where the writers are
The Art of Rejection

Red Room is the perfect place for writers to make announcements so here’s mine: I am not pleased to announce I received my first email form rejection letter Tuesday.

The letter, I mean note, was actually the second rejection I’ve received via email. The first one actually consisted of two personalized letters. Letter A was a response to my polite inquiry on the status of my submission.

    Dear Julie,

    Your poem is still under consideration. Unfortunately, as we’ve gotten more and more submissions over the life of Literary  Mama, the response time has lengthened from 3-6 weeks to closer to 6-10 weeks. It’s wonderful to be getting so many excellent submissions, but it slows down the process.

    Also, because of the timing of your submission, the work would have typically been considered for the October or November issue, but October is a special issue dealing with Desiring Motherhood, so our regular submissions are being considered for the November issues instead. I expect to be finalizing decisions for those issues within two weeks or so. Thank you for your patience with our process.

Best,
Rachel Iverson
Poetry Editor
Literary Mama

I was quite optimistic my poem, Stretched, would be published after Rachel’s letter. Ten days later I received a second email.

    Dear Julie,

    Thank you for your submission to Literary Mama. Unfortunately, at this time I’m going to decline the work you submitted. The volume of submissions prohibits me from commenting on the nature of each response, but many times I turn down excellent pieces because they don’t fit with a developing tone of an issue in progress.

    I invite you to submit work for consideration for inclusion in future issues. Literary Mama publishes new poetry every month, and I am continually seeking new pieces for publication.

Best,
Rachel Iverson
Poetry Editor
Literary Mama

Was I crushed? Yes, but I’m a realist. I understood Stretched may have been a little dark for someone desiring motherhood.

I don't like receiving submission news via email. There's no letter to weigh in my hand to determine if there’s a check inside. I can’t slowly tear open the envelope and carefully unfold the piece of paper. With an email, the bad news jumps off the page and slaps me in the face—

    Dear Julie,

    Thank you for submitting to the ******* ******. Though these poems do not fit our current needs, we appreciate your interest. Thanks, as always, for your support and commitment to quality writing.

Sincerely,
The Editors

Thanks as always? How many times did they think I’d submitted work to them? (It was my first and Stretched was one of the poems.)  Were they presuming I’d submit work in the future and continue contributing $3 for their online submission fee? 

I’m grateful for the editors who’ve taken time to send a personal letter or note because I know form rejection letters are the norm. Yet, I can’t help but point out the obvious—this is the business of writing. A form rejection letter should be carefully crafted because the words are the first ones an author will see from the editor and the house they represent.   

I can be selective, too. The “as always” in the rejection note I received changed my mind. I'm rejecting them for future submissions.   

Comments
9 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

Good for you.

I like your reminding us that we too can reject!

Comment Bubble Tip

Research

Exactly. We're not powerless wimps at the mercy of editors, although it's easy to feel that way. We can choose not to feel that way.

I carefully research my markets for submissions, otherwise I'm really wasting my time since the chance of acceptance is already low. There are more markets than ever to choose from with online magazines so skip a market that isn't a good fit or simply rubs you the wrong way. I'm pretty sure editors skip writers that rub them the wrong way. (Gee, like...)

Jules

Comment Bubble Tip

REJECTION

Ok, thats it, give me their number. I'll call and read them the riot act. How's the back doing Jules?

Comment Bubble Tip

Covered

Ron,

Glad you have my back.

You won't want it for long.

Actually, my back is much better. In addition to the spine procedures, my physical torturer, I mean therapist, has been quite helpful even though I hate him.

Jules 

 

Comment Bubble Tip

Hi

Hi Jules.Rejections are the solids beneath the structure of a big acceptance.Best.

Comment Bubble Tip

Foundation

Jitu,

Very wise words. Without rejections, acceptances would lose their meaning. I believe a writer who stops facing rejection can eventually stop trying to improve. I see this with famous, well-published writers who no longer have to deal with rejection. Their work declines somewhat after the fifth or tenth novel.

Jules

Comment Bubble Tip

As always...

Jules, welcome to the club...am an old hand at being picky. And picking out weeds hurts but feels good.

I believe a writer who stops facing rejection can eventually stop trying to improve.

Oh, please, don't say that. I am trying!

Seriously, I have this long rant inside me for months waiting to come out. One day soon...

~F

PS: You did not mind her addressing you as Julie? Or was it an 'as always' situation?

Comment Bubble Tip

Suppressed Rant

Farzana,

The older I get the more I like being picky, or maybe it's prickly. When people describe me as "She's so sweet," I look at them in horror. Twenty years ago I thought it was a compliment.

I look forward to your long suppressed rant as my curiosity is now piqued as to the subject of this rant. I gather it could be related to this blog since you mentioned it here but that's probably my ego ass...uming.

And lastly I could not take offense to the editor calling me Julie since it is my given name. Jules is a preferred nickname.

Take care,
Jules 

Comment Bubble Tip

oops for my ass-umption

Jules, I just thought aloud regarding the form of address because some people, at least in my neck of the wood, do get familiar or deliberately twist a name.

Regarding the rant, not suppressed just delayed or dilly-dallied. Have written it a few times elsewhere in some form or the other and it has to do with a whole lot of publishing things but only from one person's pov.

I love egos!

~F