Monday March 23rd was pretty ordinary. I went to work and programmed some animated ducks and frogs for a new mobile game. Had sushi for lunch. Marvelled at the women in the sushi place who has fake nails two centimetres long, and wondered how she works the cash register with them. Went home. Said hello to the boy, who was in his room, playing a game while laughing and chatting with friends on Skype. Wrote a bit. Stared out the window. Scratched my head. Got started on dinner.
Then came an email with the name of one of my stories in the subject line. Hey-ho, I thought. A rejection mail. Oh well. I popped it up, expecting to read it quickly and get on with making dinner. But as I read it I stopped moving.
“I’m just dropping you a quick line to say that I like XXX and I’m going to take it for YYY. At this point, it doesn’t look like we’ll need any significant edits. You’ll have the contract via email in just a couple of weeks.”
My breath stopped. They wanted my story. I read it again. They still wanted my story. I jumped up and down a little. I wiped away a few tears. YYY, a major science fiction magazine, wanted to buy my story. With actual money.
This is huge. I’ve been writing fiction since the age of ten or eleven. Starting with terrible Star Wars fan fiction, I moved through Fighting Fantasy style gamebooks to short stories and finally novels. Over thirty years and a hundred rejections, first paper and then electronic, piling up with no sale to show for them. Several times I stopped sending stories out entirely, sure I’d never sell anything. But I always started again.
And now I have a sale. Magazine YYY (which I’ll name when the time comes) is one of the biggest print magazines for science fiction in the world. I am, it must be said, incredibly happy. I finally feel, a bit, like a real writer.
The moral of the story, I suppose, is to keep trying. I’ve heard it a million times. But maybe it’s true.