How Long Did It Take for My First Submittable Acceptance to be Published?

by Arthur Klepchukov

From Whispers to Roars literary journal logo with hand shushing a lion

How much does chivalry really cost on a summer night where young ideals are alive and well? Find out the dollar answer and its unexpected justification in “The Price of Chivalry,” my most recent short story publication, available now in From Whispers to Roars: Volume 2, Issue 2.

What amount of effort went into getting “The Price of Chivalry” published?

  • 1,200 words
  • 5 drafts
  • 24 submissions
  • 19 rejections, 8 encouraging rejections
  • 3 withdrawals
  • 1 acceptance that didn’t involve publication

These numbers are on par with my other short stories, but larger than my relatively quick flash fiction publications.

I share blog posts like these because every story has a different journey. So if you’re in the doldrums between drafts or facing another rejection, may this encourage you. This process has taught me that publication is always more than one step away. Read on about this story’s prolonged journey and you may find what will get you over the next hump.

Inspired by being stranded

In June 2013, I met someone creative who inspired me to ask her out almost as soon as we met. We went on several sweet and low-key dates that ended in long hugs. I chased her and chased her and once ended up saying goodbye at the wrong end of a subway line after the last train left on the other side of the East Bay hills. She’d already driven off after a difficult day. I was too embarassed to ask for help, but inspired by my eventual trek home.

I made it back that night, but we didn’t make it. The sweetest stories don’t always have the sweetest endings.

BART train heading for SFO Airport
Photo by lensovet / CC BY-NC 3.0

Draft 1: Written to Cheer Me Up

After my long journey home, I sought something to write at that weekend’s Shut Up & Write(!) meetup in Berkeley. I’d just finished a heavy piece that would find a home in Glimmer Train years later and needed levity. So, I poked fun at myself in getting stranded over a lovely girl and drafted a brief story called “The Price of Chivalry.”

Draft 2: Revised to Cheer Her Up

I ran the first draft by my critique partners at the time—Allison Payne, Arley Sorg, and Megan O’Keefe. Their feedback killed my flatter jokes and helped me drop references that were too unique to my brief relationship to otherwise resonate. The heart of the story resonated with them, particularly Arley, who was moved by the ending.

When I learned that the girl had had much more serious things going on in her life than missing subway trains, I sent her this draft of the story. I wanted to remind her of the frivolous kindness she inspired in me.

Draft 3: Accepted & Read Aloud at Lit Camp’s Basement Series

Fast forward 3 years later to Fall 2016. I’d started seriously submitting my stories for publication.

One of the early things that kept me going through initial rejections was an opportunity to read a six-minute piece to an audience of 50+ folks at Lit Camp’s Basement Series. I hadn’t immersed myself in flash fiction yet, so the only piece short enough was “The Price of Chivalry.”

I dusted off draft 2, didn’t cringe, slimmed it down to draft 3, and hit submit.

Lit Camp acceptance, October 2016

6-day acceptance:

Dear Arthur Klepchukov, 

Congratulations! We are very pleased to tell you that you have been chosen to read with our published authors Frances Stroh and Frances Dinkelspiel at The Basement Series – The Morning After on Friday, November 4. The reading will begin at 7 pm, and will take place at The Sports Basement on Bryant Street. 

We are very excited about this edition of The Basement Series, and about having you read with us! Thanks so much for applying. 

All the best, 

The Lit Camp Basement Series Team 

This was my very first acceptance in Submittable!

A screenshot of Submittable with my first acceptance—Lit Camp Basemenet Series reading of "The Price of Chivalry"—October 2016

I shared the stage with my dear friends Allison Landa and Alyssa Oursler. My reading got a great response, especially in the dinner conversation among a dozen or so attendees. My critique group, who attended in full support of me and Allison, was surprised they hadn’t read the piece before and offered to workshop it further. Everyone suggested I submit it for publication soon. A few Lit Camp judges in attendance encouraged me to apply to their main conference.

The muse behind the story wasn’t there to hear it, but I’d already resigned to it as a sweet summer memory. The story was the main character now.

Arthur Klepchukov reading "The Price of Chivalry" at Lit Camp's Basement Series on November 4, 2016

Draft 4: Revision Inspired by My Critique Group

My critique group at the time—Allison Payne (from way back in 2013), Allison Landa, Eric Chang, Kathleen Boyle, and Will Sullivan—were surprisingly split in their discussion of draft 3. Some didn’t want to change much while others questioned many of the mechanics of the story: shifting points of view, narrative distance, and self reflection. But I knew the heart of my story. So I listened to the criticism about what expectations I established and polished along those lines. But I didn’t change what I felt was crucial. 

