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All Things Rejection! (2 Viewers)

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
TQR publicizes their rejection letters. I agree that it's disgusting, vile, evil, etc. But I also agree with Matchu...what were you expecting? Those guys are an open book. Take it or leave it.

As I have already mentioned, I'm used to getting rejection letters, and have never before felt the need to talk about them. This one was disturbing however, and it was more
a heads-up measure for my fellow writers here looking for places to submit more than anything else. There are rejections, and then there is something like the response I got that is more vile and disgusting than I have ever seen before.

Publishers (no matter who they are) should have a level of professionalism as well as morals before doing something to someone like they did to me. There should be no place
in publishing for that kind of inflammatory critique.

Don't play their game and then get upset when you get slammed by their rules. And for the record, I leave it. I don't believe in supporting that kind of thing. But regardless, see above.

I was upset because it was completely uncalled for. No writer needs to see anything like that, period. Pardon me for having enough respect for all the other writers in this
community to warn them.

-JJB
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
As I have already mentioned, I'm used to getting rejection letters, and have never before felt the need to talk about them. This one was disturbing however, and it was more
a heads-up measure for my fellow writers here looking for places to submit more than anything else. There are rejections, and then there is something like the response I got that is more vile and disgusting than I have ever seen before.

Publishers (no matter who they are) should have a level of professionalism as well as morals before doing something to someone like they did to me. There should be no place
in publishing for that kind of inflammatory critique.



I was upset because it was completely uncalled for. No writer needs to see anything like that, period. Pardon me for having enough respect for all the other writers in this
community to warn them.

-JJB

I dunno, man, I think you're taking it kind of personally. It sounds like this may be part of their schtick, an actual 'creative product' of theirs.

I went on the site and it's pretty obvious these guys are 'out there' and the fact you were so blindsided, honestly, suggests a lack of research on your part. It's like a seventy year old Christian going to a Marilyn Manson concert and complaining about the blasphemy. This should not have been all that surprising.

The question for me is...does their feedback actually have merit? I don't mean is it constructive -- you aren't entitled to constructive criticism -- but are the things they are mentioning as reasons for their, uh, dislike possibly legitimate at the foundation? If not, it's valueless trolling and should be ignored. But it just might be accurate. If so, it's feedback and as valid as if they wrote it 'professionally'.

It's not NICE feedback, obviously, but let's be real honest here and say...so what? So what if it's 'vile' or 'disgusting'? I don't think I would submit there either, but one could look say that at least they are 'being consistent' and perhaps 'being honest'. If nothing else, you probably will never get a rejection quite so creative. People are entitled to communicate however they like and you are obvious entitled to respond however you would like. I would consider it simply another publishing house. Some aren't worth doing business with, but I don't think colorful rejections are necessarily the deal breaker.

I honestly would prefer this over generic 'opinions are subjective' stuff, the "though this is isn't for us we encourage you to resubmit...' bullshit that populates half my submissions inbox. Look, if you're going to reject me because you don't like my story I would rather you just say that bluntly (or, in this case, extremely bluntly) rather than blow smoke up my bum and send me the basic template. Writers should not require encouragement from rejections or anything besides...rejection.

Look at this way: Their feedback stirred an emotional reaction in you. Harness that energy. Hell, you could even write about it.

Politeness is nice but if this sort of thing hurts you, just wait until you're actually famous.
 
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Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I've had a change of mind on the nasty rejection. I still don't like it, still think it's cruel, and still think it's downright crushing to someone who merely saw a market and sent something that was shat upon in this manner But I also now think it's part of their "schtick" (as does luckyscars) to reject in this way. I can imagine five or ten of us here all sending something to see who got the best, the nastiest, the most creative nasty rejection from this publication. It could be viewed (by some) as a badge of honor of sorts. They know what they're doing and why they're doing it and from what I understand that's part of their reputation-- so we take it or leave it if we decide to submit there.

