Somewhere Between No and Yes

Last October I mentioned being somewhat encouraged that two of my stories had been “short listed” by magazine editors. Even then I knew that “you made the final cut” is not the same as “we’re going to publish your story,” but I figured my chances were pretty good that one or the other would break through. For at least four months I heard nothing more from either editor.

Finally one of them let me know he’d decided to decline the story. I didn’t have hard feelings, because he’d suggested some rewrites to the story which I feel improved it, so even though he ended up not taking the story I feel at least I came away with a better story.

Last month I was about to query the other editor because five months had passed with no word, and the magazine’s web site had not been updated at all in that time. I had a bad feeling, not so much about my story’s chances, but with the magazine’s future, and before I got around to querying I learned the place was shutting down and all stories held for consideration were released.

So, lesson learned. Two stories shortlisted resulted in one delayed rejection, one dead magazine, and zero publications.

Yesterday I received a note from another editor informing me that my submission has been shortlisted and the editors will be voting on which stories to take for their next issue within 3-4 weeks. I’d be more excited or encouraged if I hadn’t just had the experiences just mentioned, but still, this is better than a rejection. I’m trying to figure out where to locate this on the psychological scale between absolute no and absolute yes. Somewhere right in the middle, I guess. Fingers crossed.

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