doing well.
For April, I submitted to…
- Poetica Review
- Phantom Drift
- The Chattahoochee Review
- The Rupture
(April submissions finished June 27th)
MAY, JUNE, & JULY
On a break from submissions. Peace, peeps. See you in August.