Now for the fun part, the wait. Most magazines will give you a clear indication of their response time. Quite frequently, you can expect to wait up to six months to hear back from a small magazine editor. When you do and your story is accepted, celebrate! If you receive a rejection letter, don't despair.
Rejection letters are clues. If you are lucky enough to receive written feedback from an editor, read it. You may roll your eyes and sneer, initially. But if the editor suggests that a particular element of your submission does not work, consider whether or not you can make changes or if you have another story that might meet his or her tastes. Resubmit your story or send another one with a cover letter acknowledging the editor's remarks.
It is extremely worthwhile to develop relationships with editors. Most likely, these editors are writers, too. Editors of literary magazines are editing as much for love as money. The time they take to respond to your work is valuable. Treat it as such.
Of course, you'll get inane rejections and form letters, too. Transform your frustration with these responses into motivation. Tell yourself you'll send out two more stories for every rejection notice you receive. Paper a wall in your writing room with or ceremonially burn your rejections. Heed sage advice and laugh at idiocy. Most important, stay focused on your writing.
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