What ten years looks like.

I was digging around in my files for something and I stumbled on a copy of my most comprehensive submission tracking. Y’alls. You want to see what almost ten years of rejection looks like?

First thing, there are a lot of them missing. Looking at a couple of other ones and looking through my email, the actual submission numbers for 9/7/2010 through 8/20/19 are closer to 1k or so. But y’all know how much of a data driven boner type person I am so here we gonna get it.

You’ll notice almost all of these are rejections. Some of these things got picked up. Some never did. Some I don’t even remember writing.

This is why I say I eat rejection. I think I have another whole ass list (different) that if I can find it I will post it.

Buckle up babes.

Title Submission Date Organization Status
Walker 9/7/2010 2:07 Necessary Fiction Declined
Waking Oshun 9/22/2010 20:48 decomP magazinE Declined
Being Human 1/21/2011 21:16 kill author Declined
Still a Strange Girl. 2/2/2011 22:46 Battered Suitcase Accepted
Selling Myself 2/28/2011 21:25 Monkeybicycle Declined
Familiar Skin 3/4/2011 2:37 Storyglossia Declined
Familiar Skin 3/7/2011 17:49 Necessary Fiction Declined
Lady Things 3/21/2011 18:17 Eclectic Flash Declined
Lady Things 3/25/2011 22:53 fwriction : review Declined
Ladies Night 3/27/2011 3:25 Leodegraunce Declined
Ingenue 3/28/2011 20:25 A-Minor Declined
Sleeping Beast 3/29/2011 2:22 ABJECTIVE Declined
She Didn’t Make It. 4/14/2011 2:15 Little Episodes Declined
Dog and Girl 6/10/2011 3:09 d.ustb.in Withdrawn
Keith  Appropriately. 6/14/2011 21:55 The Midwest Coast Review Declined
Meeting God 7/15/2011 17:53 wtf pwm Declined
Lady Things 7/21/2011 20:39 Stone Highway Review Declined
Lovers of the Ages 7/28/2011 3:22 Specter: A Curated Literary Website Declined
Baby Miracle In Love 7/29/2011 17:08 Black Fox Literary Magazine Withdrawn
Lovers of the Ages 8/15/2011 17:54 Metazen Withdrawn
Nice Ladies and Wild Women 8/19/2011 18:44 [PANK] Declined
Good Bye Fat Girl 8/24/2011 17:35 Used Furniture Review Declined
Good Bye Fat Girl 9/2/2011 17:20 fwriction : review Declined
Goodbye Music 9/9/2011 17:37 Word Riot Declined
Familiar Skin 9/10/2011 3:04 Atticus Review Declined
Goodbye Music. 9/13/2011 17:15 Belletrist Coterie Declined
In HippySunshine I Trusted 10/10/2011 17:37 Specter: A Curated Literary Website Accepted
Single Black Female 10/26/2011 17:21 Gertrude Press Declined
Calling Oshun 10/31/2011 17:52 MUD LUSCIOUS PRESS Declined
Several Poems. 11/8/2011 17:27 Counterexample Poetics Declined
Familiar Skin 11/8/2011 18:03 Left Hooks Declined
Four Poems by Shannon Barber 12/9/2011 22:02 Camroc Press Review Declined
4 Poems. 12/14/2011 18:43 Interrobang Magazine Declined
The Woman in the Niqab 12/14/2011 18:56 Dark Sky Magazine Declined
The Black Mermaid. 12/26/2011 17:09 Publishing Genius Withdrawn
For Her to Sleep. 2/21/2012 3:01 Word Riot Declined
Familiar Skin 2/23/2012 2:39 Girls with Insurance Withdrawn
Awful. Greedy. Beauty. 3/1/2012 21:00 Two Serious Ladies Declined
Awful. Greedy. Beauty. 3/7/2012 18:28 Corium Magazine Declined
Girls  Girls  Girls 4/23/2012 18:57 SmokeLong Quarterly Accepted
Flirt. 5/11/2012 3:23 The Molotov Cocktail Accepted
Familiar Skin 6/15/2012 3:47 Linden Avenue Literary Journal Accepted
Nice Ladies and Wild Women 6/15/2012 4:11 fwriction : review Declined
Te Quiero Butthead. 7/31/2012 4:23 Out of the Gutter Online Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 8/8/2012 4:59 Slit Your Wrists! Magazine Withdrawn
No Habla 8/8/2012 5:37 Camroc Press Review Declined
Te Quiero Butthead 8/11/2012 2:52 The Monarch Review Declined
No Habla 8/11/2012 3:08 Used Furniture Review Accepted
