This past December, I submitted work for the first time: I submitted my short story "Southern Comfort" to several writing competitions, one of which was the Glimmer Train December Fiction Open.
For those of you not familiar with Glimmer Train, it is a well-know, well-regarded literary journal. It has a HUGE circulation - 16,000 - for a literary journal, and the selection process is extremely competitive; the editors are known for being highly selective. If you want to read good fiction, go out and pick up an issue. They publish quarterly and are available at most major booksellers.
I heard back from one contest several weeks ago - it was a flat-out rejection. Then a week or so ago I received an e-mail from Glimmer Train. It was a really nice e-mail, telling me how much they had enjoyed my story. I didn't win, but ...
My story received an Honorable Mention!
It's not winning, but it's almost as good! Heck, it's almost as good as getting published! For my first time submitting work, to receive an Honorable Mention from such a well-respected journal is a big deal. It's very encouraging - especially since I'm waiting to hear back from two other journals regarding the same story.
Thanks for reading!