I submitted a poem to an online, three-or-four-times per week publication. I like almost everything they publish. I was hopeful… but I got the rejection this morning.
Let’s be clear: I’m bummed out that they didn’t select my poem for publication. But I’m extremely grateful to the editor for providing a Personal Rejection, and especially for giving me insight into the numbers involved.
I’ll summarize. He said;
1) They received 229 poems in October & long-listed 85. (37%) This means that 63% were dropped.
2) Of the 85 long-listers (mine included) 34 (40%) were short-listed. That eliminates 60% of the long list, and brings the over-all elimination rate up to 85%.
3) Of the 34 remaining poems, 13 were selected for publication. This eliminates 62% of the remaining contenders (thus bringing the overall elimination rate up to 94.3% [216 out of 229].
4) Therefore: This publication’s overall October Acceptance Rate = 5.7%
The editor was kind enough to tell me that I’d made the short list and ALMOST made the final cut. He said there were 16 pieces still on the table (mine included) when they settled on the final 13.
Don’t Get Me Wrong: I’m still bummed out that they turned me down, but I’m very grateful that the editor took the time to provide the numbers. I think most poets know what they’re up against in general terms, but we’re hardly ever given the actual stats.
Also: I know that the odds against acceptance are even higher at many other publications, but still:
My advice to other poets: Ignore this post. Send that baby out. Send it out again.