So my chapbook manuscript was summarily rejected about 3 hours after I submitted it yesterday.
On the one hand, the quick turn-around time meant that I could get it out to another press in advance of their deadline, which is today, July 31st.
On the other, it created a sucking black hole of inertia in the center of my chest.
I know, I know--if you get thrown off, you get back on. And I will. The hardest part is trying to figure out whether I'm riding the wrong horse: I've spent so much time on this manuscript, and almost no time on my journal article, that if I don't manage to find a place to publish the chapbook, I might be screwing myself out of tenure. I'm planning to take the article materials with me when I go up north for our family vacation (nothing like a working vacation, I always say), so perhaps I'll get enough done to send it out at the end of August.
The thing that sucks the most about this rejection is that after I paid a $15 reading fee, the only thing the editor said was "I'm sorry I cannot use this ms." Well, that's helpful. What's wrong with it? What can I do to make it better? Thanks for nothing. I can understand a form rejection for a contest submission (and I've got 3 of those so far) but this was more of a blow-off than I'd expected. Of course, since I've never submitted the damn thing to an actual editor, just to contests, maybe this is the way it's done.
So, back to the drawing board.