Sheree Renée Thomas as new F&SF Editor

alexvss

Just a Latin American Lad.
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Author Sheree Renée Thomas is the new editor-in-chief of traditional The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as Charles Coleman Finlay steps down to work on his own writing. Sheree officialy began working at the turn of the year. I already got rejected twice.

It is widely known (as he posted on his blog) that CC Finlay had three boilerplates for rejections. If he said, "the story didn't quite grab me", he didn't like the hook and dropped after a few paragraphs. That was the case for the majority of his letters. However, if he said, "the story didn't win me over" he read it through, but it didn't convince him to buy. I've got two rejections of the latter and nine of the former. I think that he refrained to just use these two types of letters at some point.

I'm trying to figure out Sheree now (the so-called Rejectomancy, the art of analyzing rejection letters).

In New Year's Eve, I waited like a hawk until midnight so I could submit a story I was pretty confident with (the system didn't start until a couple hours later though and there's also the timezones). The rejection letter came five days later. A little bit of a shock, because I was optimistic. Sheree is a black woman who won awards for anthologies about black literature, so I thought that particular story would fit like a glove. Sadly, no. I even had to go out for some ice cream to calm my nerves. The letter said so:

Unfortunately, this story didn't work as well for me as I had hoped, and I'm going to pass on it for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
I subbed another piece immediately. I wasn't too confident on this one though. And it seemed to reflect on the cover letter, that came much sooner:

Unfortunately, this story didn't quite work for me, and I'm going to pass on it for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
By analyzing them, looks like that she read the first story whole, but not the second. In the first one, she liked the premise and the hook so she had hoped that the ending would be good, but turned out to be disappointing for her. In the second one, she didn't even bother to pass the first page.

I'll continue to study her and, possibly, get published someday. I already subbed another piece (that I'm confident with).

Rejectomancers out there, what do you think? Did you get rejected by her yet? Did you know her before and can share some valuable information?
 
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Brian G Turner

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You need to ensure the stories you submit are to the highest standard you can make them - you've already posted a piece to Critiques that needed a lot of work, and it's also been pointed out elsewhere that your English needs more work. So you already know what the problems are with your writing for improving it. :)
 
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The Judge

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Rather than keep submitting and receiving rejections which will not only depress you but may very well harm your future prospects** do please stop and think about your writing, the standard you've reached and the standard required by prestigious magazines.

The best thing you can do now is put up some recent work for critique here -- preferably something you are convinced is perfect as it is, not something you yourself admit is lacking -- and see what reactions you get. I rather suspect that the gulf between what you are writing and what the magazines want is somewhat greater than you think.

The only way to lessen that gulf is to seek to improve your writing, which means not only continuing to practise, but to engage with feedback and learn from it.


** if you send too often to the same magazines after continual rejections, human nature being what it is, once they recognise your name they are likely to give less attention to your stories on the basis that they didn't want them before so aren't going to want them now -- reading submissions takes time and effort and if they can short-circuit matters by deleting stories without bothering to glance at more than an opening line, undoubtedly some people will do so
 

Alex The G and T

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You're shooting at the top tier of the market. The so-called "Big Three" (Analog, Asimov's and F&SF) receive mountains of MSS and have a staff of "Slush-readers" who cull the submissions before they are submitted to the editor.

A rejection in only 5 days suggests that your story never reached the Editor's desk.
 

alexvss

Just a Latin American Lad.
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The best thing you can do now is put up some recent work for critique here -- preferably something you are convinced is perfect as it is, not something you yourself admit is lacking -- and see what reactions you get. I rather suspect that the gulf between what you are writing and what the magazines want is somewhat greater than you think.
My best pieces are all pending submissions. I'm afraid to post them here -- even if it's just the beginning -- and be disquilified or face legal action after being accepted (if I may be so bold to state that I'll get published). I always post my stories on critters.org, but it's different; here's much more open than there.

Let's say that one of those stories do sell; what will the editors think if it comes to their attention that it has been posted on the forum? I can't change them now, for they are under consideration. I could wait and put up something new, but that won't be today, nor tomorrow.

** if you send too often to the same magazines after continual rejections, human nature being what it is, once they recognise your name they are likely to give less attention to your stories on the basis that they didn't want them before so aren't going to want them now -- reading submissions takes time and effort and if they can short-circuit matters by deleting stories without bothering to glance at more than an opening line, undoubtedly some people will do so
Well said. Now that's something I haven't thought about...
 
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The Judge

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You're right that it's inadvisable to post here stories which are currently under submission, and there's no need to worry if you therefore have nothing to post for a few days or even weeks. Critiques will still be here when you've got a story ready, either one that's been rejected or a new one you think is among the best of your work.

However, I would nonetheless urge you to stop submitting anywhere with any work until you've had feedback here and taken it on board, as I really don't think it's doing you and your career any favours at this stage.
 
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