They say that the successful writers are the ones who didn't give up, or words to that effect. We all know that's true. We've all read about how many rejections J K Rowling had before she hit the big time, or how John Grisham paid for his first novel to be printed and ended up selling them cheap at garage sales. This is certainly true of novels, but it most definitely applies to those of us writing articles too. No matter how much we try and keep that in mind, it can still be hard when yet another rejection letter plops onto the doormat, or splats into your email inbox. After a few of these, it's easy to start believing that it's you and not them.
This week, however, I was pleasantly rewarded by sticking to the mantra of 'send it out again' by an article acceptance! The particular piece was one I had written a couple of years ago as part of an assignment on a correspondence writing course (which, I am ashamed to say, I have yet to finish, although I promise it is on my To Do list!), and I was quite pleased with it. The tutor liked it and I sent it out to a magazine. After chasing and waiting and waiting and chasing, I finally got a rejection. This went on for a few more magazines and after a while I sort of gave up on my article. Perhaps it wasn't as good as I had hoped.
A little while ago, I renewed my intent with my writing and, as part of that, I dug out this article, went through it once again and sent it off to an outdoors magazine. There was interest! hooray! But the editor wanted a few more pictures, preferably from the the tourist board. I did as he asked and sent it off. Nothing. After a couple of chases, I finally got the reply that the article 'just wasn't doing it for him.' Disappointed after the initial interest, I was tempted to let it lie once again. But I didn't. Perhaps even because of the false hope I'd experienced with that magazine, I was determined to sell the piece, so I mooched around the newsagents and found another title which I thought might be interested.
After studying the magazine, and its website, I sent off a pitch to the editors. They responded quite quickly, gave me their guidelines, and asked to see the text. After adjusting the article a little to suit this particular magazine, and checking some facts and figures, I sent off the piece. After a few days, a reply winged its way to me to say that they were happy with the text but a firm decision could not be made without seeing the images I'd mentioned so a CD of these would be required.
I busied myself with burning the images to a CD, making sure each photo was labelled with its title, and copyright details, then marched down to the village post office to send it off. Only to find a hand written note to say it was closed today, sorry! Luckily things were back to normal the next day so off the images went, and I waited for the verdict.
MMM Magazine have accepted the article! I couldn't be more chuffed. The editors always got back to me pretty quickly, and were clear with what and how they wanted things. They were also upfront about the fact that the article won't appear until next year, as they plan quite far ahead in advance (my piece on Tewkesbury is currently pencilled in for next Summer).
So, as low as you feel when you get your article returned or a 'no thanks' to your pitch, keep going. The right market is there somewhere, it's just a case of finding it.