Some writers have a limit - if a story is rejected five times they ditch it. Other writers never give up on a story. And of course each time a story is re-submitted, the author has probably re-written parts of it to fit the new chosen market, and thus they may never truly be re-submitting the same story.
I agree with the latter; I never give up on a story. Last year I wrote Death By Numbers for the Crystal Magazine 'Crossword' Short Story Competition. When it didn't win that, I submitted it to Scribble. When it was rejected by the editor, I decided to look elsewhere. There were two possible homes for it: Halloween Whodunnit anthology and Someone Has To Die (Volume Three). Initially I re-wrote parts to make it suitable for the Halloween anthology, but then changed my mind. Eventually it was re-written, again, re-titled Carving Pumpkins, and submitted to Someone Has To Die. Today I learnt that it didn't make it into the anthology. Am I giving up on it? No.
You might now be wondering why, after being rejected three times already. After all, if three editors didn't like it, why would another? I think the following questions need to be considered before I, or any writer, throws a story away:
- How much time and energy have you put into writing and then re-writing the story?
- Did you target the right markets?
- Can you find any other markets to submit it to?
- How do you know the previous editors hadn't already accepted another similar story, and that is why they rejected it?
- Is it worth sending the story for a critique to see if there are any improvements you can make to increase your chances of getting it published?
With my last submission there was an option for a critique, which I decided to take. It will be interesting to see what the editor advises. I'll let you know if I do finally manage to find a home for it.