Recently, I submitted a piece to a magazine. The deadline isn’t until the end of November, so I hadn’t expected to hear anything for a while. I also expected to receive a rejection slip once I did hear. It was therefore a delightful surprise to receive a very kind (if pro-forma) email yesterday that wasn’t an acceptance but wasn’t a rejection either. Someone’s read my story and now someone else will read it and make a decision.
The next stage is likely to be rejection: after all, if you could just write a story, send it somewhere and have it accepted, getting published would be easy. And it isn’t.