Getting The Order Right

Working my way through the latest anthology submissions, I’m noticing something interesting: a significant number of writers have submitted work which would better fit in another genre. This means that soon I will need to writer letters to those people explaining that I can’t accept their work for publication — so-called ‘rejection’ letters. But the recipients of those letters will be discouraged and possibly introverted upon receipt — needlessly so. The only point upon which they diverged from requirements was a technical one: they submitted the work inappropriately. In all other respects, in most cases, the work submitted was of sufficient quality to merit being published — it’s just that it didn’t fit with the anthology under question.

Steve Carr covers this point in his manual Getting Your Short Stories Published: A Guidebook:

Every publication has submission guidelines. The importance of following the guidelines, along with submitting quality stories, was the most frequently mentioned issue by the editors/publishers who contributed to this guidebook.

I have also discussed this many times in this blog and elsewhere.

Why submit something that doesn’t fit?

Imagine ordering a pizza and the delivery driver arrives with a hamburger. It’s probably a perfectly delicious hamburger, but it’s not what you ordered. You would send it back. The fast-food place would not then become anxious about their food as a whole — they would (hopefully) spot that it was an error in getting the order right.

It’s the same with fiction submissions. Get the order right. The editor/publisher has asked for a certain type or genre of story for a particular anthology. Send him or her what has been asked for. But, if you get it wrong and get a rejection slip, don’t immediately conclude that there’s something flawed about your writing: recognise instead that you simply got the order wrong.

Of course, some stories are rejected because they aren’t well-written enough, just as some fast food places aren’t popular because the quality of their food isn’t great. That happens and it’s a factor. But if the publisher has pointed out to you that it was simply a genre error, please believe them and keep writing, while fixing the way you assign your work to submission opportunities.


Current Submission Opportunities

There are currently no open anthologies, but stay tuned!


The Inner Circle Writers' Magazine is currently looking for submissions: short fiction, articles, artwork, news...

Download a pdf guide here:


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Hello, my name is Grant Hudson and what you will see on these pages is a reflection of who I am, my interests, and what I can do for you. 


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