At the same time, I'd like to be told my work's not up to someone's standards and what makes it less than satisfactory. Editors, especially those with hundreds, thousands of submissions each month, they just don't have the time to give pointers. That was part of our own job, to do the studying of writing and then do the job of editing and polishing. Then our job is to look into what a particular market wants to see if our own work might fit.

I always tell myself after a rejection, "Hey, I been throw'd outta better joints than this." We all need our words of comfort.

I still think such a response could be devastating to an new or inexperienced writer so I'll pass on such a market for my work and wouldn't spend time promoting them either. Yes, this situation CAN be, as luckyscars says, an opportunity to harness the energy generated from the experience. Writing's not easy, marketing's not easy, and dealing with rejection's not easy either. But it's what we writers do-- we keep going.
 
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Tiamat

Patron
Well that was a hell of a rejection. I feel partially responsible here since I'm the one that brought them up in the first place, although I will say that some of the most scathing rejections I've gotten only spurred me to try harder. Here's hoping that you can put your (perfectly understandable) frustration to good use. Sorry, man.
 

BornForBurning

Senior Member
Publishers (no matter who they are) should have a level of professionalism as well as morals before doing something to someone like they did to me. There should be no place in publishing for that kind of inflammatory critique.
I agree, but...TQR aren't going to change their practices just because you call them out for their immorality. In fact, personal experience (on my part) dictates that they probably get that kind of reaction on a weekly, if not daily, basis. They probably even enjoy it. The game is outrage. The game is battle and gut-busting flame wars. Don't like those kind of practices? DON'T POST ON THOSE KINDS OF BOARDS OR SUBMIT TO THOSE KINDS OF EDITORS! Period. If a kid sneers at you and asks if they can smash your cake, you don't slap them. You ignore them. Maybe, maybe you politely correct them.

I appreciate that you might not have been aware of what TQR was before you submitted. I get that. I appreciate the heartbreak, too. Our stories are our children. I'm just calling for a bit more wisdom regarding where we pick our battles.

The question for me is...does their feedback actually have merit? I don't mean is it constructive -- you aren't entitled to constructive criticism -- but are the things they are mentioning as reasons for their, uh, dislike possibly legitimate at the foundation? If not, it's valueless trolling and should be ignored. But it just might be accurate. If so, it's feedback and as valid as if they wrote it 'professionally'.
Certainly, they've made their feedback difficult to receive. They're cultivating a very specific type of audience, an audience that used to be quite prolific and is now being swallowed into the depths of AI-driven moderation and censorship. I don't think JJ is obligated to regard something with objectivity that is inherently odious to regard in the first place (I wouldn't watch a review of my work that had hardcore pornography playing in the background, for example). I think what they're doing is immoral both because it's odious, but also because it isn't being done with the best interest of the writer in mind. I've written some pretty brutal reviews. But the point is to show what the author is doing wrong. Not to say "boy I really hate jingoism and I hate you for being a jingoist."

Writers must write with the best interest of their audience in mind. Critics must write with the best interests of the writer in mind. Everything else is pure onanism. Yes, I'm also guilty of self-indulgent critique. That doesn't make it right.
 

JackSlater28

Senior Member
Really? I would almost love any personal rejection letter. No matter the wording. The worst response, the worst insult is a canned response. Because it shows a level of contempt that they didn't even really look at your work. That you're a maggot not even worth looking at. Pardon my possibly offensive analogy, but a bad handjob is still better than no handjob! People still looked at your work! So you've got at least that going for you. The best response I ever got was a form of wording in which the publishing agency said my work had potential, but they still passed by on it.
 

Taylor

Friends of WF
That's fine, I can take that. But this rejection and the language it contained was so vile, the likes of which I have never encountered before. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be like this.

So sorry you had to experience this, and you are absolutely right, there is no reason for it. It's indecent to say the least!

As a CPA, the first thing that came to mind was that there must be some kind of decency law that prevents this type of email. I have heard of successful legal cases on rejection letters for employment. Those likely fall to descrimination under the human rights code. Internet laws have been changing rapidly in the last five years, it would not surprise me if there was something in the works for this. I haven't found anything yet, but I'll keep looking.

