MJ Rose On The Difficulty of Getting Fiction Published

I have self-published three books and have been trying to build my writing credits. But I only have four magazine acceptances in four years of submissions- none for poetry or fiction. I have become increasingly frustrated by the rejections.

Here’s the most puzzling part. As a 34-year journalist, I have earned a 2004 first place award for sports column writing in the state of Pennsylvania, and was one of three finalists for a Western Pennsylvania Golden Quill Award for editorial columns in 2003. Obviously, I am doing something right journalistically, but haven’t been able to make the transition to fiction and poetry. I have submitted to more than 20 publications, more than half of them multiple times.

I have had a number of rejections wherein I was encouraged as in “you were among the final submissions considered.” But that only helps for so long. Recently, I have even lacked the desire to write.

Thanks for reading this. Do you have any suggestions that could be of help?

Paul S. Brittain


The truth is it is so much harder to get poetry and fiction published that I think you are doing a great job with four items getting in print. I know award winning writers who don’t get more than one or two pieces published a year. So my only pieces of advice are : 1- keep submitting – the more you submit and the more often you submit the better your chances, 2- use your journalism credentials, not your self-published credentials and your short fiction poetry credentials in your pitch letter. As much as self publishing is more accepted now than in previous times, many of the better literary journals have little regard for it and will be more impressed by your other credentials. I say this not as someone who agrees with it (I self published my first novel in 1998) but as someone who watches the way this stuff works. 3- Don’t beat yourself up. This is a hard gig and it takes perserverence.

Good luck!!!
M.J. Rose – http://www.mjrose.com – author of The Halo Effect

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