The Female of the Species 9/11/2012 3:25 Menacing Hedge Declined
Black Mermaid 11/26/2012 18:16 Quickly Withdrawn
Keep Her Away From Me. 11/26/2012 19:41 Word Riot Declined
Go Home. 11/30/2012 18:46 Northern Lake Publishing Declined
Keep Her Away From Me. 12/5/2012 17:31 Bloom Withdrawn
Go Home. 12/7/2012 2:53 Side B Magazine Declined
She Didn’t Make It 12/13/2012 3:55 deactivated TOSKA Magazine Accepted
Various poems. 12/26/2012 2:37 Behind Closed Doors Withdrawn
Of a Body 2/4/2013 17:51 Unshod Quills Declined
Go Home. 2/21/2013 16:54 Curbside Splendor Publishing Withdrawn
Bridget Approved. 3/21/2013 18:54 Looseleaf Tea Accepted
Princess  Daddy and the Dope Fiend 3/27/2013 19:18 Necessary Fiction Declined
Black Mermaid. 5/4/2013 3:22 Jersey Devil Press Declined
A Small selection of poems. 6/5/2013 3:32 Bone Bouquet Declined
Of a Body 6/5/2013 18:13 BLACKBERRY: a magazine Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 6/5/2013 20:28 Prickly Pear Printing Declined
You Are Not Us. 7/1/2013 19:03 Word Riot Declined
You Are Not Us. 7/6/2013 3:03 The Rumpus Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 7/15/2013 16:50 10 000 Tons of Black Ink Declined
Of a Body 7/15/2013 17:15 Gravel Accepted
A Woman Obsessed. 7/22/2013 16:46 Portland Review Withdrawn
Dream of a Not Mother 7/23/2013 21:40 Cease  Cows Declined
Poetry Submission from S. Barber 10/20/2013 17:43 Birdfeast Declined
The Quick Dozens 12/18/2013 4:10 The Citron Review Declined
Various Poems 1/9/2014 3:35 DREGINALD Declined
Tempted 1/26/2014 17:45 [PANK] Declined
Go Back. 2/6/2014 20:46 Vending Machine Press Declined
Meditations of an Aging Whore 4/18/2014 19:09 tNY.Press Declined
Cutter Love 4/22/2014 18:38 Red Bridge Press Declined
Tempted 5/11/2014 18:18 freeze frame fiction Declined
Becoming Mujer Congelada 6/6/2014 19:37 Menacing Hedge Declined
Meditations of an Aging Whore 6/6/2014 19:56 ExFic Accepted
Various Poems. 8/26/2014 3:54 Barn Owl Review Declined
Driver 8/29/2014 3:31 Wyvern Lit Declined
Driver 11/29/2014 13:53 The James Franco Review Declined
Driver 12/16/2014 22:14 Gay Magazine Declined
In Mourning of Us 9/7/2015 20:31 The Offing Declined
How I Could Just Kill a Man 3/10/2016 21:28 The Offing Declined
Poetry Suite Submission 6/24/2016 17:04 The Suburban Review Declined
Body For War 7/14/2016 21:07 Black Warrior Review Declined
Cocaine Monster 9/1/2016 23:22 Intrinsick Declined
Black and High Functioning. 10/6/2016 21:32 The Manifest-Station Accepted
The Cowboy’s Mermaid or A Story of Wet Love in the Dry World 12/22/2016 21:25 Rigorous Accepted
Quickest and Dirtiest Guide to Diversify Your Publication. 7/11/2017 16:22 Submittable Content for Creatives Declined
Various Poems. 8/2/2017 11:34 Okey-Panky Withdrawn
JT Leroy Is My Daddy 11/11/2017 14:42 Electric Literature Declined
Misc Poems 3/7/2018 13:28 POETRY Magazine Declined
Misc Poems by S. Barber. 5/10/2018 14:45 Dream Pop Press Declined
The Boy. The Black Man. 5/15/2018 16:41 The Rumpus Declined
Misc Poems 5/16/2018 10:27 The Offing Withdrawn
Misc Poems 5/30/2018 13:15 BOAAT PRESS Declined
Shannon Barber 6/8/2018 14:32 Submittable Promotion Completed
We. Them. I. Us./Black Reign. For BBQ Becky  Permit Patty and other scared White People. /Generational Blood Songs. 6/29/2018 11:24 The Sun Magazine Declined
Tongue Fuck 7/13/2018 11:42 The Molotov Cocktail Declined
Bad Bitches Suite 7/24/2018 11:06 Virginia Quarterly Review Declined
We. Them. I. Us. 8/31/2018 11:03 The Adroit Journal Declined
We. Them. I. Us. 9/12/2018 11:36 Electric Literature Declined
Blood Fugue 4/20/2019 15:30 Heavy Feather Review Accepted
I Confess. I Hurt. 5/3/2019 14:15 Gay Magazine Declined
Make me a Monster 8/20/2019 15:34 The Rumpus In-Progress