At the very least, you should expose them as you have here. It takes courage...so good for you!

And DON'T let it dishearten you!!
 
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EternalGreen

Senior Member
A publisher didn't like that my submission: a) was a work of historical fiction, b) was not the preferred length, c) contained multiple forms of supernatural phenomena, d) didn't focus on the story elements they would have preferred.

They didn't mention even one thing they liked but they'd like me to submit again!! (lmao)

This is how publishers are sometimes: polite to a fault. "Please try again," doesn't alway mean "please try again."

People should only sugarcoat things so much. Sugar rots your teeth.
 

Monaque

Senior Member
I must admit it would be nice to get a little feedback from those reading my story. I've tried a few times to get short stories published in magazines but you never get anything back, you know, on how to improve maybe. Perhaps there's something about my writing I'm not getting right, that I can't see; it might be nice to know. I get that there's a time factor, that's probably it, now way they have the time to spend on saying to someone how they might improve. So many stories to get through.
It just would be nice, is what I'm trying to say.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
I must admit it would be nice to get a little feedback from those reading my story. I've tried a few times to get short stories published in magazines but you never get anything back, you know, on how to improve maybe. Perhaps there's something about my writing I'm not getting right, that I can't see; it might be nice to know. I get that there's a time factor, that's probably it, now way they have the time to spend on saying to someone how they might improve. So many stories to get through.
It just would be nice, is what I'm trying to say.

Imagine a fickle reader with a low attention-span who's looking for a reason not to even read your story and, if they do read it, a reason to hate it.

That's most editors. Start with something to impress and you MIGHT get read.
 

Monaque

Senior Member
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.

Perhaps that's my problem then, I'm not being persistent enough in submitting, or spending enough time doing it. I do a couple then get rejected and get a bit fed up, then drop the whole thing for a while, then other things crop up and I completely forget it.
Or you have developed a tough skin. :smile2:
 

BornForBurning

Senior Member
Perhaps that's my problem then, I'm not being persistent enough in submitting, or spending enough time doing it. I do a couple then get rejected and get a bit fed up, then drop the whole thing for a while, then other things crop up and I completely forget it.
I encourage either prolific submitting or highly targeted submitting. Editors have taste, vision. They are artists, just like us, and their mag is their artistic product. Even if what you have is really good, it often isn't going to fit into their vision of what the magazine is supposed to be. I'm more of a prolific submitter. It's worked decently for me. My sister does targeted submitting. Reading a mag, figuring out whether she likes it, whether or not the editors have similar tastes/vision to her own and then submitting. I prefer scatter-shot submitting because I've yet to find a magazine besides Strange Horizons that fits inside my own tastes. Unfortunately, Strange Horizons are very liberal, and I'm not. And the more experimental my writing (aka, the closer it gets to what SH publishes), the less ​liberal it becomes.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
A lot of them are such stiffs, with those very wet stories predominating. And you'd hope to be blown away, but the New Yorker, the Sun, I dunno, the hundred others spinning on our planet boredom, the stories about being American, and gay at the same time, and in Italy of all places zzzzzzzzzzzz dog food nourishment, thank goodness.

Poems about lakes and moonlight.

The world needs to tune in and toe the line. Don't get me on The Atlantic, 12 month subscription, most irrelevant year of my life [Dentist music]. Poetry still arrives, must have paid by accident.

I'll submit tomorrow
 

Monaque

Senior Member
I encourage either prolific submitting or highly targeted submitting. Editors have taste, vision. They are artists, just like us, and their mag is their artistic product. Even if what you have is really good, it often isn't going to fit into their vision of what the magazine is supposed to be. I'm more of a prolific submitter. It's worked decently for me. My sister does targeted submitting. Reading a mag, figuring out whether she likes it, whether or not the editors have similar tastes/vision to her own and then submitting. I prefer scatter-shot submitting because I've yet to find a magazine besides Strange Horizons that fits inside my own tastes. Unfortunately, Strange Horizons are very liberal, and I'm not. And the more experimental my writing (aka, the closer it gets to what SH publishes), the less ​liberal it becomes.

