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Declined Work (formerly rejected)

I read somewhere or heard sometime this year about aiming for 100 rejections/declines and to celebrate when it is achieved. Because it means I have written that many, and it’s a good thing.

I keep track, kind of, and I think it is a good idea if I record them here to share with others the comments I receive. Form rejections I will not include.

Most of my work is tracked via Duotrope, and where it isn’t I list it in a spreadsheet on my computer. But that’s where the kind of comes in. It is easy to forget. Many magazines use Submittable, and it is another way of tracking my work. Hopefully, I will gather it all.

Some stories I sent out more than once at separate times. I try to send to companies promising a swift turnround. If my life expectancy is twenty years waiting six months is a large percentage of that time compared to someone with a 60-year life expectancy. Many magazines now accept simultaneous submissions which I appreciate too.

It is a New Year, but since I last posted, I have several declines. But the one I am including came with advice.


  • We’d be happy to review a future draft, but as it stands your submission needs Beta Reader feedback and revision and we cannot accept it at this time.

This is the first time I have had such a comment. I emailed my beta reader to ask if she could beta reader science fantasty. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If she can’t, I will have to search around.

I will begin with April when I signed up toDuotrope.

April – 3 submissions – 3 publishers

No result from any of them. After sending queries, I discoverd two of them had closed. The third replied explaining they are now reading work from April. I expect to hear within six or eight weeks.

May –  28 submissions – 13 publishers. Yes. I went mad.

Tell Tale Inklings accepted two poems and one short story from the five pieces I submitted. I learned this a few weeks ago. A lengthy delay. After a query, I was asked to resubmit because they could not find them. The success result was within six weeks after that.

Other Comments:

  • Though we aren’t able to accept this manuscript, it is always possible that future manuscripts may find a home with us, and we hope you’ll consider us for future submissions. Additionally, please remember that publishing is quite subjective, and what doesn’t work for one publisher may work for another so we wish you the best of luck in placing this manuscript elsewhere.
  • We appreciate having the chance to read it, but unfortunately, this piece isn’t for us.
    Thanks again, and don’t hesitate to send us further submissions in the future.
    Best of luck with your writing.
  • Thank you for your submission. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, we are unable to find a place for your work in this issue of Jenny. We are honored to have read your work and we hope that you’ll consider submitting to Jenny in the future.

June – 25 submissions – 12 publishers.
I withdrew two pieces, one is pending, one accepted and the rest declined. The Painting was published in Into the Void, and has since been nominated for The Best Short Fictions 2017 anthology.


  • Thank you for sending us ‘Three Voices, One Dream’. Although we are unable to accept this work for publication, we enjoyed it, and we hope you will send us more of your work. We wish you luck and success with all of your writing.

This same magazine, declined my second submission with a simple ‘declined.’

July – 7 submissions – 4 publishers.
After a query, one was lost and resubmitted.

Comments: (My favourite Decline from Dark Passages Publishing)

  • Thank you for submitting your heart, your months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds of dedication to the written word on paper, your work. Yes, your work. Thank you for sharing it with us. We enjoyed considering Autumn Burning.
    Unfortunately, Autumn Burning is not a snug fit for Dark Passages Publishing at this time. It is well-written and the language is beautiful, which allowed us to quickly read and make a decision, but it doesn’t quite have the edge we’re currently looking for in a manuscript. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have another manuscript you’ve just finished or will be finishing in the near future we’d love to read and discuss.
    We appreciate your consideration of Dark Passages Publishing as a home for your work. 

August – 1 submission – 1 publisher.

September – 2 submissions – 2 publishers.
Both declined.

October – 11 submissions – 8 publishers.
Three pending response, the rest declined.


  • Thank you for sending us ‘The Ketoi Dancer’. While we read it with great interest, we’re afraid that it doesn’t suit our needs right now, and so we’re going to pass. However, we’d be delighted to read more of your work in the future.
    We thought the difficult topic was sensitively handled. We wish you best of luck with this piece.
  • We rarely go for drabbles because it’s so difficult to make such short pieces feel like fully fleshed out stories, but we did feel like they had promise. Ultimately, though, they did not feel quite like complete narratives and we did feel that each might have benefitted from being developed into longer pieces with scene work.
    Feel free to submit other pieces to us in the future, but please wait a couple of weeks before submitting again. Thanks for giving us the chance to look at your work, and we hope to hear from you again!
  • After careful review of your submission, Lyrical is unable to offer contract at this time. Please remember, this is a subjective business, and what may not work for one publisher could be a good fit for another. I wish you the best with your writing career and have every confidence you will find a home for your work.
  • …did not place in the July/August Very Short Fiction Award this time, we’re glad to have read the piece and hope to see more of your work in the future!
  • While not quite right for our next issue, we did enjoy the style of these — thanks for sending!

November – 12 submissions – 8 publishers. Two are competitions.
One declined so far. The remainder are still pending a response.

Hold your breath, and watch this space.


Latest Decline from Asimov’s Magazine:

  • …We appreciate your taking the time to send it in for our consideration.  Although it does not suit the needs of the magazine at this time, we wish you luck with placing it elsewhere.