Hi you still here? BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE. I found another sheet. From 3/29/10 through 8/29/14. Buckle in babe.

Piece Market Date Sent Response
Murder Room Sex and Murder 29-Mar-10 Acceptance
Self  Vs. Self Sleep. Snort. Fuck. 21-Jun-10 Acceptance
Bloody Knuckles Molotov Cocktail, The 13-Jul-10 rejection
Bloody Knuckles Underground Voices Magazine 23-Jul-10 rejection
Black Girl is a Dreamer. amphibi.us 27-Jul-10 Acceptance
‘Parasites Who Are Lovers Brain Harvest 27-Jul-10 rejection
Bloody Knuckles Out of the Gutter 10-Aug-10 Acceptance
Want Black Words On White Paper (bwowp) 31-Aug-10 Withdrawal by author
Walker Necessary Fiction 7-Sep-10 rejection
Walker Red Fez 17-Sep-10 rejection
Street love Sleep. Snort. Fuck. 17-Sep-10 Never Responded
Waking Oshun decomP 22-Sep-10 rejection
Thank you Tony. Legendary, The 28-Sep-10 Acceptance
True Love delinquent, the 5-Oct-10 rejection
Waking Oshun Misfit Magazine 25-Oct-10 rejection
4 poems Gutter Eloquence 1-Dec-10 Acceptance
I Cannot Wait THIS Literary Magazine 1-Dec-10 Acceptance
True Love Every Night Erotica 5-Dec-10 Acceptance
A Golden Misadventure Sexology: A Literary Journal of Sex Writing 5-Dec-10 Never Responded
Still in the Streets Children, Churches and Daddies 21-Jan-11 Acceptance
Being Human kill author 21-Jan-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Every Day Fiction 31-Jan-11 rejection
Still a Strange Girl Battered Suitcase, The 2-Feb-11 Acceptance
‘Parasites Who Are Lovers Circlet Press (Website) 2-Feb-11 rejection
Being Human Night Train 28-Feb-11 rejection
Familiar skin Storyglossia 4-Mar-11 rejection
Being Human Bastards and Whores 4-Mar-11 rejection
Familiar skin Necessary Fiction 7-Mar-11 rejection
The girl I met Amaranthine Muses 24-Mar-11 Acceptance
Familiar skin Sick of ‘Em?: The Anti-Literary Journal 24-Mar-11 Never Responded
Meeting God Short, Fast, and Deadly 25-Mar-11 rejection
Ladies Night Leodegraunce 27-Mar-11 rejection
Ingenue A-Minor 28-Mar-11 rejection
Sleeping Beast ABJECTIVE 29-Mar-11 rejection
Never a wife One Forty Fiction 29-Mar-11 rejection
Ingenue Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure 31-Mar-11 rejection
Ladies Night DOGZPLOT 4-Apr-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Strange Horizons 12-Apr-11 rejection
Ingenue Literary Burlesque, The 5-May-11 Acceptance
Ladies Night Anomaly 5-May-11 rejection
Sleeping Beast Death Head Grin 5-May-11 Acceptance
Selling Myself Busk 9-May-11 Never Responded
Dog and Girl d.ustb.in 10-Jun-11 Withdrawal by author
Single Black Female Staccato Fiction 27-Jun-11 Withdrawal by author
Meeting God wtf pwm 15-Jul-11 rejection
Lady Things Stone Highway Review 21-Jul-11 rejection
Bite Freaky Fountain Press Showcase 28-Jul-11 Acceptance
Lovers of the Ages Specter Magazine 28-Jul-11 rejection
Senryu Duet Mused: The BellaOnline Literary Review 29-Jul-11 Acceptance
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Ink Sweat & Tears 29-Jul-11 rejection
Baby miracle in love Black Fox Literary Magazine 29-Jul-11 Withdrawal by author
Lady Things Burner Magazine 29-Jul-11 Never Responded
Waking Oshun Pear Noir! 8-Aug-11 rejection
Lovers of the Ages Metazen 15-Aug-11 Withdrawal by author
Nice Ladies and Wild Women PANK Magazine 19-Aug-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl Used Furniture Review 24-Aug-11 rejection
Meeting God Furious Fictions 26-Aug-11 rejection
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Clutching at Straws 31-Aug-11 rejection
Owner of Mouths Other Room, The 1-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl fwriction : review 2-Sep-11 rejection
Nice Ladies and Wild Women Fix It Broken 2-Sep-11 Withdrawal by author
Goodbye Music Word Riot 9-Sep-11 rejection
3 poems Indigo Rising Magazine 9-Sep-11 rejection
3 poems Spilling Ink Review 9-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Music elimae 10-Sep-11 rejection
Familiar skin Atticus Review 10-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Music Belletrist Coterie 13-Sep-11 rejection
Selling Myself Whistling Fire, The 19-Sep-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Neon 26-Sep-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Eunoia Review 10-Oct-11 rejection
In Hippy Sunshine I Trusted Specter Magazine 10-Oct-11 Acceptance
Dog and Girl Cezanne’s Carrot 10-Oct-11 rejection
Single Black Female Pure Francis 24-Oct-11 rejection
Goodbye Music Scissors & Spackle 24-Oct-11 Acceptance
Baby miracle in love Bare Root Review 24-Oct-11 Never Responded
Being Human Corvus 25-Oct-11 rejection
Single Black Female Gertrude 26-Oct-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Mud Luscious Press [online quarterly] 31-Oct-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl Milk Sugar: An Online Literary Journal 31-Oct-11 Acceptance
The Woman in the Niqab Read Fiction 31-Oct-11 Withdrawal by author
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Counterexample Poetics 8-Nov-11 rejection
Familiar skin Knockout 8-Nov-11 rejection
4 new/old poems Camroc Press Review 9-Dec-11 rejection
Corporate whore Left Behind: A Journal of Shock Literature 9-Dec-11 Never Responded
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Subliminal Interiors 9-Dec-11 Never Responded
Dog and Girl Foliate Oak Literary Magazine 14-Dec-11 Acceptance
4 poems Interrobang?! 14-Dec-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Dark Sky Magazine 14-Dec-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Melusine 14-Dec-11 rejection
Black Mermaid Everyday Genius 26-Dec-11 Withdrawal by author
Waking Oshun Wigleaf: (very) short fiction 3-Jan-12 Withdrawal by author
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Randomly Accessed Poetics 6-Feb-12 Acceptance
No Habla Apocrypha and Abstractions 13-Feb-12 rejection
For Her to Sleep Word Riot 21-Feb-12 rejection
Being Human Dirtflask 21-Feb-12 rejection
Black Mermaid anderbo.com 22-Feb-12 rejection
Familiar skin Girls with Insurance 23-Feb-12 Withdrawal by author
Awful Greedy Beauty Absinthe Revival 28-Feb-12 rejection
Awful Greedy Beauty Corium Magazine 7-Mar-12 rejection
No Habla Ad Hominem 19-Mar-12 Lost/Returned
Girls Girls Girls. SmokeLong Quarterly 23-Apr-12 Acceptance