Both of those options really need time I think and I don't have enough of that just at the moment. I did submit to Strange once, although can't remember much about the experience. I tend to go with an idea, pops into my head, just go with that. I'm not really someone who targets really. Also I often read Sci-Fi mags and never seem to get a vibe about what an editor needs specifically, there seem to be a large range of subjects. Perhaps that's just Sci-Fi or maybe my antenna is off somewhat.
Anyway, I'll get back to it at some point.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Well that was a hell of a rejection. I feel partially responsible here since I'm the one that brought them up in the first place, although I will say that some of the most scathing rejections I've gotten only spurred me to try harder. Here's hoping that you can put your (perfectly understandable) frustration to good use. Sorry, man.

I'm not one to give up on anything, and I'm currently on another publishing blitz right now. I will never stop writing and improving my craft, nor will I ever stop submitting all over the place. It took me years and years just to get two stories published, and if it takes me even longer to get more published, so be it.

I just do not like people that were as vulgar as the incident I mentioned. Completely distasteful.

-JJB
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Here you go, C x:

After the rage of reading the literary magazine, comes the trawl of biographies, inducing the greatest rage:

Panguin Slobb, creative writing tutor in the middle of nowhere. His chapbook of fine poetry entitled ME available in the Fall.
Erin Wordsworse is a big thinker, and a campaigner for world food. Published Niff, Chitz and Chunder (UK) comic. Lives with mom
Alfonso P Smith represents the working class & inhabits houseboat. Presently voluntary consultant UN, regular breather has published loads of novels on independent platforms.
Susannah Free liberal community co ordinator, also sits at home all day on her backside like all these other writers. She knows nothing about trucks.
Jason Pratt is a prat
Dickhead Dickhead editor at large for Dickhead, the journal of dickheads.


FICTIONAL & work in progress
 

Monaque

Senior Member
Here you go, C x:

After the rage of reading the literary magazine, comes the trawl of biographies, inducing the greatest rage:

Panguin Slobb, creative writing tutor in the middle of nowhere. His chapbook of fine poetry entitled ME available in the Fall.
Erin Wordsworse is a big thinker, and a campaigner for world food. Published Niff, Chitz and Chunder (UK) comic. Lives with mom
Alfonso P Smith represents the working class & inhabits houseboat. Presently voluntary consultant UN, regular breather has published loads of novels on independent platforms.
Susannah Free liberal community co ordinator, also sits at home all day on her backside like all these other writers. She knows nothing about trucks.
Jason Pratt is a prat
Dickhead Dickhead editor at large for Dickhead, the journal of dickheads.


FICTIONAL & work in progress


To be honest I've never read that many literary mags, mostly Sci-Fi, a few Fantasy. Not really my area.
 
Both of those options really need time I think and I don't have enough of that just at the moment. I did submit to Strange once, although can't remember much about the experience. I tend to go with an idea, pops into my head, just go with that. I'm not really someone who targets really. Also I often read Sci-Fi mags and never seem to get a vibe about what an editor needs specifically, there seem to be a large range of subjects. Perhaps that's just Sci-Fi or maybe my antenna is off somewhat.
Anyway, I'll get back to it at some point.

Completely get what you're saying. The range is often very big and it's hard to know what 'fits.' I like the anthology calls that often have themes, or magazines with very specific visions (like Prehistoric magazine that publishes dinosaur/extinct animal fiction only). i. e. I'm going to send something to Cohesion Press' SNAFU anthology this month (the theme is Holy War)
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
Literary fiction is indeed full of liberals. There's no room for good ol' communists.

But I'm joking. As long as the main characters aren't burning down a police station or something, I don't think it would matter too much.

I've never had an editor tell me, "this work isn't sympathetic enough to social hierarchy, so we're going to pass."

(Note to self: don't publicly refer to the editors of the New Yorker as "bootlickers.")
 

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