You’ve written an article, a poem, or a piece of flash fiction. You’ve edited and polished it to a golden glow. Your experienced writer friend has even read it and confirms the piece is, indeed, publication ready. So you send the item out and wait, only to receive…a rejection.
Oh, such is the life of the writer. However, I’m here to tell you not to lose heart. Just resubmit. I do and, since I’ve started this practice, my freelancing income has increased by about 35%.
Through the years, I’ve learned there can be many reasons why an editor chooses to reject a perfectly fine piece. She may be having a bad day. She may be having a good day. She may be having a clumsy day and spill her coffee all over your manuscript, rendering it unreadable. (Yes, this actually happened to me. I received a coffee-stained copy of my manuscript via return mail with a note saying the editor had rejected it since she could not read the smudged ink). So, with this in mind, I allow my muse to rest one day a month and, on that day, I review my submissions list for any rejected items that could be sent elsewhere.
For example, I am a frequent contributor to three Christian devotional publications. So, when the editor of one magazine rejects a devotional, I tweak the format as necessary and send it off to the next publication. Since doing so, my acceptance rate in that arena has gone from 25% to 75%. Not too shabby. But you don’t write Christian devotions, you say? Doesn’t matter. The same concept holds true for parenting magazines, children’s publications, gardening magazines, sports magazines, and so on.
You can also resubmit an item to the same publication more than once. That’s worked for me, too. When Chicken Soup for the Soul rejected my personal essay “What is Your Feather?” because it wasn’t right for their Grieving Hearts collection, I resubmitted it to their A Book of Miracles title. Not only was it accepted for that title, the editor liked it so much the story was featured in one of their online newsletters. Another time, a magazine feature I wrote was rejected because the editor had already reached her quota of how-to articles for the year. No problem. I waited six months, changed the format, leaving out my how-to bullet list, and resubmitted the article. Yep, that got accepted too.
But what about resubmitting the exact same piece to the same publication with no changes? Go ahead. Don’t be shy. That works also. Another one of my personal essays entitled “A Lesson on Family” was rejected by a regional women’s magazine. I waited about a year and a half, sent it out again, and the same editor that rejected it the first time accepted it on the second go around.
And contests? Resubmit, I say. My poem “Easter Bread” was passed over in a Walt Whitman poetry and recipe competition yet took honorable mention a few months later in a local contest judged by our county’s poet laureate. It wasn’t a payday, but the awards reception was a nice afternoon out with some fine fellow poets.
Resubmitting is such a simple concept. Yet sometimes, we, as writers, become so busy creating new work that we forget about the treasures that lay amongst our rejections. You know your work is good. So go ahead. Resubmit! You have nothing to lose and you might just get an acceptance in return.
Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island. Her work has been included in such publications as The Upper Room, The Secret Place, His Mysterious Ways, Woman’s World, and many editions of both the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. She has recently embarked on her newest venture, a book about a fictional Long Island tourist town and its cast of quirky characters.