Flirt Molotov Cocktail, The 11-May-12 Acceptance
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Smoking Poet, The 14-May-12 rejection
Familiar skin Linden Avenue Literary Journal 15-Jun-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women fwriction : review 15-Jun-12 rejection
Single Black Female Belly Fat Magazine 15-Jun-12 Never Responded
Insomnia Shadowbox 18-Jun-12 Withdrawal by author
Te Quiero Butthead Out of the Gutter 31-Jul-12 rejection
No Habla Camroc Press Review 8-Aug-12 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Slit Your Wrists! E-Zine 8-Aug-12 Withdrawal by author
Te Quiero Butthead Monarch Review, The 11-Aug-12 rejection
No Habla Used Furniture Review 11-Aug-12 Acceptance
Te Quiero Butthead Bone Parade 20-Aug-12 rejection
Black Dyke Dream or Prayer to Gay Oshun Broad! 7-Sep-12 rejection
Being Human Menacing Hedge 11-Sep-12 rejection
Being Human Linguistic Erosion 4-Oct-12 Acceptance
Te Quiero Butthead Yellow Mama 8-Oct-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women Word Riot 26-Nov-12 rejection
Black Mermaid Quickly 26-Nov-12 Withdrawal by author
Go Home Rusty Nail, The 30-Nov-12 rejection
Digger Safety Pin Review 5-Dec-12 rejection
Coffee Blue Aberration Labyrinth 5-Dec-12 Acceptance
Day/Dreamer Aberration Labyrinth 5-Dec-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women BLOOM 5-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Awful Greedy Beauty Thirteen Myna Birds 7-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Go Home Side B Magazine 7-Dec-12 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story FRiGG 12-Dec-12 rejection
Digger Misfits’ Miscellany 12-Dec-12 Never Responded
She Didn’t Make it TOSKA 13-Dec-12 Acceptance
Feminism Beat Me Red Fez 13-Dec-12 rejection
Freedom Brevity Poetry Review 26-Dec-12 rejection
Firestarters Infernal Ink Magazine: Devilishly Erotic Horror 26-Dec-12 Acceptance
Lycanthrope Behind Closed Doors 26-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Bridget Approved Blackness Crack the Spine 28-Dec-12 rejection
Freedom Mad Swirl 28-Dec-12 Acceptance
Awful Greedy Beauty Flash Me! The Sinthology 19-Jan-13 Acceptance
Of A Body Unshod Quills 4-Feb-13 rejection
My hood Drabblecast 11-Feb-13 rejection
Go Home Eunoia Review 20-Feb-13 rejection
Go Home Curbside Splendor E-Zine 21-Feb-13 Withdrawal by author
Insomnia damselfly press 25-Feb-13 rejection
Killer, Duck and The Boys Thuglit 9-Mar-13 Acceptance
Of A Body Momma Tried 18-Mar-13 Withdrawal by author
My hood Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine 18-Mar-13 Acceptance
Bridget Approved Blackness Looseleaf Tea 21-Mar-13 Acceptance
Waking Oshun Expanded Horizons 27-Mar-13 Acceptance
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Necessary Fiction 27-Mar-13 rejection
I Grew Up To Be Her Coming Together: Girl on Girl 4-Apr-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Bop Dead City 3-May-13 rejection
Black Mermaid Jersey Devil Press 4-May-13 rejection
Minstrel Show Fiddleblack 4-May-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Dressing Room Poetry Journal 4-May-13 rejection
Bad Shannon(s) at the End of the World Visceral Uterus 10-May-13 rejection
Lycanthrope Rattle 15-May-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Bone Bouquet 5-Jun-13 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Wilde Magazine 5-Jun-13 rejection
Of A Body Blackberry: a magazine 5-Jun-13 rejection
Insomnia Epiphany: An Unpretentious Publication 6-Jun-13 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Pseudopod 8-Jun-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Sugar House Review 13-Jun-13 rejection
Black Girl/ Bitch/ Dreams Pyrokinection 16-Jun-13 rejection
Black Beauty on Fire Red River Review 16-Jun-13 rejection
Street Mama Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, The 29-Jun-13 Acceptance
Go Home litbomb 29-Jun-13 Never Responded
You Are Not Us Word Riot 1-Jul-13 rejection
You Are Not Us Rumpus, The 6-Jul-13 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Strange Horizons 12-Jul-13 rejection
Of A Body Gravel: A Literary Journal 15-Jul-13 Acceptance
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story 10,000 Tons of Black Ink 15-Jul-13 rejection
A Woman Obsessed Portland Review 22-Jul-13 Withdrawal by author
Dream of a Not Mother Cease, Cows 23-Jul-13 rejection
Spider Queen/Unlearned Yes, Poetry 23-Jul-13 rejection
Dream of a Not Mother Postcard Shorts 30-Jul-13 rejection
Go Home Bumf 27-Aug-13 rejection
4 new/old poems Sporklet 19-Sep-13 rejection
Organic Human Dissident Daily Science Fiction 20-Sep-13 rejection
misc new poems/feral 3:AM Magazine 5-Oct-13 rejection
Spider Queen/Unlearned Birdfeast 20-Oct-13 rejection
Destroyer I/II/Exctinction even Blood Lotus 20-Oct-13 rejection
Tempted Thursdaze Flash Fiction Series 27-Oct-13 rejection
Insomnia Blue Monday Review 15-Dec-13 rejection
The Quick Dozens Citron Review, The 18-Dec-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Camel Saloon, The 9-Jan-14 Acceptance
Tempted Black Market Lit 9-Jan-14 rejection
misc new poems/feral DREGINALD 9-Jan-14 rejection
Tempted PANK Magazine 26-Jan-14 rejection
Go Home Vending Machine Press 6-Feb-14 rejection
Meditations of an Aging Whore theEEEL 18-Apr-14 rejection
Cutter Love Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks 22-Apr-14 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Tor.com 7-May-14 rejection
Tempted freeze frame fiction 11-May-14 rejection
Tempted StepAway Magazine 28-May-14 Never Responded
Becoming Mujer Congelada Menacing Hedge 6-Jun-14 rejection
Meditations of an Aging Whore ExFic 6-Jun-14 Acceptance
Imbas/Black Girl/Bitch Melancholy Hyperbole 12-Jun-14 rejection
misc new poems/feral Leaves of Ink 15-Jun-14 Acceptance
Becoming Mujer Congelada Rock Bottom Journal 15-Jun-14 Withdrawal by author
misc new poems/feral Rust + Moth 20-Jun-14 rejection
Cutter Love Urban Graffiti 11-Jul-14 Acceptance
Reach Back and Get It Black Mirror Magazine 11-Jul-14 Acceptance
4 new/old poems Rusty Truck, The 11-Jul-14 Withdrawal by author
We Deserve it Nailed Magazine 26-Aug-14 Acceptance
4 new/old poems Barn Owl Review 26-Aug-14 rejection
Driver Wyvern Lit 29-Aug-14 rejection

