I’m pretty sure this blog is about to devolve into a big list of rejections, but sharing these letters with everyone has become part of my process now, so without further ado:
Thank you for sending ‘[TITLE]’ to [VENUE]. Unfortunately, we’ve decided it’s not quite right for us. We have to reject many good stories for a variety of reasons unrelated to their quality. We appreciate your interest in our magazine and wish you the best in finding a home for your story.
We thought the exchange between [H] and [S] was compelling, but we wanted more connection with (and resolution to) the first-contact thread.
The first paragraph to this response appears to be their standard form rejection. The “no” statement is pretty general and it ends with a “happy send off” as it wishes the author “the best in finding a home for [their] story.” But then we have this second paragraph sentence tacked on there with a specific note. That’s a good sign! That tells me someone took the time to read the whole story and actually thought about what they liked and didn’t like about it. It’s so weird to think about my story being read by professional strangers…
It looks like they wanted more from the first-contact component of my story, so I could take a look at things and revise to bring that out more. I called Kris and she felt like it was a matter of preference, and that I shouldn’t jump into changing things. Still, getting super specific feedback like this is really valuable, and not something I want to just toss aside.
For now, I’m going to send it as-is to another magazine. If it continues to meet with rejection, I may consider revising it.
Thanks for coming on this journey with me!