In the early 80’s I had nothing but rejections when I started out, all form letters. Email didn’t exist yet. Then one day I got a form letter with a hand written note from the editor. He liked the pitch but couldn’t use it. I was ecstatic. There were actually humans reading my queries.
After a writer’s conference and help from a mentor I got published regularly, which gave me a portfolio that enabled me to get a writing job in a few years.
Fast forward: six months ago I retired and wanted to spend these years doing freelance writing. Lo and behold, the game has changed dramatically. Instead of self addressed stamped envelopes in queries it is all electronic, and you can bet your bottom dollar that every editor’s in-box is chock full of schlock pitches and quality pitches. They probably have only seconds to look at things before they delete. Reply? I actually got a reply yesterday from and editor. It was a rejection, but he explained why.
I have a couple columns in mags, but neither were acquired by pitching in the way “we’re supposed to.”
I spoke with a fellow writer who is young and he said it’s a numbers game. Which means, if everyone is assembling short, fast pitches and sending 10X because “it’s a numbers game” then editors end up wearing Bug Dope to keep the gnats at bay.
The game has changed significantly and your exasperation is quite evident. Which means we have to figure out the new rules of the game.
I see it like an ATM machine in which we’ve forgotten the PIN number we used to know. Or it’s been changed and those crisp bills we want are inside the machine, but there is no one there to help us figure it out.
Good luck in your quest. My email rejection this week from an editor actually made me feel good, because like 36 years it may be a harbinger of better days ahead.