Getting Rejected

My first submission of the year is, officially, tabled.

That was quick, eh?

Admittedly, when a publication is online there’s a much shorter road from submission to rejection than there is when a postcard is involved.

In this case, the submission was a proposal for an article on Cracked. See, I had this brilliant idea that was going to be all about fictional heroes that a real-world person would in no way actually be able to trust to get the hero business done. I had some great selections—an obscure hero, an indie hero, and a number of movie and video game heroes whose track records are a lot less stellar than their franchises would have you believe.

So I posted the proposal for review.

On Cracked, submissions are put into an open forum where editors and authors alike can offer their opinions and advice. The first bit of feedback I got rambled just a little bit, but had some good points. The three main points I found were these:

  1. My title was confusing. It made it seem like I was suggesting that people in the real world would actually attempt to call these heroes—which was my intent. Rather, I wanted to focus on how these characters as idealized “heroes” had serious flaws that made them more of a last resort.
  2. My introduction was weak. Again, it seemed to the contributor that I was suggesting people would actually try to call these heroes. He also appeared to take issue with the fact that I was trying to apply real-world benchmarks to escapist fantasy (something that Cracked has never, ever done before.
  3. He took particular issue with my inclusion of Solid Snake (of the Metal Gear Solid games) on the list.

But, fair enough. I go through this process not just to get published and paid (although it’s nice), but to improve. So I replied with a re-written title and introduction, both of which were hopefully a little bit clearer, and I included a defense of my selection of Solid Snake.

Then a moderator replied and explained that the list could work, but that:

  1. I would need to cut my more obscure examples—popular examples work better for a larger audience.
  2. I would need to eliminate the heroes on the list whose places were guaranteed only by their track records, not by their actual flaws.
  3. Even then, the list would be very close in theme to an article they had already run—which would make it difficult for them to justify accepting it. I would need to find a new hook to make it stand out from the older article, which would probably leave me needing to start the list over from scratch.

All of which are valid arguments—especially the third point. So the article is tabled. Meanwhile, I work on my next proposal and I keep a file hanging around for this article—on the off chance that I some day come up with a new hook that will make it worth re-submitting.

The big deal about this, however, is that I actually got the idea out of the door. I took something that I wanted to write, turned it into a proposal, and submitted it. And, further, when it wound up rejected I didn’t let it get me down. I just decided it must be time to move on to the next article.

That’s some progress.

One Response to “Getting Rejected”

  1. Fred Says:

    Sorry they didn’t like your proposal enough to let you run with it, but you’re not wrong that the main thing is continuing to write, continuing to submit. Rejection, while never fun, is part of the process.

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