Monday, 10 October 2016

Try, Try, Try Again

On Friday the editor of Outdoor Photography magazine got in touch. He liked one of my photos (attached) and wanted to use it for the Viewpoints section of the magazine in the December issue. As I had already supplied him with the photo, he now needed me to provide the words to accompany the photo. 

It wasn’t until I was adding the acceptance to my database that I realised I’d submitted this particular image for this same section of the magazine a couple of years ago. But on that occasion I was unsuccessful.

See? If at first you don’t succeed …

A rejection from a particular magazine is not necessarily the end of the story for a piece of work. Editors are not just making a decision based upon the quality of the material. They’re also taking into consideration other material that has been submitted, its subject matter, area of coverage, theme, tone and style of the piece. For example, perhaps when I first submitted this image the editor was inundated with other images taken in December in the Lake District. For this particular spread the editor is usually looking for a nice distribution of images from across the UK, so it doesn’t matter how good the images are that have been submitted, if he’s got too many from one particular region, he’s got too many.

Something similar has happened when I’ve submitted short stories and articles. I’ve sold both to the same markets that had previously rejected them. Short stories, in particular, can be rejected simply because an editor has got too many on a similar theme. There are only so many Halloween stories an editor can use at any one time.

The next time a piece of yours is rejected, try not to think the worst. Sometimes all you need to do is try again a bit later.

Good luck. 


  1. I don't usually send a story back to the same editor, but I have sent work to the same magazine after a change of editor and had it accepted.

  2. Yes, I've done that too. (I've also had success when an editor went on maternity leave, and the covering editor bought a couple the other editor had rejected).