On Rejection and Returning to the Lit World

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve been doing a little slow step back into the lit world. By that I mean doing a little submitting here and there.

So pardon me being in a really navel gazing mood here, but I’m in need of reflection.

If I look back 20 years, what was I submitting?

I had about ten “done” stories (done as in I could only ruin them) I printed them out for five cents a page on paper I was ashamed of at the library. I bought expensive envelopes and hand addressed them to various magazines. I probably had about a 20% answer ration. Zero actual publications. I recall hiding my few rejection slips because I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I wish I’d have kept them to be honest.

My stories back then were sort of erotic horror mainly, a little slasher, gore and a few that I thought of as literary. Not one character was Black or queer. They were all nice White folks who were attractive and I was very careful not to reveal or infuse any Blackness because, the places I was submitting didn’t really publish a lot of Black stories aside from the occasional racial pain porn or paean to Maya Angelou penned by White women.

I was also deeply reticent about the literary because I bought into the idea that in order for me to be a writer on that level, I had to be in a writing program.

My earliest publications on the internet were all porn or horror. My favorite early publication was Gay smut and that story is still one of my favorites. If I can find it, I’ll reprint it.

After a couple of years I went for it in the lit community but, I kept my stories either pretty White or unspecified so White by default. I was a very nervous submitter. I probably ruined more stories editing and trying to hone them for specific publications than I did submissions sent. Looking back, I have to laugh a little bit. I wanted so badly to get published, I pushed my instincts and real desires down and tried so hard.

Fast forward another few years and I read this piece on the Rumpus. It low key changed my entire writing life. I mean as far as writing advice goes this:

So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.

Now um, y’all.

That set me on a whole new trajectory.

I hit literary fuck it.

For the next four or so years I wrote and submitted like a mother fucker. Sometime in HA I found it 2011 I stumbled on a thing by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins (who is a badass poet) and it took me a while but I got there. Proudly. I wrote Blackness into my work purposefully and with zero fucks given.

It was liberating and telling.

All these years and submissions and rejections have served to teach me some invaluable lessons in how I submit.

Lesson one: If I find guidelines too confusing or too twee, fuck that publication.

Lesson two: Write whatever the fuck you want to write. Regardless of whether or not you think it will be published. Really, write that shit.

Lesson three: Every now and then, it is okay to pushback against a rejection. For instance: once upon a time yours truly got a sweet job writing custom porn. I passed the initial writing test magnificently, the editor was all about it. And then he looked me up and read my personal online diary (anyone remember Diary-x?) and decided to question me. He wanted to know if- because I am Black and Queer and Out in my personal life) I was capable of writing not those things. I was fucking livid and though I desperately needed the money I read him the riot act and flounced from the job. Sometimes, you just gotta tell somebody they done fucked up. That said, do not be the asshole who emails editors back wanting all their damn time or telling them how stupid they are for not publishing your brilliant treatise on whatever bullshit.

