Back in September, I was inspired by an article on Lit Hub by Kim Liao about setting a goal of 100 rejections per year. The idea being that making the rejections the goal would take some of the sting out of getting them and hopefully remove the mental block most people have with submitting caused by their fear of rejections. She suggests, "Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you're sure to get a few acceptances, too."
I decided when 2016 was almost over to do set a personal goal of a 100 submissions in 100 days. I have to admit that I was not prepared for how much work this was going to be! Since I am not subscribed to any journals and have only read a few here and there over the years, I had to basically read everything that was available online in order to get a feel for the accepted work of the publications.
This meant doing a single submission would take HOURS. First, it was time spent reading the journal. Then, it was time going through my catalog of poems written over the past fifteen years to find the ones that fit the bill. So. Much. WORK.
I was on a roll for the month of October, and got up to 24 submissions of 102 total poems before a change in my work schedule and job function slowed my progress. It greatly limited my time to work since I live on a boat without access to Internet, except when the nearby coffee shop was open, and that only left me two hours per day instead of the four I had before.
I have recently revamped my approach based on the most recent Pushcart rankings. Not sure if that will do anything for my rejection rate or not, but I figure maybe starting at the “bottom” might be a way to up my chances in 2017 when I restart my submission a day challenge. We’ll see!
Now for the best part. This challenge inspired me to create a public Google spreadsheet that lists all the publications that accept submissions without a fee. I will be working on it over the next week to get as much information on all of the journals (submission deadlines, pay rates, etc). Hopefully, this will be helpful/useful to other poets. The link is below. Please share widely!
Niccolea Miouo Nance is a poet, artist, amateur fire-spinner, and soon to be world traveler via sailboat. Niccolea's published work, which she explains is drawn from personal life experiences and the stories of those closest to her, can be found in Borderline, a cutting-edge persona poetry journal and Canyon Voices, an Arizona State University journal for emerging writers. She also has two books published on Amazon – her self-published The Words I Hold, and the charity project “For Those Who Outlast Their Pain” released by Swimming With Elephants Publications (the proceeds above printing and shipping will go to organizations that help women and sexual assault survivors). You can read more about Niccolea here on her web site: https://niccoleamnance.com/.