I had prepared myself for the worst. With my ego checked at the door, I opened the email from one of the first publications that I had sent a "real" short story submission to. Fearing it was the inevitable rejection letter from this one particular publication, I was hesitant to read the email. It started with:
We think your submission “Her Name was Half Calf” is insightful, and we are considering your story for ...
After these first few words, I was so elated, it took me a few minutes to contain myself enough to continue reading the rest of the email from the editor of Midlife Collage.
Continuing on with the first paragraph, it read:
We think your submission “Her Name was Half Calf” is insightful, and we are considering your story for entry in a contest. We edit for punctuation, spelling and grammar. We also touch up and make the wording concise where appropriate. There is a reason for every change. If you have any questions, please let us know.
The rest of the email contained some good pointers for me on how to improve my writing style and hints on how to reduce the length of the story, while still keeping the core voice of the story left intact.
In draft form, the story was originally over 1,500 words, which I had brought down to 1,450 words prior to submission. The editor corrected a few places where punctuation was a problem (my comma usage can leave a lot to be desired) and reworded a few sentences to present a better view of the events in the story. Overall, I was very pleased with what the editor had done to my story and I think it flows so much better now with the changes that have been made.
Less than twenty fours hours after I responded to the editor with my agreement of the changes, I received a second email that made me just giddy:
Great to hear from you. We will schedule your story, as shown below, for a contest within a month using your name S.A. Molteni. A few days before the contest, you will receive an email from us of the contest preview video and another email on the Monday your story is published. (To see a sample of a preview, go to our Video page.) ...
The rest of the email was rather long and had information on what I needed to do in the interim to make the publishing day go as smoothly as possible.
... Thank you for adding your voice to our website.
I know there will be many rejection letters in my future as a writer/author, but it was a pleasant surpise to have this very first response be one of acceptance.
My new life as a published author ... And so it begins...