Every story you send out is one more chance at publication, every time you send it out. Just because twenty-four editors have said no, doesn’t mean the twenty-fifth won’t say yes.
My longest dry spell on an individual story is nineteen misses for one hit. My friend Eric Witchy recently sold something to a major new market on it’s 32nd trip through the mail. You should always start at your dream market and work your way down, but never stop sending things out.
Also, keep track of who is reading and editing at magazines. An editor may have turned a story down for a market five years ago, but if the editor moves on that’s a market you can now send the story to again since the new editor hasn’t rejected it yet for that magazine.
That’s how I sold my 4th novel first, and how many others have sold novels even further along the line than that. Kris Rusch, Elizbeth Bear, Barth Anderson, Lyda Morehouse. None of these people sold the first novel first. Neither did many others you would recognize.
Keep pounding your forehead against the wall. The forehead heals, the wall doesn’t.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 5th 2006. Reposted as part of the reblogging project)