Yet another "Identify that SF Short Story"

The story must have been from the late 60s, early 70s. Too fluffy for Analog, so maybe Galaxy or S&SF. I can recall all the elements of the story except the title and the author.

Real short piece in the form of rejection letters. The editor keeps rejecting stories by the author because they all involve a “pact with the Devil.” The author tries all sorts of stratagems to get the story published, going so far as to write one about the squid packing industry called, IIRC, “Packed Full of the Devilfish.” The editor rejects them all, until he gets a letter from the author telling him it’s too late, and that he won’t be sending in any more stories. His time limit was up.

A little help?

(If the title turns out to be “Pact With the Devil” I’m going to be pissed!)

GAWD! I remember that story! “So rich, so round, so fully packed…WITH THE DEVIL!”

Damn. No idea on title or author.

I seem to recall this story but a quick look thru my old magazines yields nothing. This might be one for our indomitable AndyL.

Could it be Absolutely the Last, This is It, No More, the Final Pact with the Devil Story?

In looking for this I ran across this interesting quote:

Based on this 10-year-old post from RealityChuck, I think you’ve got it, TriPolar!

The story you’re looking for is “If At First You Don’t Succeed, The Hell With It” by Charles E. Fritch. The story was first published in 1972 in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Small typo. The title is actually “If At First You Don’t Succeed, To Hell With It” I found it reprinted in a paperback titled “100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories”, edited by Isaac Asimov. (ISBN 0380507730)

I actually have that book and have read it several times, if not in its entirety. I would have had no idea that that’s where that story resided, however.

It’s one of my favorite Sci Fi short story compilations and I usually pick through it every few years.

I also have a copy of that book, but I haven’t located the box it’s in yet (I still don’t have enough bookshelves in my “new” house).

I can vouch for this as well. It’s where I read the story.

Note that there are two different stories that fit the description in the OP very closely, one from 1972 and one from 1981:

Bingo! I read it first in F&SF, then again in that paperback years ago. A quick peek at Amazon shows I can get a used copy for $.01, so that’s a go.

Thanks, guys!

Um… which one?

“If At First You Don’t Succeed…”

Your suggestion sounds like it, but was published much too late to be the story I’m thinking of. Plus the fact that I used to own that paperback, which would have reinforced my memory of the story.

But now I have to track down the story you mentioned!