If I’m aiming at a specific type of market, should I continue to submit to (or query) publications that have rejected my past work? Do editors begin to recognize certain authors as “losers” and push their work aside because of past rejections?
Just because a market has rejected your manuscripts in the past doesn’t mean it will in the future. Editors reject manuscripts for many reasons that have nothing to do with your manuscript’s value. For example, the editor could have recently bought a manuscript on a topic similar to yours. Don’t assume that the sight of your name on a manuscript will cause an editor to automatically reach for a rejection slip. Assuming your manuscripts are neat, appealing, and suited to the publication, the next manuscript you send may be the happy combination of the right idea in the right place at the right time, while your earlier pieces weren’t. On the other hand, tread carefully. If you’ve submitted six stories in the past six months, and they’ve all been rejected, you might want to back off from that market for a while. Watch the publication closely and try to make your articles as good as the ones the magazine is publishing.