I feel lucky not to have encountered any real Scrooges related to my writing. My friends still tell me to stick with it, and many, such as the other members of this blog, offer frequent encouragement. My few interactions with editors and agents (conferences, rejection letters, a handful of publications) have all been congenial; I emphasize few: to be honest, I don’t get out much. I attend a conference every year or two, meet monthly with a small critique group, and occasionally submit stories or poems to magazines, along with three novels over the last fifteen years. It’s a slow pace, and I’m sure that as I continue to work on my craft and finish more projects I will eventually cross paths with somebody in the publishing world who will treat me rudely. So far, I’ve rarely even met anyone having a bad day! I’m serious: I need to get out more.
So no Scrooges – unless you count bad luck. Like the time twenty years ago when I had a story accepted for publication in the Sunday arts supplement of the Oregonian. My only previous publication had been in my college’s literary magazine, so I was absolutely thrilled with the acceptance letter (which included a check for $200). But a month later the arts section was cut from the newspaper, the editor who loved my story was out of a job, and I was back to submitting the story elsewhere. I could keep the check, though.
I never did find a home for that story. I think I gave up after a couple of years and maybe twenty submissions. The check stub is in my envelope of acceptance letters – but I’d rather the story was published.