Back in the early days of my writing career, when the world was a molten ball of magma and I still adamantly believed I couldn’t write fiction to save my life, the first rejection letter I ever received was from Strange Horizons. Being maybe a little more cocksure than even I understood at the time, I sent them the only original piece I’d ever written, despite the fact that they were and remain a pretty huge pro market with a pretty small acceptance rate.
The rejection came after a very long time. It was a personal one, nearly two paragraphs long and almost completely positive. The story just wasn’t the right fit; there wasn’t anything wrong with it or my prose. I cannot describe how fucking happy that letter made me, just coming out of the gate. It was almost as good as a sale. I framed it (yes, I framed my first rejection letter), sold the story to another ‘zine with the improvements they had suggested, and moved along to other things. Strange Horizons became something of a white whale after that, though. Later attempts to sell them stuff netted me nothing but form rejections.
Until this past week. The story will probably go up in February, the same month ‘Vixens’ premieres at Lightspeed. I’m going to frame the acceptance letter and hang it next to that first rejection, I think.