Want to read my actual second rejection letter?
Thank you for the opportunity to read “[title].” Unfortunately, your story isn’t quite what we’re looking for right now.
In the past, we’ve provided detailed feedback on our rejections, but I’m afraid that due to time considerations, we’re no longer able to offer that service. I appreciate your interest in [name of venue] and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future.
[name of editor]
I think sharing my rejections might become something of a tradition on this blog. After I got the first one I decided to print them out and start collecting them in a binder. Someday I’d like to bring my binders of rejections to book signings, because as a writer who aspires to publication, I always enjoy hearing about the journey other authors made in order to get there. But in the meantime, I don’t really want to wait to show them off. Getting these rejections took a lot of work, and I’m proud of them! Plus, maybe they’ll help remove some of the stigma and emotionality around rejections. Maybe seeing mine shared word-for-word will help inspire you to see rejection as a component of success, not an indication of failure.
It’s interesting that this venue mentioned the fact that they used to do personalized rejections and stopped. Honestly, it’s kind of a relief to get a form rejection, at least for a short story. If I were trying to sell a novel I’d much rather revise and resubmit, but part of what I love about short stories is…when they’re done they’re done. If one of my shorts doesn’t sell, I don’t think I’ll rework it. I think I’ll just write another one. I like the idea of finishing things, creating a repertoire, having a dozen or more stories on a submission circuit at once, and retiring the ones that just don’t make the cut, letting them be what they are. It feels more like progress to me.
When would I retire a story? Probably after I’d sent it to every venue on my list that it qualified for. Admittedly, it’s not a very long list. But I feel like, if a story isn’t good enough to be published by my list of favorites, it’s not good enough to represent me as an author. And I don’t mind waiting. Mm, “waiting” is not the right word. It feels too passive, doesn’t reflect the work I’m doing. Instead let’s call it, “biding my time.” And I am very, very good at biding my time.
Thanks for coming on the journey with me,