Written by A Guest Author May 25th, 2023

How a Reprint and a Long Held Story Got Published

By Nancy Julien Kopp

Some years ago, I had written a personal essay about how my father, who had a problem acknowledging disabled people, learned to accept his first grandchild who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Those two disabilities proved a big burden for our sweet baby girl but also the catalyst for helping her grandfather change his attitude.

I posted the essay on a website for writers where anyone could post whatever they’d written. Some were very amateur in substance and writing while others were well done. I received an email from an editor who had read the piece at Our Echo. She invited me to submit my essay to an anthology that would be published by Guideposts. This was a paying market whereas the other was not. They accepted my personal essay after I submitted it.

In mid-summer of 2019, I happened to notice a listing for a magazine called Kaleidoscope published by the United Disability Services. Their guidelines stated that they liked stories written by people who had a disability but would accept stories from other writers, too. I pondered a while and then decided to submit “The Perfect Grandchild” since they accepted reprints.

Months later, there was no response so I placed a big NO next to the listing I had made in my Submissions Chart and moved on. More than a year later, an editor from Kaleidoscope contacted me with the news that they ‘might’ want to publish “The Perfect Grandchild.” If interested, I was to fill out a form with information about me. Again, they restated that publication was only a possibility.

What was there to lose? Nothing. I filled out the forms and returned them, and then waited several more weeks. Hearing nothing, I figured it was a no-go deal. Not long after I had crossed the possibility off my list, I heard from the editor saying he would like to publish my work in their next issue. Again came the statement inferring it might be pulled at the last minute.

I felt a little like that donkey and the carrot dangling in front of its nose only to be unreachable. Another lesson in frustration.

A year and a half after I had originally submitted to Kaleidoscope, I received a link to the new issue of the magazine including my story, and a check arrived shortly after. The quality of the magazine and the stories published in it pleased me.

Even though it took some time and a lot of wondering on my part, “The Perfect Grandchild” found a home once again. We know very little happens in a quick 1-2-3 fashion in our writing journey. My two keywords as I have traversed my writing path are ‘patience and perseverance.’ I had to use a measure of both when submitting to Kaleidoscope. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Recently,  I had a letter of acceptance from Chicken Soup for the Soul for a story I had submitted in November of 2019. I had long since considered it a NO. Yet, here was the letter saying “The Four-Legged Nanny” would be in the book titled My Heroic, Hilarious, Human Dog to be published the next September with a $200 check to follow.

I learned two lessons through these experiences:  Reprints work. Never count a submission out even when more than a year has passed since submitting.

Bio: Nancy Julien Kopp lives and writes in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She writes short fiction, personal essays, family stories, short stories for children, poetry, and articles on the writing craft. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including 24 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, ezines, magazines, and newspapers.



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