Soon, draft 4 was out there, earning rejections:

Encouraging Rejection from The Kenyon Review

89-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov, 

Thank you for submitting “The Price of Chivalry” to the 2017 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. We had an exceptionally strong pool of 400 submissions this year. The editorial staff was impressed with the consistent quality of the work; narrowing the pool down to the finalists was not an easy task. Unfortunately, your submission was not selected for an award this year. The winning stories will be announced in the May 2017 KR Newsletter coming out Tuesday, May 9; they will be published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of KR. 

We hope to see your work again in the future! 

Best regards, 
The staff of The Kenyon Review 

Encouraging Rejection from Glimmer Train

54-day response

Dear Arthur, 

Although ‘The Price of Chivalry’ did not place in the March/April 2017 Very Short Fiction contest, it was a good read. Thank you. 

We look forward to seeing more of your work! 

Best regards, 

Susan & Linda 
Glimmer Train Press

Rejection from ZYZZYVA

154-day response

Mailed rejection from ZYZZYVA, Fall 2017

Encouraging Rejection from Nimrod International Journal

118-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov, 

Thank you for submitting to the Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers. We have selected the finalists for the 2017 Awards and, unfortunately, your work was not among them. Please consider your work released at this time. 

The 2018 Francine Ringold Awards begin May 1st, 2018; the deadline is July 15th, 2018. If you still qualify at that time, we would welcome your submission to the Francine Ringold Awards again, and we would welcome your submission to any of our other submission categories in the meantime, knowing that each new round of submissions brings new discoveries, often from those who have submitted to us before. 

The road to publication takes many turns, and we hope you will continue your journey. We wish you the best of luck with your writing, and hope to see your work again. 

Best, 

Eilis O’Neal 
Editor-in-Chief

Rejection from Witness

102-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov: 

Thank you for allowing us to consider “The Price of Chivalry.” Unfortunately, we have to pass at this time. We wish you the best in placing this piece elsewhere. 

Sincerely, 

The Editors 
Witness Magazine 
http://www.witnessmag.org

Rejection from The Iowa Review

95-day response

Dear Arthur, 

Thank you for allowing us to consider your work. Though we find we are unable to use it, we consider it a privilege that you thought of us and regret that the volume of submissions precludes a more personal reply.  

Sincerely, 
The Editors 
Iowa Review 

Rejection from The Sun

40-day response

Dear Arthur, 

Thanks for sending us ‘The Price of Chivalry.’ We’re sorry to say that this submission isn’t right for The Sun. 

This isn’t a reflection on your writing. The selection process is highly subjective, something of a mystery even to us. There’s no telling what we’ll fall in love with, what we’ll let get away. 

Writing is hard work, and writers merit some acknowledgment. This note doesn’t speak to that need. Please know, however, that we’ve read your work and appreciate your interest in the magazine. 

We wish you the best in placing your writing elsewhere. 

The Editors 
The Sun 
thesunmagazine.org

Encouraging Rejection from The Missouri Review

63-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thank you for letting us consider “The Price of Chivalry” for publication in the Missouri Review. We enjoyed reading it, and though it doesn’t quite fit our needs at this time, we hope we will have the chance to read more of your writing in the future.

Sincerely,

The Editors

Rejection from Electric Literature

30-day response

Dear Arthur, 

Thank you for submitting your story, ”The Price of Chivalry’ and ‘lying is the girl’,’ to Electric Literature, though it was not chosen for publication in our journal. We appreciate the opportunity to consider your work. 

Sincerely, 

Editors, 
Electric Literature

Rejection from Santa Monica Review

91-day response

Mailed rejection from Santa Monica Review, Fall 2018

Encouraging Rejection from Lumina

92-day response

Dear Arthur,

Thank you so much for submitting to LUMINA XVIII. We truly enjoyed reading your work, but after much consideration, we decided it wasn’t right for our journal at this time. We wish you the best of luck in finding a home for your writing elsewhere.

We appreciate your time and your interest in LUMINA Journal, and encourage you to submit to LUMINA again in the future.

Warmest Regards,
The LUMINA Team
http://luminajournal.com

Rejection from Ninth Letter

71-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thanks for submitting your work to Ninth Letter. We’re sorry this submission wasn’t right for us. We appreciate your interest in our magazine, and wish you the best of luck placing your work elsewhere.

Sincerely,

The Editors

Ninth Letter

Encouraging Rejection from Redivider

108-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov, 

We appreciate the opportunity to read “The Price of Chivalry.” It doesn’t work for us at this time, but we enjoyed it and hope you’ll consider submitting to us again in the future.

Sincerely,
Mikayla Lawrence
Fiction Editor
Redivider

Rejection from Bethesda Magazine

77-day response

Hi,

Thank you for your submission to Bethesda Magazine’s Short Story Contest. The judges have made their selections and your story was not among those chosen this year.

We encourage you to enter the contest again in the future.