Lesson four: Do please read, the places you are submitting to. That said, if you want to blaze a trail for representation, don’t stop get it get it. On the other side of that coin, you are under no obligation to blaze the trail. Remember, care for your heart y’all.

Lesson five: If you can’t be a certain type of writer, accept it and do what you can do. Don’t be like me and punish yourself for years because you suck at quick turnaround work. Don’t be me. Do you boo.

Lesson six: If you write some bullshit, be ready for blow ack. Also, understand that if you write something offensive or deadass wrong and people call you on it, question the editor this is not censorship. This is what’s called consequences for maybe showing your ass. Don’t be a douchebag about it.

Lesson seven: Trust your Weird Voice. Read all about what I have to say about that in the archives of my newsletter here.

Last, cherish the great rejections. I got one earlier today for one of my weird essays and it was wonderful.And when they say we like your voice or something, submit again.

Now that’s all for now. I’m off to get rejected some more.

You go do you boo.

Do. You.

 

But Can I be Honest? Or Can a Bitch live?

Okay, so, in this post election Trumpfuckian* nightmare, being that I am a creator of things, I have been creating things.

I already published one essay about my real feelings post election. Find it here at Medium. I put a general content warning on it for everything. If you’re feeling fragile do not read.

Ahem.

If you’ve been here for more than five minutes you could fairly say, I have a salty tongue. I’m a foul mouthed heathen. I use the Seven Dirty Words quite liberally in my work.

I have long understood that because I stand by my bad words as being necessary, that precludes me being published a lot of places. I get it. I know.

I know I am a difficult sell even when I’m not saying mother fucker every few words and it’s okay. I made peace with that.

I. know.

Now, before I was totally done with the essay, I had a nibble of interest that quickly turned into a, well if you (insert edits that would strip it of it’s power and turn it into Nice Black Lady Pap+end with hope I don’t feel) and I am not with that.

Now, since I published it myself, the reception has been pretty great. Way less pushback than I expected, some folks saw fit to use my tip jar and send some donations which is incredible. I’m about that life.

That said, I find it interesting that when I’m completely naked honest, I’m talking ass out bucky ass nekkid- I self publish and things tend to go well.

I take that same energy and what I think is an integral part of my voice to the markets and I fail. Miserably.

My literary partner in let us call it impending Unfuckwithableness Milcah has pointed out to me, I’ve succeeded when I’m just 100% about who I am and not trying to pretend.

It’s true.

And we come back around to me being me and my, uh, not quite fitting a lot of the narrative places have of what they want to say.

For instance, some okay, no let me be real about it all of my poetry lately has been bloody, bleak, and not uplifting. Basically how I’m feeling. I clocked some very swift rejections for a piece I’ll put at Ink node later on. Keep your eye out here.

Being rejected doesn’t but me by itself. What bothers me are the notes that came with the rejections about how these pubs are going for Hope and Unity and Feelgoodness (my word) right now.

But why isn’t there room for me too?

I really hate the idea that we as creators must immediately go to the hope and not document our grief and rage. My grief, my rage isn’t going to end with all of us holding hands and singing Old Negro Spirituals.

It’s going to end in blood because that’s how I feel.

There’s room for more than happy uplift.

There is space for those who are despairing and only know to make art or otherwise create to help get through it.

I’ve talked to some friends and a lot of us are in this same boat. We need to scream and make bloody rage filled art and we’d like for it to be valued as much as the uplift and shiny hope.

So yanno, if you have space, consider making space for us less shiny  minded folks.

On Rejections and Thangs

Behold first a list of places I’ve been rejected from in the last few years. These culled from my Submittable (OH sidebar: if you ever need help with your Submittable account their CS is FUCKING STELLAR. Like really great.) account.

I MADE THIS.

Publisher *Interrobang Magazine*Bone Bouquet*Portland Review*Two Serious Ladies*Corium Magazine*Black Fox Literary Magazine*Menacing Hedge*kill author*Quickly*Jersey Devil Press*Looseleaf Tea*MUD LUSCIOUS PRESS*Red Bridge Press*d.ustb.in*Cease  Cows*Wyvern Lit*The James Franco Review*The Butter*Storyglossia*Necessary Fiction*Atticus Books*Knockout Literary Magazine*Girls with Insurance*Linden Avenue Literary Journal*The Molotov Cocktail*Word Riot*Camroc Press Review*SmokeLong Quarterly*Vending Machine Press*The Rusty Nail*Side B Magazine*Curbside Splendor Publishing*Used Furniture Review*fwriction : review*Word Riot*Belletrist Coterie*The Offing*Specter: A Curated Literary Website*The Offing*A-Minor*Word Riot*Bloom*The Midwest Coast Review*Leodegraunce*Eclectic Flash*fwriction : review*Stone Highway Review*Specter: A Curated Literary Website*Metazen*tNY.Press*ExFic*wtf pwm*[PANK]*fwriction : review*Camroc Press Review*Used Furniture Review*Unshod Quills*BLACKBERRY: a magazine*Gravel*Birdfeast*Necessary Fiction*Slit Your Wrists! Magazine*Wilde Magazine*10 000 Tons of Black Ink*Monkeybicycle*Counterexample Poetics*deactivated TOSKA Magazine*Little Episodes*Gertrude Press*ABJECTIVE*Battered Suitcase*The Monarch Review*Out of the Gutter Online*[PANK]*freeze frame fiction*Publishing Genius*Menacing Hedge*The Citron Review*Dark Sky Magazine*DREGINALD*Behind Closed Doors*Barn Owl Review*decomP magazinE*Necessary Fiction*Word Riot*The Rumpus

So if you get through that, you’ll see some repeats. Places that are in my mind big swing and miss type submissions.

