Our “Get Rejected” series, which brings you monthly writing submission gatherings, is aimed at getting local writers comfortable with sending out their work, and providing seasoned submitters with an accountability group to make the process a little less lonely and a little more fun.
In 2019, the series will be hosted by Kelsey May at Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Check our Events calendar for specifics.
If you’re just starting to get serious as an amateur or hobby writer, or if you’re fresh out of college and looking for the next step, you’ll have become at least a little familiar with the world of literary journals. Or maybe you’re in my boat: you’ve got a few publications under your belt, but you’re still curious about the myriad markets available, with more springing up each day, including a digital menagerie of fantastic online publications that is rapidly beginning to challenge the primacy of traditional print. Maybe you used to send out work years ago, but life interrupted for a while and now you find yourself trying to navigate a vastly different submission landscape.
This series, originally developed by KT Herr, is designed to offer a casual but knowledgeable atmosphere wherein writers at any stage of submitting can come together to support each other. Copies of Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market are provided, as well as online resources listing open calls for submission in all genres. We are happy to act as a mentor to anyone who needs assistance or advice, whether it relates to cover letters, author bios, or the best way to format a submission.
Our goal is that this group will continue to grow, giving rise to small critique groups that meet weekly for workshopping, and eventually, to public readings where we celebrate our work — both accepted and rejected. We’ll also be tracking our acceptances and rejections on the Facebook event page, so we can cheer for each other, and also commiserate when journals pass on our beloved pieces.
If you’re reading this, and asking yourself if you’re really ready to submit something, we challenge you to come to our next event. Grab a beer, get a feel for the group, and even ask a few questions. Bring your laptop and a favorite piece or two just in case. There’s a lot to know about submitting, and it can be hard to find the answers you’re looking for.
There’s also a lot of rejection to slog through before the glow of acceptance falls upon a piece. A poet in KT’s online writer’s group once submitted a single poem 76 times before it was enthusiastically accepted by a top-tier journal. Another submitted to one particular favorite magazine for 12 straight years before finally seeing her work grace its pages. All that rejection can be discouraging, so it’s up to all of us to raise each others spirits and keep ourselves moving forward.
The point is, we’re all in this together. And everything — even getting rejected — is more fun with friends.