Best,

Kathleen Neary

Bethesda Magazine

Encouraging Rejection from The Masters Review

38-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thank you for sending us ‘The Price of Chivalry’ for consideration in The Masters Review. While our editors enjoyed reading your work, I’m sorry to say it isn’t a good fit for us at this time.

As writers ourselves, our editors know that the process of sending out work can be a long one. We are grateful that you chose to share your writing with us. We want you to know that your piece was read with great admiration and care. We wish you the best of luck with it, and we hope that you will keep us in mind for future submissions.

Warmly,
Cole Meyer
The Masters Review
http://www.mastersreview.com

Rejection from Epiphany

93-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thank you for submitting your work, “The Price of Chivalry.” Unfortunately, we cannot find a place for it in the next issue of Epiphany. We wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere.

Sincerely,
The Editors of Epiphany

Encouraging Rejection from Palooka

30-day response

Dear Arthur, 

Thanks for giving me the chance to read your fine work yet again. “The Price of Chivalry” has a strong voice, interesting narrative style, and is funny along the way, though I’m sorry to say we won’t be publishing the work. I realize how much time, effort, passion, and energy goes into this endeavor and appreciate your interest in Palooka. 

All best, 
Jonathan Starke, Editor
http://palookamag.com/submit

Rejection from Barrelhouse

15-day response

Dear Arthur,

Thanks for letting us read The Price of Chivalry. Unfortunately, we’ve decided this one’s not right for us. We wish you the best of luck in finding a home for the story elsewhere, and in your continued writing. 

Sincerely,

Team Barrelhouse
www.barrelhousemag.com

Draft 5: Can I pull it off as flash?

After 3 years and 19 rejections, I started to get discouraged. I wondered if the same brevity that compelled me to shorten the 2nd draft for the Lit Camp reading could help again. “The Price of Chivalry” was 1,200 words. Could it be even more effective as 1,000 words of flash fiction?

That became draft 5. And I sent it to a few places that accept flash length work: SmokeLong Quarterly, The Sea Letter, and a Maryland Writers’ Association writing contest.

Rejection from SmokeLong Quarterly

10-day response

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for your submission of “The Price of Chivalry” to SmokeLong Quarterly. We gave the story careful consideration, and though we are not accepting it for publication, we hope you find a better fit for it elsewhere.

Thanks again for trusting us with your work, and thank you for reading SmokeLong Quarterly.

All the best,
Editors
SmokeLong Quarterly
http://smokelong.com

From Whispers to Roars

I found From Whispers to Roars in Submittable’s weekly newsletter. The name stood out in a delightful way. I smiled at the logo that graced their web site.

From Whispers to Roars literary journal logo with lion being shushed by a human hand with a finger raised to the lips.

In Summer 2019, they were open for submissions for their second print issue. I bought a PDF copy of their first print issue and started reading. I enjoyed “All Aboard” by Delaney Bur and “Explorer’s Heart” by Michelle Holland. They had a sentimental flair that reminded me of how I felt living through the events that inspired “The Price of Chivalry.”

I love supporting newer literary journals. It’s a bit risky, as you’ll read below, but it also comes with greater odds of an acceptance and a receptive, if smaller audience.

This was the last time I submitted the slightly longer draft 4 at 1,200 words.

Acceptance from From Whispers to Roars

53-day response

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thank you for sending us “The Price of Chivalry”. We would be honored to publish it in the 2nd print issue of From Whispers to Roars. 

The anticipated public release date is October 1st, 2019. As a contributor, you will receive a free print copy. If you did not include your mailing address in your cover letter, or it isn’t updated on your Submittable account, please do so at this time. 

Congratulations! 

Thanks again. 
Sincerely,
Rachel Noall
From Whispers to Roars

I celebrated that my 2013 story had finally found a home, six meandering years later. There was no payment, but I didn’t expect it. I was happy to support an emerging journal and that my story would find new readers after such a long time being just mine.

Publication Experience

I followed up with Rachel, the editor of From Whispers to Roars, on the same day to confirm the acceptance and my address, clarify the rights, and offer the shorter draft 5 of my story. She didn’t respond. After a few days, I tried again. Still no response.

For my records, I jotted down that I was granting First Print Publication Rights that would revert back to me upon publication.

On good faith, I withdrew my submission to The Sea Letter and the Maryland Writers’ Association writing contest.

I found out the issue was coming out via this mention in the newsletter about six weeks later:

*Contributors, expect your free print copies within the next 2 weeks!

Rachel was kind enough to send me a PDF copy and a print one to a new address since I had moved. She also confirmed the rights.

From Whispers to Roars Volume 2 Issue 2 cover with white splatters on a black background

I’ve been happy with the draft that ended up published for nearly three years. I’m delighted to hold my words, read my story aloud from the printed page, and share the work with new audiences. Thanks to Rachel and From Whispers to Roars for spreading my words.

I’m proud to share this process and the final story. Read “The Price of Chivalry” today.

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