Here’s a link to a very good post I found on the web site of Australian speculative fiction writer Alan Baxter.
Alan points out how important it is to keep submitting your writing; if you’ve done all the right things – polished it up, had others read it, taken advice of the occasional rejection that gives you a personal letter – and you believe in it, sooner or later it will probably sell. He quotes from a fellow writer who recently sold a story after nineteen rejections.
Alan does admit to an embarrassing mistake when he submitted a werewolf detective story to what turned out to be a soft porn magazine.
You really do need to check your markets. This I know from the slush that arrives in my in box every week, not to mention regular review requests for ebooks and adult books when my review blog policy says I don’t review anything I can’t put on my school library shelves after I’ve read it.
I think the reason some people don’t check their markets is because they aren’t sending their stories or review requests to one market at a time, but to a long list they got from their creative writing teacher or from a review blog directory, in hopes that someone on the list will get back to them and save them the time it might take to check which ones might actually buy their story or review their book. Not nice. Someone has to read that, even if they don’t reply. Please don’t do it.
If you’re a young writer, don’t tell the publisher how old you are. Either your book is publishable or it’s not. Sarah Berryman of HarperCollins says that Alexandra Adornetto, who was very young when she submitted her first book, sold it because she submitted professionally and the book was publishable, not because she was fourteen.
Everyone gets rejections. I think I’ve had enough to wallpaper a room. You just have to keep trying, and if you get a personal letter, take notice of the suggestions made. A personal letter usually means they liked it, even if they couldn’t take it. There’s no point in getting upset. Just think about what the reader said, see if it makes sense to you and rewrite. I’ve done this many times.
I remember doing a workshop at a convention once,with Bjo Trimble, a writer, handcrafter and many other things and one thing she said stuck in my head:”Treasure your rejection slips. They prove you’re a writer. Only writers get rejection slips.”
By that standard, I’m many times a writer. ;-)