This morning, my short story “A Sound Like Glass Raindrops” went live on the site of Unsung Stories.
On my first birthday, a swarm of hummingbirds descended upon the house. They lined the power-lines, shimmered across bushes, feathered our roof. My mother panicked, remembering hummingbirds outside the hospital window the day I was born. But the birds just sat. Just watched. Perched on my nursery windowsill, they blinked their sand-grain eyes at me in my nana’s arms. When my mother entered they shuffled raspy wings and tapped the glass with needle beaks, but did nothing.
I’ll be honest, the acceptance letter I received only a few days earlier floored me. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I had seen their data on the Grinder, and thought to myself, “Okay, they seem to accept about 2 stories for every 100 they get, I’m probably going to get a flat rejection.” There was a lot of red on their graph. To add to my grouchy-writer-ness, A Sound Like Glass Raindrops has been almost everywhere I could send it. Eight places, Unsung Stories was the ninth. It hit the slush piles of places like Apex, Plasma Frequency, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Bracken, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Podcastle, and others I can’t think to remember. A few sent me to the second round of consideration, but no thumbs up.
And here’s another thing: it isn’t the kind of story publishers normally seem to take. It’s sort of innocent and simple, with fairy-tale-like magic. A bit of tweaking, and it could be a children’s book. I was beginning to give up on anyone ever seeing the magic in it that I did.
I had exactly 0% expectation of an acceptance from Unsung Stories, but I had to try my chances. Somehow, they loved it.
Which thrilled me. Seriously, I screamed a little.
And also made me think.
As a writer, it’s so tempting to give up on my stories after a few rejections. When I started out, one rejection (maybe two) would mean the story never saw light again. I have since changed my thinking and brought some of my old stories back into the race, but the feeling still lingers. These days, I tell myself, and I’ve heard other writers advise this as well, that the very minute you get a rejection, you throw the story back out to someone new. It lessens the sting, and gives the story new purpose at a new place.
This is the writer’s life. As Dori would say, we “keep swimming”, and try to remember that editors are rejecting our story, not us.
So I suppose I’m meaning this as an encouraging little blog post. I got eight rejections for this story before it found the right home. Don’t give up on your stories. Someone out there will love them just as much as you do.
Believe in them.
Believe in yourself.