I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon when it comes to magazine submissions and rejections. You might remember me mentioning getting a lot of responses right before the holidays because they were all closing up shop and wanting to get through their queues.
January remained pretty slow, as did February, but I started getting some responses in March and now that it’s April it feels like they’re pouring in. All of this gives me the impression that magazine editors are hibernating creatures that rise from the Spring thaw like the alpine marmot, the common poorwill, and the hedgehog.
It also might be the fact that the new stories I’ve been sending out are better than my old ones and are being considered for longer periods of time. But I love the mental image of editors poking their noses out of their burrows and holes, whiskers twitching, hungry for good literature.
Many thanks for sending [title], but I’m sorry to say that it isn’t quite right for [magazine]. I hope you’ll send me something new soon.
I’m actually feeling really good about my submissions lately. This particular story got a few form rejections, but I ended up revising it after a useful personalized rejection (where they suggested some specific changes) and I think it’s much improved, so even if it wasn’t a match here, I have high hopes for it.
Thanks very much for sending this story to [magazine]. Unfortunately, it’s not quite right for us.
I loved the conceit of [summary of plot]. However, the narrative tone felt more fable-esque in its descriptions rather than more acute in placing me inside the character as I hoped.
We appreciate your interest in our magazine. Please feel free to submit other work in the future.
I knew this story didn’t perfectly fit this magazine’s guidelines when I sent it, but when you’re on the edge it’s always worth a shot. Hearing what worked was really motivating, even if it didn’t find a home here.
Thank you very much for letting me see [title]. I’m sorry it didn’t strike me as quite suitable to our present needs.
This story straddles the line between literary fiction and science fiction. After this rejection I decided to stop sending it to SFF magazines and am now submitting it to literary magazines.
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 [magazine] and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future.
You may recognize this rejection from…almost every other rejection post I’ve done. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. There are pros and cons to both form rejections and personalized rejections. I love submitting to this venue because they are the absolute fastest at getting back to me. Also, this gives you guys the chance to see how not-scary form rejections are, because they do get repetitive and the monotony can actually feel like a respite from emotional attachment.
Dear Christine Tyler:
Thank you for applying to [workshop].
We are sorry to let you know that you have not been selected for our 2019 workshop. We had a large, competitive pool of applicants this year, and because we can invite only [number] students, we have to turn away many promising writers.
[invitation to join a parallel writing event]
We wish you the best with your writing, and hope you have a productive summer. Thank you again for your interest in [workshop].
This one looks a bit different because it is! This rejection was for one of my workshop applications. I’m a bit disappointed that I won’t be attending, since my very favorite short story author is going to teach there this summer, but I am happy that the application process gave me a chance to refine some of my writing samples. And I’m still hopeful that I’ll get into the other workshop I applied to (so cross your fingers!)
Overall, I’m excited about what I have on submission right now, and I’m even planning on having a new piece of flash fiction ready to submit by the end of the week! And like the daffodil buds burgeoning in my yard right now, I have a feeling there are a few projects that are going to burst into bloom quite soon.
Thanks for coming on this journey with me.