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