I’ve been reflecting about the process lately since I don’t submit on such a rigorous schedule anymore.

I was reading something about rejections and I frankly refute the idea that it is always the writer.

The thing is that if you are writing from a perspective or about marginalized people in a way that is not the accepted (generally when it decenters Whiteness, heteronormativity, etc etc) there is an uphill battle, whether people who are closer to acceptable want to recognize it as part of the process or not.

After doing the submission thing and research things and reading thousands upon thousands of pages of what journals/mags publish, the struggle is real. I look over this little rejection list and this one from my race to 100, there are some I can point to as having probably been based on how I was telling stories about Black folks or Queer folks, rather than just my shitty writing.

Of course, there are times when I look back and cringe because things can always be better, tighter, more perfect, etc.

However, after going back through a lot of that work (and many of those pieces found homes eventually) and looking at the language in a lot of rejections (not just from this list but over a ten year period) I can say that I’ve seen some patterns and the patterns have fit in with my research.

Here is where I invite editors to pay some full attention, marginalized writers too:

  1. If I go through say five back issues of your thing and I see no POC, no stories about anyone other than White people in whatever form, I’m 99% sure if I submit a story about POC/other marginalized people you won’t take it. I often envision the, we love your work, but no fit yadda yada. For me, over the years, this has been a thing a lot.
  2. If you have words like diversity, inclusion or anything related and you haven’t done the work in your previous however many issues, see #1.
  3. If I’ve been reading and following your thing and you have a few POC or other marginalized folks and tend to only publish certain types of narratives, whether fictional or not, or the only POC you interview fall into a few distinct categories, see #1.

Etc.

One of the habits that has been ingrained in me since I was a wee baby writer age 19 in 1996 carefully copying addresses out of the back of Poets&Writers, I read where I want to be. At one point after I had my own computer (I think I got my first one in like 2001?) I had dozens of pages of individual notes on publications. I transcribed them from PW, from websites, from notebooks. I had a system. I spent two months writing like a motherfucker as much as humanly possible, I spent a month editing everything and then a month submitting.

This habit has remained with me, though I have learned to use trackers (GODS damn I wish someone had told me to do that back then) and figured myself out in terms of the truth of what I do, I’ve learned to read more closely and that is how I’ve figured out my system for parsing rejections and figuring out where to submit.

There have been times where I’ve spoken with editors, I can think of a few who really went to bat for me because I did not fit their standard narratives. That is gratifying.

Experience informs how I deal with my rejections.

In this phase of my writing life, I’m not as interested in trying to blaze trails.

I’ve got a big fucking mouth and I do indeed talk a lot of shit and occasionally name names. I’ve decided that rather than hold that in, I’m letting it out. I’m sure that will cause me rejections over time. It’s fine.

I realized during AWP and some subsequent interactions with lit world folks that I just don’t have the energy or mental health reserves to be one of the brick wall busting types.

I’ve hit fuck it.

I’ve figured out that I feel okay being a terrible self-published author.

I’m fine trying to hustle fiction out of my Etsy store like a literary pusherman.

I don’t hold out hope to be raised up by the loving hands of some literary agent.

I don’t really care if I get the Big Book Deal.

I’ve discovered the depths of joy I feel when small indie bootleg ass presses tell me if I do X thing, they want first look.

I’ve discovered the joy of putting something from my heart out that is flawed but touches other hearts.

It still fucks with me that people don’t buy my shit when I sell it.

It still fucks with me when I read things and I don’t see myself or other marginalized folks represented.

It still fucks with me when the literary community is largely a burning tire fire of racism and bullshit.

After all this, the real lesson is this.

This is a grind. Rejection alone won’t be the end of you. It is up to you as an artist to decide how to deal with it.

Now if y’all will excuse me, I have anxiety to deal with and shit to do.

Genre Bending Problems.

We know I’m not the most constant when it comes to genre writing. I like to use whatever the story calls for and frequently that means writing in a way that is not standard for whatever genre.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is also a writer and a rabid fan of urban fiction, SF/F and Horror and she is kind of upset about the difficulty I’ve had over the years getting published in those realms.

Generally speaking my first instinct when I don’t manage to get stories into genre publications has been okay, well it’s just not good enough, after all they published X author’s piece and that was amazing.

After that passes, I realize that most of my problem/good thing is that I do genre bend.

While that makes for my work having its own little thing, that is not a thing that a lot of publications are fuckin’ with.

So I hole up and work on stuff. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not super into workshops, but I do have some trusted beta readers and often their responses are like YES YES YES.

However, industry reactions have been tepid. I have gotten some amazing rejections that had the ever hard to come by feedback. One for my story Bernie’s Warg, (BY AND THE WAY, this is my low key way of telling you for Happy Spoopy October, I’m relisting some stuff at Etsy) was that the story was gorgeous, great mix of cultures, but stepped too far (I typed fart… how apt) out of the bounds of the genre of the magazine and there was too much horror.

