The Three ‘R’s on the Winding Road to Publication

All writers are familiar with the writing process. The process goes like this: write, write, write, revise, revise, revise, and revise again. That first R, revision, is an author’s best friend.

Once the story has taken shape, though, when the creation becomes it’s own being, it needs to be launched into the world. Thus, begins the process of finding the tale a good home. This activity can be challenging. Here is where the second R, research, comes in.

Looking through calls for submissions I’ve found, is not enough. There must be a match between my story and the publication. Obviously, one wouldn’t send science fiction to an art and poetry zine. The trouble is, the distinctions are not always clear, the differences nuanced. The only way to tell if there can be a good match is to read the magazine’s content.

After becoming familiar with some journals, I identify a few publications that I believe are perfect for the story. Some are online-only magazines, while others might be ‘paper’ magazines or journals, and still others, both. I’m attracted to the content, not the medium. So begin the submissions.

And then, they start to come in: the rejections. The dreaded third R. Steeling oneself for rejections is not easy, but every writer knows they must, if their creative endeavor is to see the light of publication.

In the beginning, I believed the rejections came because I was an unpublished author. Now, I know that a list of credits is no assurance of an acceptance or publication.

There could be a host of reasons for a rejection. It might be as simple as the magazine receiving too many submissions. Or, the story may not quite fit their theme. Then, there’s the subjective view; editors are not universal in their preferences.

Instead of dwelling on the rejection, I research other places and send my story out again, and again – until the story finds its home.

This August I’m honored to have three of my stories published.

On August 2, Jellyfish Review published my story, Supernatural for their intergalactic planetary issue.


On August 28, Postcard Shorts published my story, Postcard from Arizona.

Postcard from Arizona

On August 28, Vestal Review published my story Left Hand Turns in their Magic Mondays category.

Left Hand Turns

I am grateful.

Author: Sudha Balagopal

Sudha Balagopal's fiction straddles continents and cultures. Her highly commended novella in flash, Things I Can't Tell Amma, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2021. She is also the author of a novel, A New Dawn, and two short story collections. Her work appears in Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions, 2022, and is listed in the Wigleaf Top 50. When she’s not writing, she teaches yoga. More at

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