“No simultaneous submissions”
As a young poet who has only recently started submitting for publication, this phrase intimidates me. It isn’t that I lack confidence in my writing. I actually feel quite good about many poems, but the supply isn’t infinite. I send a few to a journal then must wait 2-3 months for them to review them before either doing the “I got published!” dance or submitting them elsewhere.
One negative in this system is that it may take me a while to get work published. If I have a poem rejected by 5 journals, say, that’s nearly a year gone by. I hope my fragile ego and lofty ambitions can handle this.
Another negative is they rarely tell writers why their work was rejected, which potentially limits the learning experience from each rejection. Was my content or form inappropriate for the targeted journal? Did they like it but didn’t think it fit the current issue? Was it just bad?
Though my questions usually remain unanswered, I try gaining from each rejection. I review the content and form to determine which journal I should target next. I send the work back through my revision process, even if what I recently submitted was the 10th draft.
It also gives me the opportunity to become more organized about my submission process. I try to always have active submissions–a few poems off to x magazine, a few others off to y. As I write more and, hopefully, improve my writing, I’ll try to have a few to x, y, z, and on and on.
Despite the difficult and time consuming process, I believe publication will happen for me. Part of me knows that if it were easy, I wouldn’t do it. So I will stay the course, if you will, and earn my place in the annals of literary history. Until then, the What Goes Where? game continues.