A horror mag said almost the same thing, but too much of the fantasy.

All in the original long version of Bernie’s Warg got it about 20 rejections, about 5 rewrites, cut about 4K words and the industry still don’t want it.

Folks who’ve read it have enjoyed it.

Now a few years ago I’d have just tucked it away and been sad.

These days breaking into these publications and in genre fiction is not really so important to me. I know how to put stuff out by myself. I know my work is worth a few bucks.

I’m starting to figure out that I will likely not get into the magazines I love so much because I write the way I do. I have tried to change that, to study and emulate more of the traditional forms in the genres I love but it’s unnatural. It’s not really my voice.

It’s my voice speaking, someone else’s words.

I have to thank working with Milcah for me being so comfortable in this position. While my case to be published slowed before we started working together, I felt so weird about it. I felt uncomfortable with my decisions and like I was doing it wrong.

While yes, I want to sell a novel someday.

Yes, I still want to write some great American novel.

Yes, I still want to write a vampire novel.

YES, I still write short stories.

I’m just doing it at my own pace on my own terms and that’s okay.

I don’t have to do things the way other folks do them. And that’s okay too.

Now my darling homiepies.

That’s now a thing, I’m calling everyone homiepie.

I have SO much work to do.

Tomorrow look out for yeah write.

Also later this week a super important announcement.

Random Writing Angst.

I’m full of angst today.

Writing angst.

I have been jotting down little bits of fiction. I am worried that the time I took to finish V2.0 did something averse to my fiction. This particular angst fueled by the fact that nobody likes my flash fiction but me.

Add in a lot of good rejections, the ones that say good writing/powerful writing but not for us.

I’m having not good enough feels.

These angsts are also fucking with my sleepy ambition to finish my novella. I have many notes and about 2000 words of it written. And then I stop. I think about what if I lose what little momentum/being known I have, will I have to start the fuck over?

I’ve been reading some really great chapbooks and novellas.

Who the fuck would buy mine?

As new writing opportunities come in,I get scared that the editors who believe in me will be disappointed.

I’m feeling stuck in a little fear bubble.

What if the last two years were as good as I get?

But really the thing that freezes my fingers is the idea that I won’t be able to live up to my own expectations of my work.

I work so hard I don’t want to disappoint myself.

My ambitions have moved from being publication based to craft based. I want to make my ideas live and sometimes I am very disappointed that I can’t do it the way I want it.

I hope my feels are hormonal and I will stop being so angsty.

I keep hearing Lil Jon yelling in my head,

YOU SCARED

YOU SCARED

YOU SCARED MOTHA FUCKA YOU SCARED

From one of my favorite Ice Cube Songs Go To Church.

Maybe I’m feeling a bit too tender to get gangster with myself as I usually do.

Maybe I should calm my shit down for a minute. Write some writer business emails and then hide in a bubble of background noise and just fucking write.

Write like a mother fucker.

Write the stories.

Stop feeling some type of way self. Make a pot of tea, eat your sushi and fucking write.

Take a deep breath.

Okay.

Also before I forget my new piece is up at Luna Luna. The second part of my series addressing White Ladies.

 

Furthermore.

Continuing from yesterday.

One of the problems I have and why I tend to worry about so many things when I am submitting is that I am self aware to a fault. It can come off as me not being confident in my work, but, it’s not that necessarily.

I have worked very hard over the years to understand and better how I work, the things I write and how I submit. I do a lot of market research thus often I walk away feeling like I have to be the trailblazing Black Writer. That is uncomfortable for me.

I work very hard to be a conscientious submitter. I read, I buy when I can and I often am following a magazine for months before submitting. So a lot of the time I do feel uh, guilty I guess when editors say that they love to read my work, but can’t use it for their magazines.

I told my best friend last night that my paranoid roach brain assumes I am gaining a bad reputation for being one of those shotgun style submit everywhere regardless types.

I don’t want to be that and it freaks me out.

And then because I am a very anxious person, I get anxious and upset. Rinse repeat.

There is also again that self awareness issue.

Let’s be plain okay?

I know that in a lot of the mainstream market I am not really marketable. That isn’t a value judgement it just is. And it’s okay for real it is. Sometimes I just need to talk about it.

Beyond that I do think that so much emphasis on certain ways of being a writer is deeply classist and problematic.  And I know that other people experience that discomfort and I am okay talking about it.

When I talk about these things I mainly just wan to get it out. These are things I wish I had read about when I was a young writer trying to navigate these feelings and issues. I felt really alone and like a weirdo because I thought about these things and didn’t have the ability to express it.

So now what?

I am so close to 100 rejections y’all. It’s going down. I predict if I get my shit together by next month the list will be here for you to look at.

I’ve also for my own sanity started keeping a list of zines I love but who probably won’t publish me and where I most likely won’t be submitting again.

I also started a new thing, I write a lot of short things on my phone or in my paper notebook and haven’t done much with them. Until now. Head over to my new spot Extra Wordy where I will put tiny things.

Now if y’all will excuse me I have serious work to do. I have decided July is swing for the fences month. I’ve struck out twice thus far and am swinging for another.

Later taters.

OH wait next week book reviews and some stuff. So yay.