All Things Rejection!


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Thread: All Things Rejection!

  1. #1

    All Things Rejection!

    Ever need to vent, whine, cry, blow off some steam, or just smash your forehead against the keyboard a few times because nobody appreciates your particular brand of genius? I know I do, though genius isn't exactly a word I'd apply to myself or my writing. Either way, I wanted to create a thread to give you (and myself) that chance. Share your rejections here--the bland form rejections, the personal insults, or the close-but-no-cigar rejections.

    The most scathing rejection letter I've ever gotten:

    "This is utterly unoriginal, isn't it?"

    That was from an agent about the first novel I ever wrote. (Turns out, that agent was not wrong, but that didn't keep the words from smarting a bit at the time.)

    Today I got the quickest rejection I've ever gotten. A one-day turnaround so I barely had time to get my hopes up. Probs better that way though! It lets me move on more quickly.

    What about you? Share your rejections, friends!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiamat View Post
    The most scathing rejection letter I've ever gotten:

    "This is utterly unoriginal, isn't it?"

    That was from an agent about the first novel I ever wrote. (Turns out, that agent was not wrong, but that didn't keep the words from smarting a bit at the time.
    Possibly off-topic but I have to say...that agent is/was a dick-bag and I would consider that a bullet dodged.

    Rejections should be either straight up "thanks but no thanks" type stuff or offer feedback. If the latter, that feedback should be something useful to the writer. Otherwise it's just standard troll and deeply unprofessional.

    If he/she had said what was 'utterly unoriginal' that would be different, but they didn't. Calling something 'utterly unoriginal' doesn't help the writer in any possible way other than to discourage them and agents should not be in the business of discouraging writers from writing regardless of their feelings about the submission.

    So, fuck that guy.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  3. #3
    I also think one-day turnaround rejections are more a reflection of the agent than the writing, a lot of the time. What probably happened is they glanced at your query, immediately saw one or several things that made them certain it wasn't for them, hit the button. It's a straight up "not for me" type thing. They probably didn't even read the actual writing so there's not necessarily an issue. So long as your query has been vetted along with the actual writing, not much you can take away from it.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I also think one-day turnaround rejections are more a reflection of the agent than the writing, a lot of the time. What probably happened is they glanced at your query, immediately saw one or several things that made them certain it wasn't for them, hit the button. It's a straight up "not for me" type thing. They probably didn't even read the actual writing so there's not necessarily an issue. So long as your query has been vetted along with the actual writing, not much you can take away from it.
    I definitely wasn't specific in the OP, but in this case, it wasn't an agent. It was a short story market, and it was a personal rejection with thoughts from two readers. I think ultimately it does boil down to "not a good fit" even if their comments were a bit more specific than that. (Don't they all, really? Such a subjective business we work in.) I've found that agents are usually pretty quick to get back to query letters (most of them anyways) but magazine editors can take moooooooonths. Which is why I appreciate the quick turn around on the no thank you here.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiamat View Post
    Today I got the quickest rejection I've ever gotten. A one-day turnaround so I barely had time to get my hopes up. Probs better that way though! It lets me move on more quickly.
    Was it from Clarkesworld?? They're known for extremely fast declines.

    I once received a form rejection from them so quickly, it arrived in my inbox before I even submitted.

  6. #6
    Silver Pen actually. Duotrope says their average rejection is 3.3 days.

    On a similar note, I once received a form rejection from Contrary mag when I had not submitted anything to them in over a year. I took it very personally.

  7. #7
    At the rate I'm going, I'll be getting my first rejections in no time flat.

    (I did get a rejection or two several years back in college. Looking back, I'm glad it didn't make it. I think it was written in old english or latin or something.)

  8. #8
    I used to submit about 10 articles and stories every week to newspapers and magazines. Since, if I was lucky, I got about 1 story a month accepted, you can imagine how the rejections mounted up. I always appreciated the editors who took the time to critique the work rather than simply sending out those pre-printed rejection slips that sadly made up the bulk of the replies. One rejection I've always remembered with affection, because it made me laugh at my own shortcomings, was a handwritten reply from a UK weekly paper where the editor took the time and trouble to write this :

    Thank you for your submission which I read with great interest and some pleasure. However, careful reading of our paper would have furnished you with the fact that we stopped publishing short stories over five years ago.

    It was the the most effective rebuke about not doing my homework that I ever received and I never forgot that lesson!

  9. #9
    Well, one thing is clear here, you guys are at least SUBMITTING your work.... and you obviously have SOMETHING finished... as in completed... that is huge, so congratulations for that.... you are waaaaay ahead of most of us...

    and Jen, congratulations on having some of your work accepted, that is something to be proud of...
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

  10. #10
    Short story submissions is mainly just fishing. Either the story works for them or it doesn't. I have found that most of the time any short story can be published somewhere if you submit it to enough places, it's just a question of whether you do submit it enough before tiring of the process and what that 'somewhere' is. Places that pay are harder, obviously, and places that pay at a decent rate are extremely competitive -- and there aren't that many of them.

    A good story submitted to, lets say, 30 different places, will most likely receive an offer from at least one. Sometimes more. One of my stories got four offers, all paid. Imagine the shit-eating grin...

    'Most' is the operative phrase, though. Some short stories really are unemployable, unfortunately. That may be because the writing just sucks or it may be that it just doesn't 'fit' into the assumed genre. Some subject matter is difficult to publish. Some things editors just aren't comfortable with.

    I have, at this point, four or five short stories that I tried to sell for a long time, ones I believed (and still actually do) that they are good enough; went through the hassle of hundreds of submissions, and eventually gave up, ended up shoving three together into a 'collection' and self-published them because 'why not'. $1 for the 'book'. Self-published sales are next to nothing, I have done no promotion, I knocked them together in a night, but at the end of the day it's either that or have them sit rotting on a hard drive. I don't really care. I published dozens last year on one platform or another so a few duds isn't going to hurt my feelings.

    For the most part, I assume rejection on everything I submit, I even try to make myself look forward to getting the rejection. Sounds weird, but it's really just easier that way. You cannot invest emotionally into any given submission. You have to assume the worst or else it gets too stressful. It's not like I don't believe in the supposed 'power of positive thinking' so much as I am more wary of the cancer of discouragement. If you start to believe you aren't a good writer, you find yourself mired by an inability to write. So, everything I submit I assume the agent/editor will simply not find room for on their list, dwell on it no further than that, and get on with the day.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

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